Cats, these little terrors

28-01-2020
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In recent weeks, a cat has disturbed the village of Fontenais, in the Jura, biting some inhabitants and violently grating the hair of its fellows. Behavior that strongly questions and contrasts with the image of our pretty purrs of purr hairs sleeping in the fireside

The tomcat, which we later nicknamed Al Capone, made his own in the Jura for more than a month. Accused of biting and scratching anyone who tried to approach it, and breaking into homes to mark its territory, this little black and white terror raged in the Sous la Côte district of Fontenais. There are more than a million cats in Switzerland and specialists agree that such aggressiveness is rare among our furry friends.

“The cat does not attack without reason”

“Unless he is seriously ill, a cat does not attack without reason,” explains Marylène Wassenberg, behaviorist for cats. It only attacks if it feels threatened or if it is harmed. ”For this specialist, the animal’s lack of socialization is a factor that comes into play when trying to explain aggressive behavior. in cats: “If the kitten is not used to its congeners and to humans in the first months of its life, its socialization will not catch up. He will therefore remain very fearful and will flee when we try to approach him. ”

Having no owner, the turbulent Fontenais tomcat is part of the rank of those known as haret cats. Not to be confused with the wild cats which live in our forests: these were formerly domestic cats, returned, thereafter, to the wild life. “Most of them are not neutered. In general, haret cats hunt and fight for their food, ”says Marylène Wassenberg. A wild instinct that resurfaces by the force of things.

“If we manage to touch it, it is because the cat in question has already been used to humans,” adds the behaviorist. This is the case with Al Capone. By luring him with a bowl of fresh milk, a village lady managed to keep it at home, pending the arrival of  the Jurassic Association for the Protection of Animals (AJPA) . The tomcat was operated on at the end of last week to calm his heat.

Calm this dominant male

“Castration decreases the production of testosterone. The animal is left with a new formula of hormones, which is often enough to make it less aggressive and less territorial, “says Flavien Beuchat, cantonal veterinarian in the Jura. It confirms that aggression on the part of a cat is very rare, and cases of bites are also.

“Pain due to any inflammation could also explain an aggressive attitude in cats,” explains the veterinarian. If this is not the case, we must then consider the potential presence of an underlying pathology, such as a tumor, for example. The latter could alter behavior. ”Again, Flavien Beuchat wishes to underline the rarity of such a scenario.

Al Capone did not present any pathology on clinical examination. “He has also shown himself to be much calmer since the intervention”, according to the words of Hermine Dörig, inspector at the AJPA, who has rubbed shoulders with the feline in recent days.

As for the few complainants of bites, they do not risk much in terms of health. “Cat’s saliva can actually transmit bacteria to humans. These can cause infections, and in this case, care would be required. But since rabies is not currently present in Switzerland, the risk is lower, ”confirms Flavien Beuchat. Nobody has ever asked for it, Al Capone was entrusted, at the beginning of the week, to the SOS Chats Noiraigue foundation, in the canton of Neuchâtel.

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