What Behaviors Can You Expect From A Cat In Heat
Many cat owners express concern about the behavioral changes they observe in their cat during a heat cycle.
The first time a female cat goes into heat, she may display strange behaviors youve never seen from her before.
The agitation and yowling of a queen in heat can be very alarming when you dont know what to expect
You may even worry that your cat is:
- in pain
But rest assured
These behaviors are completely normal!
The behaviors you observe from your cat during a heat cycle are her attempts to attract a mate, rather than a result of pain or discomfort.
Do Female Cats Have Periods
Female cats do have a monthly cycle, but one which is quite different from female humans. Rather than shedding the uterine lining like human women do every 32 days or so, cats and select mammals reabsorb the old uterine-lining rather than bleeding it out. This takes place during the estrus cycle described below.
A small amount of blood may be shed during the heat cycle of your cat but it is more common for a female cat with a period to display the signs of a cat in heat above. Contact your vet if you notice worrisome bleeding in your female or male cat.
Q: How Often Do Cats Go Into Heat
A: Cats are seasonally polyestrous, which means they can go into heat many times throughout the breeding season. Since feline pregnancy is so short, cats can have more than one litter of kittens in a breeding season.
Typically, a cat may go through two or three heat cycles in one season. In some geographic regions, the feline breeding season may be year-round.
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Reproductive Cycle Of Cats
The estrous cycle of cats has four stages: anestrus, proestrus, estrus, and metestrus.
- Anestrus is when the queen doesnt come into heat, and her ovaries are inactive. In most of North America, this means from late September to mid-January. The short length of daylight, low light, and the temperature of the season are factors that suppress the heat cycles in cats during these months. However, indoor cats could be stimulated by artificial light sources, which means that they could start cycling even in the middle of winter as if it were early spring.
- Proestrus is the stage that immediately follows anestrus. In this stage, the cats ovaries start to become active, and they form follicles. This can take anything from one to four days. No discharge comes out of the cats vagina in this period, unlike what youd see in a female dog. This is the stage at which the queen becomes restless, has less appetite, is more affectionate, and utters short, low calls.
- Estrus is the time when the cat can become pregnant. It is the period when breeders notice classic heat symptoms such as the cat yowling. This time span can last for 10 to 14 days or more. Once again, there are no modifications in terms of the cats vaginal discharge.
- Metestrus is what follows the estrus. Once the heat period has ended, the cat returns to her normal self and does not pay attention or accept males.
Why You Need To Spay Your Cats
In general, domestic cats can hit puberty at around five months of age. However, certain breeds can sexually mature earlier than four months.
Also, frequent mood swings and irregular pattern of behaviors can take a toll on its mental and physical wellbeing.
If your feline goes into heat more often than necessary, it can lead to a stressful and unstable life.
She can develop behavioral issues, lose weight, and may exhibit aggressiveness.
Having her spayed doesnt only contribute to reducing feline overpopulation, but it also provides health benefits for your kitty.
Medical studies show that spaying a cat before her first heat cycle significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer.
Mammary cancers are more common in felines than other species.
However, the condition becomes less aggressive when there is no reproductive activity.
Spaying also eliminates the possibility of ovarian and uterine cancers in your kitty.
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Dealing With Her Behavior
Can Being In Heat Cause Health Problems
A common and serious health risk is called a pyometra, which is an infection that causes the uterus to fill with pus and bacteria, and can lead to a ruptured uterus, shock, and death.
Pyometras generally occur after several heat cycles with no mating , and they require an emergency spay surgery.
Signs to watch for include:
- Pus or other drainage from the vulva
If you notice any of these symptoms within a few weeks after a heat, your kitty needs an immediate veterinary visit.
Not all unspayed cats will develop a pyometra, but it is a risk that is easily avoided by spaying your cat.
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Can A Litter Contain Kittens From Multiple Sires
Yes. On the street, a queen may mate with two or more tom cats over the length of the estrous cycle – up to 21 days, with an average of seven days. Although genetics of the queen may come into play, multi-colored kitten litters will often vividly demonstrate multiple mating. Some breeders of pedigreed cats keep the queen and chosen tom together for multiple matings to ensure that pregnancy will result.
Where Can I Go For Spaying
There are many low-cost spay and neuter clinics, as well as regular veterinarians, who will spay your cat for you. In the United States, the ASPCA maintains a handy low-cost spay/neuter program finder page. All you need to do is enter your zip code, and the site will show you all the clinics in your area.
Keep those doors and windows locked! A cat in heat may try to escape to find a mate.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
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How Can You Keep Your Cat From Going Into Heat
Clearly, some of these behaviors can be problematic for a pet parent. Not to mention that if your cat gets pregnant, youll have a whole other issue to tackle. So, the question is, how can you keep your cat from going into heat?
The only way to keep your cat from going into heat is to get them spayed. According to the ASPCA, you can spay kittens as early as eight weeks. Ideally, youll have them spayed before their first heat, which happens around five months.
Spaying will not only keep your cat from going into heat , but it can also support their long-term health. Spaying your cat before her first heat can help lower her risk for both uterine cancers and breast tumors, according to the ASPCA.
Does A Heat Mean My Cat Will Get Pregnant
If your cat mates during her heat, yes, pregnancy is a possibility, even during their first heat.
To prevent pregnancy, separate your female kitty from any male cats in the household .
Also, be sure doors and windows are secure. This will prevent your kitty from escaping to look for a mate, which will avoid not only pregnancy, but also the risks of getting lost or injured while outside.
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Mating And Conception In Cats
The Spruce / Lisa Fasol
Most pet female cats who are not part of a breeding program should be spayed before puberty. Once they reach puberty, estrous cyclesoften called heat cycleswill start. In domestic cats heat cycles run generally from February through October in the Northern Hemisphere, but they can occur year-round in indoor cats.
Until she mates or is spayed, estrus will occur every 2 to 3 weeks, causing distress to both the queen and her human companions. During this time, Queenie’s entire focus will be on escaping the house to mate or mating with an intact male housemate. She will be single-minded in her need to mate, will loudly vocalize , and lurk near doors, just waiting for the chance to meet up with one of the noisy feline Romeos who will cluster near your home, fighting for the privilege of impregnating your queen.
Is My Cat In Heat Spotting The Signs
It can be difficult to spot when your cat is in heat, especially during her first few seasons. Changes in behaviour and personality are the most important signs to watch out for:
She may be more affectionate than usual rubbing up against people and furniture. That said, she may also become very grumpy and aggressive. Alternating between the two behaviours is not uncommon.
Female cats often get vocal when theyre in heat – this is because theyre trying to summon the attention of the nearby male cats. To help her with this, she may also spray a strong-smelling urine.
If you keep your cat indoors during her season , she may get restless and try her utmost to leave the house.
Occasionally, cats can lie on their bellies and swish their tails in the air whilst yowling which can be quite alarming! They may also sniff and lick their genital area more than usual.
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What To Expect With A Young Cat In Heat
The phone calls often go like this: We need to bring our kitten in right away. We are afraid she might be rabid! Rabies is certainly not something to rule out lightly as it is a very serious disease. However, when further questioning shows that the cat involved is a 6-month-old female kitten who has not been spayed, I can be quite sure she is simply in heat. But I understand the confusion. The behavior changes of a cat in heat are enough to concern any family.
When Does A Female Cat Have Her First Estrus Cycle
Cats have their first estrous cycle when they reach puberty. The estrous cycle is better known as a cat’s heat cycle. On average, puberty, or sexual maturity, first occurs in cats at about six months of age, but this can vary slightly by time of year.
“The estrous cycle is better known as a cat’s heat cycle.”
Each cycle consists of several stages the stage called estrus refers to when the female is sexually receptive, or in heat.
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Keep Her Away From Male Cats
A felines behavior can be a little tricky when shes in heat. At the first stage of the heat cycle, she tends to show disinterest in male cats.
However, dont let her cold behavior fool you.
Catnip can do the trick.
A sexually driven feline can turn into a scary rebel, but even she cant resist the calming power of catnip.
Try giving catnip to your rebellious kitty to help her calm down. Catnip can buy an hour of peace but remember that the effect is only temporary.
Play with your queen.
In any stressful situation, distraction is always the most effective solution.
Play with your kitty for the sake of distracting her from her urges. Physical activity is a smart way to divert their energy and focus.
Youll see that they will howl less after a rigorous exercise. Try petting her and brush her lower back to help her cool down.
If you have unsprayed cats, expect them to undergo multiple series of heat cycles. Therefore, it is essential to learn how long do cats stay in heat.
This is to make sure that your pet has a normal reproductive cycle and to prevent accidental pregnancy.
Heat cycle has four stages, but the final stage is virtually a non-heat stage wherein the feline finally goes out of the heat.
So, if we include the first and third stage, the entire heat cycle can last up to 4 weeks.
The Science Of Dogs Reacting To Cats
In the wild, a cat will see a dog and run. When a dog sees a little furry creature running, they are going to run too. Hence the perception of dogs going after cats. Actually, the dog is just running after a furry creature, same as they would chase a squirrel. This is due to the dog’s innate hunting instincts.
The question still remains, what is it about the cat that arouses the dog? Is it the movement of the cat only? The smell of the cat? Are dog’s intrigued by the meow of the cat? A research team headed by Christy Hoffman of the Department of Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, looked at these very questions.
They tested 69 dogs of various breeds. The experimenters used the a cat toy, a pillowcase on a rotating arm that moved like a cat, and recorded cat sounds. They exposed the dogs to these conditions with and without the smell of the cat. Surprisingly, the dogs were most aroused by the sound of the cat. The dogs having the most interest in the cat sounds had a history of aggression with cats.
The second most interesting condition for the dogs involved the cat-like movements. Considering how cats will yell so much when they are in heat, they are probably drawing the attention of the dogs. It would be a mistake to assume the dog’s interest is for mating. They are just checking out the cat, who might be better off getting spayed or just being quiet.
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What Are The Signs Of A Cat In Heat
If your female cat is not spayed and seems to be acting a bit strange, she could be in heat. Here are common signs that female cats are in heat:
- Excessive vocalizing. If your cat is normally quiet and will not stop yowling, chances are shes calling out for a mate.
- Super affectionate. If your female cats affection level has risen, it could be a sign that shes in heat. Cats in heat will rub up against any surface, including you, to spread their individual scents. Cats scents change when theyre in heat. Kitty is letting every tomcat know shes looking for a sire.
- She wants out of the house. Indoor female cats who all of a sudden are incredibly determined to get outside may be in heat. She may smell a possible mate outside, or she wants to continue spreading her scent to advertise her availability. If you have an outdoor cat, she may not return as frequently.
- Excessive licking of the genitals. Cats who are in heat may have a swollen vulva or a slight discharge. If your female cat is spayed, this could be a sign of an infection.
- She assumes the position. Cats in heat will present themselves for potential mates by flattening the front of their bodies on the ground and sticking out their rear ends. This makes it easier for male cats to mate with them.
Should You Spay Your Cat To Keep Her From Going Into Heat
If you want to avoid the extra cat pee appearing around your house , the inquisitive male cats looking for a mate, and the expense of an unplanned litter of kittensyes, spaying your cat is a good idea. In addition to the issues that crop up around your house if your cat is not spayed, consider the implications on a larger scale. Overpopulation is already an issue, and the rapid ability at which cats are able to reproduce makes spaying your cat well worth the cost of the procedure.
Vahrenwald points out that unaltered cats can have up to three litters a year. That’s a lot of cats, but it quickly leads to even more. Cats have no qualms about incest, so litters of kittens can result in even more kittens without spaying and neutering. According to the Spay and Neuter Action Project, two “unaltered” cats mating can end up with 400,000 descendants in six yearsand that’s why animal advocates point to TNR programs as a way to help reduce feral cat populations.
Cats who are not spayed “Really can create a population explosion,” Vahrenwald says. Talk to your vet for more information about how and why spaying and neutering can help your cats live happier, healthier lives.
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