Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Teen Kitties

Franklin and Winston have reached the tender age of 20 weeks. If they are kittens no longer, I guess you could call them “teener cats.” At this stage they’re lean and lanky and active as all get out. If the kitten months were about mischief, the teen months are already showing signs of being about serious antics, as they learn how to climb inside the stereo, surmount the 8-foot curio in a single bound, balance on the top of the bookshelf, and pick my “tucked away for safe keeping” plushies from any of a dozen hiding places.

The kits show no signs of “slowing down as they mature.” Rather, they only show a higher level of creativity in what they get into, and how they get into it. ;)

Several weeks ago, the whole family started considering the “to neuter or not to neuter” question. It shouldn’t be a hard question, really. There are far too many homeless cats and kittens, and adding to the pet population is unnecessary. On the other hand, there is no shortage of demand for an attractive Siamese, and both of the boys would probably sire beautiful kittens. Plus, I would dearly love to have kittens in the house, even for just a few weeks before they go to their new homes. (Well, their new homes assuming I could part with them!)

In consulting with our veterinarian, though, he said that un-neutered adult male cats do not really make very good pets. They’re much too interested in “the ladies,” which means it can be a constant struggle to keep them inside. Too, they’re known to damage carpets and furniture beyond a bit of claw sharpening, if you know what I mean. And finally, having two adult males might lead to territorial disputes. I know that situation pretty well, for years ago we had a father and son who began fighting so badly my mother ended up taking the son into her home. It turned out to be a blessing, because Mom had firmly stated she didn’t want a cat but she and Ambrose ended up being completed devoted to one another. (Yes, Ambrose, as in Ambrose P. Hill, the U.S. Civil War general. Yet another unusual kitty name. ;) )

Anyway, last week we made the trip over to our friendly animal hospital and Franklin and Win underwent “the operation.” They returned a little groggy but none the worse for the experience and by the next morning were back to bouncing off the walls again. As for me, I guess I’ll restrict my love of kittens to my photo albums or visits to the local pet shop, knowing we made the best choice for the Win and Frankie, overall.


At January 31, 2009 at 7:21 AM , Blogger Linda said...

For what it's worth, I think you made the right decision. Your guys should stay friendly and loving, from what I've experienced.

Of course they will still scale the heights-maybe they should have been named Edmund and Tenzing!

At February 2, 2009 at 4:10 PM , Blogger K said...

I know some people don't neuter their pets, but it is true that male cats are, well, rather distinctive in their marking of, well, everything. And you do have the issues of what to do when female cats are in heat.

A former student of mine was starting up a pet store. I learned a heck of a lot from her! She said that a lot of well-meaning people would leave their animals intact, perhaps hoping to breed them, if the animal was a purebred. However, having an intact animal comes with a lot of responsibility, and a lot of extra demands on the pet owner. In the end, it's better off for everyone to have the pets spayed/neutered.

Mind you, it's hard trying to convince my husband that when we get a dog, if it is male, it will be neutered! --Kate

At February 2, 2009 at 7:16 PM , Blogger Gaile Gray said...

Funny you should say that, Linda. W & F were back to scaling the heights within hours. Their antics scared the heck out of me, since I thought they should take it easy. But it was good to see them quickly spring back to normal -- literally. :)

Good points, K. I remember the vet telling me that un-neutered pets can have long-term health issues, too. For instance, I lost two female cats years ago -- mother and daughter -- to tumors that the vet felt they may not have developed if they had been spayed.

I believed that, since they were indoors and the boys were neutered, it was ok to leave them be in case -- like your friend said -- we decided to breed them later. It was a costly decision.

I'm sure for Franklin and Winston, we made the right choice.


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