Cats in Mauritius

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Cats are lovely small animals which make a good pet for both adults and children. They can look after themselves very well so you can enjoy more of their company than taking care of them.

Bringing a cat to Mauritius
Many people adore cats and love having them as pets while others cannot stand the sight of these animals often being allergic to their fur too. Cats can be bought from specialised breeders or imported. Cat import is quite a complex procedure: the animal must come with a veterinary certificate from the country of origin confirming it as disease free and vaccinated for rabies. The head veterinarian officer in Mauritius must be signalled of the arrival of the animal 48 hours prior to arrival and once checked by him/her, the animal can land. Cats coming from countries having rabies are not allowed to enter the island under any circumstance, cats from countries of low incidence of rabies are quarantined for 6 months and all other cats are quarantined for a minimum of one month after arrival. This is done at the Ministry of Agro Industries at Reduit at the owner’s expense, where the cat is offered his/her own small space for stretching; visits can be done every day from 09am-11am and 13.30pm-15pm with only the morning session on Sundays.

Adopting a cat
You can adopt a cat or kitten at PAWS (Protection of Animal Welfare Society) at Floreal (686-3132) or Beau Vallon (631-2304). A fee of Rs400 must be paid by the person for covering vaccines and treatment and also to make sure that the person can afford to have a pet. Adoption can be made on Mondays from 12pm-16pm, 8.30am-16pm on Tuesdays to Fridays and 8.30am-11.30 am on Saturdays. It is also the place to get your animal sterilised and vaccinated for free if you cannot afford a veterinarian; if you do not own a vehicle, PAWS drives you to the clinic and back home for the process (call on 631-2304 for an appointment).

Cat Grooming
Cats take care of themselves quite well but do need help from time to time. Grooming is a delicate process better left at the hands of a professional but it costs a lot and there are not a lot of these parlours in Mauritius at the moment, so you might want to care for your pet yourself. Go for a metallic brush to brush the whole body of the animal and then a bristle brush to remove dead cells and hair tangles. For nail clipping, get your cat used to feet touching (like foot massages) for it to make less of a fuss during the process. And of course bathe your animal at least once a week using some animal shampoo. All that you need for cat care can be bought in pet shops.

About Mauritian cats
Contrary to what many may think, there are no big cats like tigers, lions, cheetahs etc in Mauritius (except at Casela Nature Reserve). Being a remote island, only small animals could make it to the island through water or air. The domestic cat, the common cat type in Mauritius, has been brought to the island by sailors in the past who were using the island as rest place during their voyages. These animals got off the ships and thus melted into the local scenery. Cats are known to have done a lot of damage to the ecosystem of the island by trampling on native plants, preying on birds’ nests and eggs and eating small animals. In this respect, there has been a lot of eradication programmes to get rid of these creatures to minimise their effects on the environment.

Cats are carnivorous mammals found in the Felidea family. They weigh about 4-5kg and can measure 25cm in height and about 46cm in length with an average tail length of 30cm. They have very large eye sockets and a firm and flexible jaw with pointed teeth for tearing meat. They have excellent vision especially in the dark and good hearing abilities to discern sounds since most of their preys are small animals that are quite soundless. They are known to be ultra clean creatures always grooming their fur with their tongues; the tongues actually have spikes for cleaning and later on the animals regurgitate fur balls that have accumulated in their stomachs during grooming.

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