If your female kitty hasn’t been spayed you may be asking “what are the signs your cat is in heat?” In this post you’ll discover everything you need to know about your cat’s heat cycle and what age to expect it to start.
Whether you’re planning on using your kitty for breeding, or just haven’t got around to spaying, you need to know the signs. Unplanned pregnancies in teenage kids are bad enough, but your cat could give birth to up to four or five kittens!
This is a big responsibility and not to be taken lightly! All rescue cats are spayed or neutered to prevent pregnancy, but if you’ve taken in a stray or have a pedigree you want to breed I’ll share with you what to expect.
When your kitten enters puberty
Your sweet little bundle of fur enters puberty around 4-10 months. This is equivalent to a human youngster at 10-16 years old.
Unless you’ve adopted a rescue cat you will be responsible for ensuring she’s spayed. If you’ve found a stray and there’s no evidence of microchipping, you should get her examined by a vet.
Just like a young woman entering puberty, your cat will undergo massive hormonal changes. This is when she’ll start showing signs of becoming restless and eager to go outside!
If you have a pedigree kitty such as a Burmese or Siamese, puberty can start as early as 4 months, but other breeds such as Persians often don’t reach sexual maturity until they’re 15-18 months old.
In fact, Ragdolls can take up to 4 years to become fully mature! However, regardless of this, all females no matter what breed should be spayed by the time they’re 6 months old.
A sudden change in behavior
Your sweet, calm little kitty has suddenly gone crazy! From a gentle purring fuzzball she’s suddenly started meowing loudly with the addition of strange yowling sounds.
Your first reaction may be to think she’s in pain. After all, she’s never yowled before. Picking her up to see any sign of cuts or bumps, you’ll probably find she’s still in one piece.
Then you wonder if you’ve done something to upset her, or if she’s angry with you. Actually, she’s not mad at you but simply making her presence known to any males in the area!
Then you start to notice even stranger behavior as she rubs her head or bottom against everything in sight! Whether it’s the table leg, wall or your legs, she’s excessively leaving her scent everywhere she can.
This is equivalent to a calling card, just like a young woman giving her phone number to suitors. However, this calling card has a wealth of information including when the scent was left, age, health, and even sex of the cat!
Other odd behavior may include crawling along the floor in a low position with her rear sticking up. In addition, she may be making a moaning sound. As a pet parent this can be scary if you don’t know what’s happening and you’ve never seen a cat in heat before.
Be assured, she’s not suffering and not in pain! You’ve simply got a kitty in heat! If your cat is a stray, keep her inside and wait until she’s out of heat before seeing the vet.
Another sign your cat is in heat is spraying. Though normally associated with tomcats, this can be a sign your female kitty is in heat.
Her spray will contain a mix of hormones and pheromones alerting any males of her presence. As previously mentioned,
a cat’s scent contains a wealth of information.
Although completely undetectable to humans, cat’s have an extremely powerful sense of smell. So you see, if your kitty goes outside while in heat it won’t be long before she’s approached by a few local toms!
When should you get your cat spayed?
Getting your cat spayed in heat isn’t ideal as blood vessels surrounding her reproductive organs will become extra full. This would make the procedure more complex with the risk of damaged tissue.
Though it’s only a very minor risk, for the sake of a few days it’s best to wait. As long as your cat doesn’t go outside and you’ve no un-neutered toms in the house you’ll be fine!
If you adopted a kitten then wait until she’s four months old and had all her vaccinations. It’s highly unlikely she’d go into heat before this time anyway.
Your cat’s first heat cycle
If you’re intending to use your cat for breeding, you can expect some of the signs I’ve shared with you to show when she’s around 4 months old. Generally speaking, a cat’s mating season will start in Spring and continue until autumn.
Longer days and warmer temperatures help induce the mating season. So if you’re in the northern hemisphere expect mating season to last from March to September.
One interesting question pet parents often ask is if their cat will have periods. Spotting can occur at the start of puberty as your kitty enters her first estrus cycle. While seeing spots of blood can be alarming it’s completely natural.
Having said that, if you are at all concerned about your cat’s health and the bleeding continues, get her checked out by a vet. Remember, cats can’t tell us how they feel so it’s up to us to make sure they’re ok.
How many times a year do cats go into heat?
As cats can go into into heat every 2-3 weeks, and each cycle lasts about 6 days, you could expect multiple heat periods. Unlike humans, cats only ovulate during mating, giving greater chance of pregnancy.
Another thing to bear in mind is since cats are induced ovulators, they’re able to bear kittens from multiple fathers in one litter!
This is quite amazing and the only other species known to be induced ovulators are rabbits, ferrets, and camels! So you see how easy it is for your cat to get pregnant!
Dealing with stress during your cat’s heat cycle
Going into heat can be quite stressful for your cat. She’ll be full of pent up energy and very restless so you may want to find ways of keeping her calm.
Every cat is different though, and while some prefer to hide if they’re stressed, others prefer a fuss and cuddle. If your cat hides away you could think about providing a quiet, safe place for her.
For example, a cosy cat bed with a few blankets, or even a cardboard box. In addition, you could always try Feliway.
Many veterinary surgeries have Feliway diffusers to help keep patients calm! You could try a plug in diffuser or even a spray.
There’s no guarantee Feliway will work for your cat as all are different. Some have no response to it while others become noticeably calmer.
Why you should get your cat spayed
Unless you deliberately want your cat to get pregnant it’s beneficial for your cat to have her spayed. This is firstly because it reduces the chance of cancer and secondly, prevents unwanted pregnancies.
An un-spayed female cat has a higher chance of developing ovarian and mammary cancer. In addition, her quality of life will be improved.
Also, you’ll be preventing unwanted litters. A cat can produce 4 or more kittens with each pregnancy, and you’d need to find homes for them. Caring for a pregnant cat is a responsibility, making sure both mum and babies are healthy.
Spaying is a very simple and routine procedure that’s quick and only takes about 30 minutes. Your vet will advise you on aftercare, and Keeping her quiet for a few days to ensure the wound heals is important.
Now you know the signs your cat is in heat I hope it’s given you a better understanding of what to expect. If your cat has already gone into heat and you don’t want her to get pregnant make sure you keep her inside.
As you may have guessed, cats are great escape artists! Even a window that’s slightly open is no match for a determined kitty.
If your cat has already got pregnant and given birth, you should consider getting her spayed. The operation is very safe and only takes about 30 minutes.
Even if your cat spends all her time indoors it’s kinder to get her spayed. Not only will she be at less risk of some cancers, but it will be better for her wellbeing.
If you’ve found this post useful please share. Also, if you’ve any questions or would like to share experiences, please leave a comment below.
Wishing you a purrfect day:)