Like humans, cats have different characteristics depending on whether they inhabit the islands, the mainland, live in an apartment or on the street.
The common cat, or more colloquially the alley cat, although independent and wandering, knows how to give to those who take care of them an affection that is difficult to describe.
The origins of the Gutter/ Alley Cat
Man did not intervene in his selection and he let nature shape a wide range of shapes and a thousand different characters. What can we say about our cat friend? First, that its attitude towards humans has not changed over time: affectionate and always looking for hugs and caresses, it is suspicious, aggressive or thief only out of necessity.
While it was not appreciated in the past, today man has learned not to underestimate their qualities and to give them time and affection. You may be wondering what are these qualities that make the alley cat such an irreplaceable animal?
First of all, its skill at hunting: since the dawn of time, it has defended for man, especially in peasant societies, the food reserves watched over by rodents, further contributing to the stability of the ecological system.
Even today, it is virtually impossible not to see our friendly alley cat friends on farms or in country homes, sprawling in the sun or on the lookout for mice. It is certainly this quality that has made it very popular and irreplaceable over the days.
The alley cat also has a great capacity for adaptation: when man moved from the rural world to the urban world, the intrepid feline had no problems living in the limited space of the apartments.
It even changed their role, because from defender of attics, barns and stables, it has now become man’s “apartment” companion. Since then it has been a friendly and daily presence, able to give moments of happiness and warmth because it is always available and ready to give marks of affection to their master.
It nevertheless knows how to maintain their desire for independence and freedom, while feeling an affection for their master which does not diminish over time. It always remains faithful to her and does not abandon her in difficult times.
It doesn’t ask for anything in return, except for milk, food, a warm blanket and lots of hugs.
Unfortunately, not all alley cats can be called “house”: many of them are forced to live on the streets, scouring garbage containers here and there to find the little food they need to survive.
To take care of stray cats, associations have been created; they take care of them, look after them and look for a family.
Their task is not very easy because the supply is far greater than the demand: there are thus too many orphans who, even well nourished and with a roof over their heads, cannot give the affection of which they are capable and obviously cannot receive it!
The growing interest in alley cats is manifested by their increasingly important presence in our homes, and by an ever-increasing public at exhibitions.
In 1990, a special gathering was organized, dedicated to alley cats, as part of the International Cat Show which took place in Milan in October, in which more than a hundred alley subjects participated.
The simple tomcats of our homes then began to be appreciated for their beauty and no longer just for their usefulness or their ability to give affection.
The character of the Gutter/ Alley Cat
Popular with a large audience, the alley cat is often very affectionate when put in trust.
It is suggested that you play with your feline daily, as it is an energetic and mischievous animal. Interactive play with a human, large or small, has the effect of strengthening lasting and rewarding friendships for all members of the family.
The moments of rest are essential to its physiological and psychological balance. It is therefore important to offer your cat hiding places, high observation posts and, why not, a bunk in full light for his daily sunbathing.
Overall, the domestic cat is a curious and perceptive animal. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to teach your cat the behaviours you want them to adopt. Workouts are a great way to bond with your cat positively and to stimulate him both physically and intellectually.
Fearful / suspicious of strangers:
This characteristic is acquired mainly during the life of the animal, especially during the period of socialization of the kitten. Thus, some individuals are more fearful than others. That said, it’s still possible to help fearful cats by letting them discover strangers at their own pace and not imposing any unwanted contact.
Many cats demonstrate enough independence to cope well with loneliness. However, it is essential to always be attentive to the needs of your cat. Age, life history, and medical conditions are all factors that can influence an animal’s independence.
Behavior of the Gutter/ Alley Cat
Some individuals are more talkative than others, but one thing is certain: paying attention to the vocalizing cat contributes to the development and amplification of this behavior.
However, you can choose times when you completely ignore the noisy cat, for example in the middle of the night. Thus, the latter learns to modulate his meows according to the contexts and the time of the day.
Greedy / gluttonous:
While an active cat may have a tendency to eat more than a sedentary cat, it is also possible that a bored cat will stuff itself to fill the monotony of its daily life. The use of interactive bowls is a simple solution to offer a fun activity to your cat, while increasing the time it takes to handle its food.
Need for exercise:
Cats all need physical activity to stay healthy both physically and mentally. From one individual to another, this need can vary according to the age, the medical context and the personality of the cat. To promote an active lifestyle, we can introduce daily play sessions combined with walks on a leash in the garden.
It is difficult to predict a cat’s tendency to run away, but unfortunate disappearances can certainly be avoided by educating your pet to wear a leash and harness. Thus, expeditions abroad are both stimulating and safe.
Compatibility of the Gutter/ Alley Cat with other animals
The alley cat and the Dogs:
The cohabitation of a domestic cat with a dog is quite possible, but it is important to introduce one to the other gradually, respecting the limits of each one and being at the same time. listen to their body language.
A living environment comprising multiple heights facilitates cohabitation by offering the cat the possibility of fleeing unwanted encounters. The way the kitten has been socialized has a big influence on its sociability with dogs.
The Alley Cat and Other Cats:
The relationship between alley cats or between an alley cat and a pedigree cat can be enjoyable and healthy. The key is to gradually introduce cats to each other.
It is also imperative that many resources (food, litter, etc.) be available so that all the felines in the household can support themselves and avoid conflict.
The Alley Cat and the Children:
It goes without saying that the presentations should be made with gentleness and understanding. You should never impose unwanted reports.
On the contrary, taking the time it takes to properly coordinate the meetings allows children to be taught a caring approach fostering an astonishing bond between all the members of the family.
The alley cat and the elderly:
Historically, the house cat has often been a good companion for people who are rather calm and alone. You just have to remember that any adopter must be able to take care of their cat’s needs.
Price of the Gutter/ Alley Cat
The purchase price of an alley kitten is usually between 0 USD and 400 USD . This price varies depending on many factors: age, gender, appearance, etc.
For the monthly budget, on average 35 USD / month is enough to meet its needs. In any case, it is imperative to offer him quality food and medical care to keep him in good health.
Maintenance of the Gutter/ Alley Cat
If it has a long coat, daily brushing is recommended, otherwise weekly coat maintenance is sufficient. Some individuals require frequent cleaning of the eyes and ears. In these cases, it is important to be attentive to avoid the accumulation of secretions.
Depending on the length of its fur, the hair loss can be more or less marked.
Food of the Gutter/ Alley Cat
As with all cats, it is important to provide your alley cat with good quality food, appropriate to their level of activity and pace of life. Medical recommendations should always be followed.
Health of the Gutter/ Alley Cat
On average, its longevity is 13 to 17 years , but many people live even longer. Some exceptional cats have even lived past the 30th birthday!
Resistant / robust:
The alley cat is particularly resistant to thermal variations and extreme temperatures. Additionally, her overall health is generally considered robust, as long as her biological needs are met.
Tendency to gain weight:
Several factors increase the risk of feline obesity, such as the cat’s age, environment, diet and activity. As a general rule, the common cat does not develop overweight if it is sufficiently active and its diet is adequate.
In a context where all its needs are met, no particular disease is recognized, given the great genetic diversity in the common cat. An annual medical check-up is nevertheless recommended, in particular to ensure oral health or the biological effects of aging.
However, it can one day develop the same pathologies as any other cat, such as oral pathologies .
All marriages are allowed, of course! The litters are on average 5 kittens.
Good to know
There are more than forty breeds of domestic cats. Today, the common cat is more and more accepted in the competitions organized by the large cat associations. Note that many alley cats can be of mixed breeds or have an ancestor with pedigree.