Is an Oakland cat’s nighttime disappearance because of a botched neutering job?

Is an Oakland cat’s nighttime disappearance because of a botched neutering job?

DEAR JOAN:  I adopted my cat, Chong, when he was 3 months old. I was told he was fixed and had shots but never got the paperwork.

I am trying to make him an indoor cat, but one night he sensed another cat and took off. I could not catch him, and he did not return home that night or the next. On the morning of the third day, I woke up early and went out to get the newspaper and look down the dark street for him. I called his name and heard a faint meow, and there he was. I was so happy to get him back.

My question is, if he is really fixed properly wouldn’t he just want to stay home? I plan on bringing him to the shelter to see if he can get a check up and mainly to see if he is fixed properly.

— Phil Wilson, Oakland

DEAR PHIL: When male cats are neutered, their testicles are removed, which prevents them from reproducing. As a source of testosterone has been removed, the majority of the time neutering also makes them calmer, less likely to roam and less likely to spray urine.

It does not, however, remove all vestiges of his cat personality. He still will want to hunt, to wander, to protect his territory and, in some instances, have a little cuddle and coo with a female cat. The urges to do so are reduced, but not removed.

While vasectomies in humans can be unsuccessful, that’s rarely the case with cats, which undergo a more drastic snip-snip.

If you adopted from a reputable rescue group, then chances are very good that the procedure was performed according to standards, but it is a bit worrying that you never received all of Chong’s health records. By all means, take him in for a check-up and keep working at making him an indoor-only cat.

DEAR JOAN: I accidently used a systemic rose fertilizer on other flowers that attract bees and butterflies.  Have I killed a hive? Destroyed future butterflies?

— Bob Pedretti, San Jose

DEAR BOB: You’ve likely caused some harm, but it’s doubtful you killed an entire hive or rid your neighborhood of butterflies.

Systemic fertilizers were well-intentioned and rather ingenious, although they turned out to have unwanted side-effects. They work by turning the plant into a poisonous one. Insecticide is absorbed into the leaves and stems of the plant, killing any insect that feeds on it. Unfortunately, the poison also is infused in the pollen and can harm pollinators. Use of systemics have been connected to bee hive collapse, but they aren’t the only cause.

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