Rescue centres across the globe receive tons of reports from concerned citizens of cats that have simply moved into their homes, and there can be a number of reasons for this behaviour to occur.

 Cats are known to share households, they will often visit or even live in more than one home, without either family even realising it.  There was a cat in the UK that shared over 9 households and living the life of luxury until he was found out.  If a cat feels a bit stressed in one home, he will probably go and find another home to “timeshare”, for instance, if a cat is in a home with screaming kids – he might disappear to a quieter place for the day when the kids get up and then come home at night when the kids go to bed.  His owners are none the wiser because he comes home, but during the day he might have found another “home” where he gets time out.

      Certain times of the year, during mating season, intact males will roam territories up to 10 times larger (3 km2) than females in order to find mates – therefore they may not return to their homes for a while in order to mate.  Most of these cats will return to their homes once the mating season is finished. Some cats make friends with neighbourhood cats and sometimes bring them home for meals, contrary to popular belief, domestic cats are social animals.

Missing and Abandoned cats

 Sadly, many animals are abandoned due to the high occurrence of immigration and relocation.  People assume that cats can fend for themselves and therefore they just abandon them – this is most certainly not the case, although cats are resourceful, domestic (tame cats) are not as resourceful as their feral counterparts.Many cats do go missing during spring and summer months, and there are numerous reasons – mating season causes them to run through yards with dogs that could kill them, fireworks that spook them, etc


It is important to try and distinguish between a cat that is visiting or lost, so here are some pointers:
  • If you have a new visiting cat, assess whether it is friendly, what is the condition of the cat? Does its fur look healthy and clean? Is it skinny with bones protruding? (remember, many cats are lean, not thin) Does it have a lot of ticks and fleas? If yes, then take a picture of the cat and circulate the picture via social networks and lost and found. This could be a cat that is lost or abandoned.
  • If the cat is in good health, buy a cheap (safe) cat collar and put a note on the collar, and ask the owner to contact you.  If the cat loses condition over a period of time and the owner has not contacted you in two weeks then it is safe to assume that the cat is abandoned or lost.  Take a picture of the cat and circulate the picture via social networks and lost and found.

 A note on feral cats and semi-ferals

Feral cats are domesticated cats that have grown up without human contact, they are skittish and cannot be approached - they will NEVER attack a human unless provoked.  Rescuers get many calls about feral cats attacking humans – it is complete nonsense – I have never been attacked by one unless I provoked it by trying to catch it for a good reason – I deal with feral cats every day of my life, so please do not believe the stories about these cats attacking humans.

Many of these cats will look for a place to get food, I ask people to consider keeping them in the area (and get assistance to sterilise them) and just put food down – they ask for nothing but a bowl of food twice a day.  Feral cats are needed in the many Durban areas due to the fact that the harbour has removed most of the feral cats in the area cats and therefore the rat populations are moving to the surrounding suburbs and through the CBD.

Semi-feral cats are mostly cats that have grown up with minimal human contact, or have been without human contact for so long that they move toward the feral side of the spectrum.  These cats are often long abandoned and lost; there is little hope of finding their owner.

 

Sterilisation

Every owner must take responsibility for their animals – whether male or female – they must ALL be sterilised.  Just because you own a male cat, does not mean that you are not responsible for the terrible over-population, each person that has a breeding animal has blood on their hands – thousands of animals die daily because of ignorant and irresponsible ownership. Many people complain that it is too expensive – having a pet in your life is a privilege, not a right – there are numerous welfare organisations that are willing to assist with reduced cost sterilisations, it is the owners’ responsibility to see to it that sterilisation is done. If the owners of male cats are of the opinion that they do not need to worry about sterilising their cats, then it is fair to make the statement that they are of the opinion that human males do not need to take responsibility for their offspring.

Written by Cherece du Plessis 2018

© Cherece du Plessis 2018

 

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