Feline Reproduction: getting down to business
02 February 2018
North Birmingham volunteers learnt more about the business of feline reproduction – and how vital it is to get the neutering message across – on a Cats Protection training session held in Meriden in January.
Pam Wood, Sheila Pennell, Lynne Walker and three new ‘local recruits’ to the cat cause joined volunteers from all over the region on Saturday 27th January at the Manor Hotel, where the Feline Reproduction training was delivered by Welfare learning officer Emma Addy and Cat Behaviour expert Kate Ellam.
Pam, Emma, Sheila, Kate and Lynne pictured at the Feline Reproduction training day in January
Topics covered included the welfare needs of queens (cat variety!) and kittens in the rescue environment – from pregnancy and birthing to kitten development and care. Volunteers were presented with the somewhat stark facts and figures on the ever increasing rates of reproduction and the need to spay and neuter as early as possible.
Long-time fosterer, Sheila Pennell, says she ‘discovered much she didn’t know before’. “We saw a real-life mating video that showed what an unpleasant experience it is for the female and yet how simple and speedy the neutering op is for the male. So much as we all enjoyed the rest of the session about caring for kittens once they are with us, and the commitment needed for hand-rearing, I think we understand why Cats Protection promotes early neutering. Here in North Birmingham we routinely neuter just 2 days after a kitten has its first vaccination – ie, at just 9 or 10 weeks old, and we see how quickly they bounce-back after the op.”
Adds Pam, who is Education Lead in Birmingham: “When we give talks and workshops, we always stress the five basic welfare needs of cats – and they’re not all that different for kittens. We aim to meet their welfare/vet needs, socialise them, provide solid foundations for their life with humans and, of course, find them a kind, caring and forever home.”
Lynn has had the pleasure of having a queen in her foster pen, and overseeing the birthing process. “Fortunately, Mum cat is usually very good at coping with the births herself, but the training emphasised how fosterers should make prior plans in case an emergency visit to the vet is needed, and what signs to look out for – like a too-long gap between kittens arriving and Mum seeming distressed. I’ve been lucky so far but am more prepared now for the future!”
Anyone interested in fostering – or volunteering in any capacity - can call the helpline (0345 260 1503), leave their details, and the relevant volunteer will return the call.