Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lost cats again

From our inbox:
"Dear RSPCA,

I filled in a form yesterday regarding my cat “Toffee” who had gone missing. I just wanted to let you know that we found him last night. He had been accidentally shut in a garage in a house in an adjoining road to us.

I also wanted to let you know that I found the advice on your website saying that cats normally patrol a territory of up to 7 gardens in all directions particularly helpful. It was this that prompted us to renew our search of that area and to keep calling his name. Eventually we heard him miaowing in reply and were able to track down where he was shut in."
It's worth stressing again that many "lost" cats are actually stuck in some way. Healthy adult cats very rarely get lost in the sense of not knowing where home is unless they have been moved away from familiar surroundings (for example escaping while en route to the vet). Even when a cat has been badly frightened (e.g. by a dog or by fireworks) he or she will normally hide and try to work their way back home once things have settled down. This may not be possible if the cat has crossed some kind of barrier, such as a busy road or a fence that can only be jumped in one direction. Cats who have some kind of illness (e.g. epilepsy) which causes them to become disorientated may stray and need to be confined.  Un-neutered tom cats will wander over great distances and probably do know where home is, but won't "check-in" very regularly. They may be prevented from returning home if a more ferocious male takes over the land where their house is situated. This is one of the reasons why neutering has such a positive effect in prolonging the life of a male cat.

Comparing our site statistics for lost and found cats it's extremely striking that more than half of our incoming injured male strays are entire while less than a third of male cats reported missing are un-neutered (and those are mainly kittens).

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