Argggh … she’s calling again!26 June, 2007
About three nights ago I was roused from sleep by Ananda pacing around the bed and making a loud and persistent, deep throaty mew.
It had the sonorous sound a female cat produces that bypasses a tom cat’s brain and heads straight for his base chakra. My sleep-befuddled senses went into instant denial.
The next morning I discovered my mistake. Ananda started snuggling herself round my legs, rolling on her back, all the while mewing. So I caught hold of her scruff, and she started paddling with her hind legs. Then I caught a wiff of cat pee somewhere in the house.
My heart sank.
My girl was on heat.
Yep, barely 2.5 weeks after kittening Ananda is calling again.
I thought it was impossible – after all, she was still suckling her kittens. But several breeders and the the www have confirmed that a female cat can be suckling and be pregnant at the same time. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for a queen to come into heat again from 1 to 6 weeks after kittening.
I tell you, cats have the most efficient reproductive systems on this planet, if not the universe*: Female cats not only come into heat and will cycle until mated throughout Spring and Summer, they can come into heat even during pregnancy and also while suckling kittens. They can mate with more than one tom and produce in the same litter, kittens from more than one tom cat. They can carry kittens of different ages in the same uterus.
It’s amazing evolutionary efficiency, and if cats had opposable thumbs we would be in real trouble.
Anyway, what it means is that I am now suffering from extreme sleep deprivation despite a pair of super ear plugs because the kittens are in the bedroom and so is Ananda by necessity.
I’m going to have to wait until the kittens leave for new homes before deciding what to do – mate her? Resort to the unspeakable contraceptive pill for cats? Grit my teeth and bear it?
Kittens I can cope with, and a cat on heat. But both together?
I’m not sure how breeders with more than one queen cope. I suspect that they have outdoor cat pens where they confine calling queens. Something I’m definitely going to look into.
With 4 planets in Virgo, my middle name is Micro-Manage. So what all this breeding business has taught me is to let go: that you can’t control things, that you can’t control Mother Nature. Cats calling … kittens dying … it’s all part of being a breeder.
* I suspect the person who came up with the Vulcan pon farr drew his inspiration from cat mating frenzy.
I still haven’t received a concrete answer on why she’s calling. Some breeders have said it could be due to her only having had two kittens this litter – her body is showing that two kittens is a walk in the park. Others have said her hormones are out of kilter. Some have suggested trying a homeopathic remedy, Folliculinum to stop her calling. But I’ve been trained to use homeopathy only if there is a state of “dis-ease” and being in heat is a natural state, surely?