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Is my female cat a silent caller?

3 December, 2008

(Another snippet from the annual seminar organised by the Novice Breeder Advice cat club which is always a treasure trove of expert advice and up-to-date information.  This was taken from Dr. Susan Little’s talk on “Infertility in the Queen”)

While most intact female cats leave you in no doubt that they are on heat, some cats leave you guessing.  These are the silent callers.

The Oriental breeds tend to like to tell everyone (including your neighbours) that they are on heat.  However, the long-haired breeds, and especially Persians can be more discrete.

Why do some queens exhibit silent estrus?

It could be that they are timid by nature and low on the social scale in the cattery.  They are inhibited by fear of the dominant cat who will pick on them if they call too loudly.  Or perhaps the cattery is overcrowded for them, and they are unable to show that they are on heat for fear of drawing attention to themselves.

What can you do to help a cat who is a silent caller, to encourage her to exhibit more obvious signs?

You could rearange her living conditions so that she is not part of the crowd.  House her with different cats, or in smaller groups, or separately. 

You could also expose her to a tom cat if you think she’s about to call.  The scent of a tom cat can have an amazing effect on any female queen’s hormones.

Also make sure that she is not experiencing false pregnancy due to spontaneous ovulation.  For this you will need the expert advice of a vet.

The disadvantage of not knowing whether or not your cat is on heat is the surprise after 9 weeks and 2 days.  I’ve heard of a breeder who found her queen nestled in a clothes chest, nursing some kittens.  She hadn’t even shown any bulgy signs of being pregnant!

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