Unless you’re an owner of a female cat or dog and are planning to breed the animal, discovering it in heat can be daunting. You probably want some quick answers on how to deal with heat cycles.
Identifying an Animal in Heat
Step one is making sure the animal is really in heat. Female cats go into heat around at six months and continue several times a year. Heat lasts 7 to 10 days. They’re noticeably more affectionate than usual, often assume a position with rear end in the air and head down, become extremely vocal and might spray urine. Some lick themselves a lot and have a decreased appetite.
Female dogs experience swollen vulvas about a week before bleeding. They could start to hump other adult females, pups or human legs. Many perform lots of self-licking. Fertility begins about 12 days later.
Your veterinarian can confirm whether the animal is in heat—or pregnant.
How to Care for a Pet in Heat
The best way to prevent the odd behavior and messiness associated with a heat cycles is to spay your cat or dog. You should keep animals that haven’t been spayed inside and away from males while in heat. This means shutting windows and making sure gates and doors are closed. Never leave these females unattended outdoors.
Don’t allow your dog to breed until its third season of heat, or age 1 1/2 to 2. Activities like brushing calm dogs in heat. It’s important to keep them clean during bleeding, typically with sanitary pads, and to wash bedding covers often.
Never take a pregnant cat to be spayed. Those that don’t become pregnant will most likely go into heat again in about 3 weeks. Your vet can recommend hormone supplements to calm frantic behavior associated with heat. Catnip is also calming, but has been known to agitate some felines.
You might think that stray and feral cats are the same thing, but there is one main difference. Stray cats become socialized to people while feral cats do not. What’s socialization? Cats who are friendly to and enjoy companionship with people are socialized. Socialized cats include both pets and strays. Feral cats either have never had contact with people or contact with people has diminished over time.
Why should I know the difference between stray and feral cats?
Since stray cats have social interaction with people, they can readjust to living with people. You can bring them into their homes and adopt them. Feral cats are not and cannot be socialized. They will not adjust to living with people, so you cannot adopt them. You can socialize kittens born to feral cats and adopt them into your home.
How do I tell the difference between stray and feral cats?
Observe cats outdoors to determine whether they’re stray or feral. Look for these signs to make your decision.
- Stray cats may approach people or houses, but feral cats will avoid people and seek hiding places.
- Stray cats usually live alone, but feral cats may belong to a colony.
- Stray cats might walk like housecats with their tails up, but feral cats might crawl or crouch and protect their bodies with their tails.
- Stray cats may meow or respond to your voice, but feral cats won’t meow or purr.
- Stray cats are usually dirty, but feral cats keep their coats clean and well-kept.
For pet owners, there is often a close connection with the pets they own, so often times, this leads to a playful kiss. Whether this is a kiss on the forehead of the cat or right, smack on the mouth of the dog, most pet owners have some way of showing their affection towards their pet. Often, this comes with a big, messy, lick in return. However, while this is an adorable sign of affection, it might not be the best thing to do, as these kisses can potentially cause health problems in the owners.
Often times, when kissing a pet, there are microscopic bacteria that is transferred between the pet and the owner. In a 2011 study out of Japan, researches found that bacteria found on the gums of a dog is likely to also be found on the gums of the owner, if they partake in these kisses. The particular form of bacteria the researchers found, has a direct link to gum disease, which can also eventually lead to other physical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and kidney failure. While this isn’t stating kissing a dog is going to lead to diabetes, a connection is possible.
Also, the breed of the animal can greatly affect the kind of kisses a pet owner receives in turn. Some dogs are scavengers by nature, so they are often going to chew on just about anything while outside, which can include feces and other animal deposits. It is possible these feces can contain hookworm, tapeworm or other issues, which can be directly transferred over to the human, if the two share kisses.