Female cats in heat require special care. So you must know what to expect. Your not-a-kitty-anymore bab’ is experiencing a new phase of her life and you want to be ready to support her. Usually, the vet will recommend that you get her spayed before her heat phase. In some cases it’s possible. In others you’ll need to wait until she goes through it then you can proceed with the spaying. And in both cases, you want to know how long cats stay in heat, and what to expect.
When do cats go into heat? how long do cats stay in heat? And, What do female cats do when in heat?
These and other questions are to be answered here below, so let’s get to it mates, shall we?!
What do you mean by female cats in heat?
Female cats in heat means that they have reached sexual maturity. To put it into perspective, “in heat” means the period in which your kitty’s body is ready to get pregnant. At this stage, we refer to her as“queen” (not that you were not already spoiling her with that nickname!)
At around six months, you can expect your bab’ to get into heat. This experience may occur for some cats a bit earlier or later, depending on their metabolism.
Four stages of each heat cycle:
When in heat, your cat goes through four stages:
This phase lasts up to two days. It’s the period in which your queen is doing her magic. She’s producing hormones to attract her non-spayed male counterparts. Though she’s not ready yet for the mating act. And usually, during Proestrus queens tend to not show any sign of heat yet.
Now that our queen entered the Proestrus phase, she’s then ready to mate. And here comes the following phase of heat:” the Estrus” or the “heat”.
How long is a cat in heat?
This lasts for about seven days. During this week, you might notice a lot of heat symptoms on your kitty (we’ll address them with details in another paragraph). Don’t worry, she’s not sick, she’s just in heat!
The mating act triggers the ovulation process. Thus, if your queen mates during this time, she will ovulate. On average the queens need to mate about four to six times during this phase to bear kittens. Also, you might end up with a bunch of kittens who don’ t look alike, even though they’re all part of the same litter. Don’t be surprised! This is generally due to copulating with many male counterparts during estrus.
Are female cats in pain when they are in heat?
Female cats in heat aren’t in any sort of pain. It’s nature’s call that needs to be fulfilled. Cats can be a bit annoying during this period. But this doesn’t mean that they’re in pain. They’re just undergoing a rush of their reproductive hormones, which might make them behave in certain ways.
Do cats have periods?
It might seem for some that female cats and humans have some sort of similar reproductive cycle. And this leads to questions such as “Does a female cat bleed when in heat?” And the answer is: NO!
Cats don’t have periods and don’t bleed during heat. The only thing you’ll notice are some instabilities in terms of behavior during that period.
Let’s say that your queen didn’t get pregnant. She will now enter another phase:” the interestrus”. It’s a phase that lasts from two days to three weeks. The estrogen level drops and heat signs are now gone.
How often do cats go into heat?
The cycle shall repeat itself until the mating season ends or until you become grandparent to cute little kittens.
This is the period where queens aren’t sexually active. Your cat now isn’t in heat. For cats in general, production hormones are triggered by long days’ light. Thus, the heat cycles usually happen between spring and fall. However, indoor cats, usually know longer periods of estrus, due to their exposure to artificial lights.
When can I expect my cat to go into heat?
Your queen is growing fast and you can expect her first heat at around six months. For some cats, heat season starts as soon as they’re four months old.
If you don’t wish to become a grandparent your vet will recommend spaying. He or she will advise you about the right moment to spay her according to her health records. Usually, it’s when your kitty reaches the age of four to six months. Yet, for some kitties, it can be as early as three to four months of age.
How long does a cat stay in heat?
It’s not easy to answer questions such as “how long are cats in heat?”. Unlike female humans, the reproductive cycle of a cat is a bit unpredictable. Cats usually go into heat for about a week. Then, it will stop for a week or so then start again. We can predict the length of the heat, but it’s the frequency that’s hard to identify.
Knowing that cats are polyestrous- they can get pregnant many times a year-, this in and out the heat period continues through the whole mating season. For feral and outdoor cats this usually lasts from spring to fall, due to the sunlight of long days. While for indoor unspayed cats this can happen during the entire year non-stop and without warnings, due to the exposure of the artificial lights. Whether for indoor or feral or outdoor female cats, they can get pregnant at any phase of the cycle.
Female cats in heat: symptoms
Now that we know how long does a female cat stay in heat , it’s important to be able to recognize its symptoms.
When in heat, cats show all kinds of excessive behavioral weird symptoms. The rush of hormones makes your kitty beg you to go outside, even if she’s an indoor one. And show all kinds of behaviors that are going to need patient and understanding of her state. The good thing is that once the cycle is over you’re going to have back the cute kitty you’ve always known.
A lot of weird sounds:
You might be enjoying your kitty’s casual meows. Sometimes you get a little extra with the purring. You’re such a lucky parent!
However, when it comes to heat, your cat takes it to another level. You are going to hear all kinds of crazy vocalizations: loud mews, crying, yowling, etc. And that is to attract the male counterparts. It’s one of the mating calls female cats in heat use.
So much affection in the air!
If you notice that your kitty became out of a sudden so affectionate towards you, then you need to suspect this behavior. Usually, female cats in heat become so affectionate. They become snuggly and like to be cuddled, scratched, strokes, and pet so often.
Spraying urine everywhere:
One of the annoying signs of female cats in heat is urine spraying. If there’s no medical issue that can justify this behavior, it simply means your cat is using it as a mating call – I know she could’ve just used her words, that would have been much easier for both of us!-
The famous face rub, against you and every corner of the house:
Usually, when a cat rubs her face against things it means that she marks them as her property. But when it becomes excessive it means that the heat session is close. Because like urine spraying, female cats use their scent to attract males.
Hindquarters in the air:
Another obvious sign that your cat is in heat is when she puts her tail in the air while often wiggling her hind ends, with her legs tab dancing. This weird posture is a clear sign that you’ve got a female cat in heat in the house.
Why preventing cats from going through heat is a good idea?
Dealing with female cats in heat is very stressful and takes a lot of time and energy. You might think of breeding your cat for a responsible pregnancy to end the cycle, but then you need to think of the consequences. You’ll end up with more kitties in heat later on.
Let alone that the cats’ world is already overpopulated. And if you’re not ready to handle more kitties you’ll need to think of a nice household for each one of the litters. You can consider a nice shelter as an option. But, then you’ll be responsible for taking other stray kitty’s places, that are more in need of it.
Thus, getting your female cat spayed is your best option. This will prevent unwanted behaviors from happening randomly every now and then. And will leave you stressfree. Some vets will recommend spaying as soon as she’s around five months old. Some will wait until she’s in heat. And some others will wait until the heat is done, to avoid surgical bleeding and other complications. The kitty’s vet will be more capable of giving you the right spaying time according to her health records.
According to the ASPCA, spaying your cat will not only prevent the annoying heat symptoms from happening, but it will also support her long term health. Spaying your female cat before her first heat decreases the risk of breast tumors and uterine cancers as well.
Female cats in heat after spaying: is this possible?
In general, the surgery is final and prevents your cat from going into heat for good. Yet in some rare cases, the symptoms continue to happen. This is due to some ovarian tissue that was left intact during surgery. This tissue releases then hormone that will trigger the heat cycle.
If you get your cat spayed and still notice some of the heat symptoms, you’ll need to take your cat to the vet for consultation.