Signs Your Cat Is In Heat

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

signs your cat is in heat can include yowling

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.

In conclusion

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:)


10 thoughts on “Signs Your Cat Is In Heat”

  1. Hey Kathy, thanks for sharing another informative post! We haven’t had a female cat in a long time but we do plan to get one in the future so I was wondering how to tell whether she is in heat or not. As always, I found a lot of great information on your blog. I will definitely bookmark this page for future reference. Thanks a lot for sharing and keep up the good work!

    • Hi Ivan, thanks for your comment and glad you enjoyed this post:) Nice to hear you plan on getting a female cat and now know you know what to expect! Thanks for stopping by:)

  2. Oh my god, 4 months is so young for a cat to go into heat. But when you explained that its equivalent to 10-15 yrs of age in humans, i was like oh okay…
    I was once in the middle east visiting family, when i could hear a stray cat yowling outside our home. At first, it sounded like a baby making noises!! Only later we found out that the poor cat was in heat. She went on like that for many days! Now, reading through your article, it makes so much sense what was going on!!
    Do you think there is anything we can do to help a stray cat who’s in heat?

    • Hi Sasha, thank you for your comment:) Yes, 4 months sounds very young but when you realise that cats age so much faster than us, it makes sense. Unfortunately, the only way to help your stray would be to get her spayed. Of course, this would mean encouraging her into your home and adopting her. If this is possible, get her settled and take her to a vet when she’s out of a heat cycle. The operation isn’t expensive and your little stray will enjoy a better quality of life. You sound very caring and hope you manage to help her.

  3. Hi Kathy,

    Thank you for sharing these useful information. In fact I am planning to adopt a cat and did not know how female react when they were in heat. Now I know what to do 🙂
    Its amazing that some of them become sexually mature as from 4 months!

    Continue the great work!


    • Hi Arnaud, thank you for your comment and glad you found this post useful:) Good luck with your new cat. If you adopt a female kitten over four months old from a rescue centre she should already have been spayed. Thanks for stopping by:)

  4. Hi Kathy, such a nice post!
    I enjoyed reading because I love cats and am interested in studying their behavior. I know when it’s mating season because then I can’t sleep from their sound and it’s usually February. My friend has a cat who is about 10 months old and has been constantly running away from her house . Now I realize it’s because of entering puberty. I was especially surprised that cats also have a premature teenage pregnancy that can be bad for them. I will definitely recommend to my friend to sterilize her cat in order to improve his quality of life and reduce the risk of being hit by a car or getting lost.
    I just have a question, is there any upper age limit for sterilization?
    Thanks and best regards!

    • Hi Danijela, thank you for your kind comment:) Yes, if your friend’s cat is 10 months old it’s definitely going through puberty! Spaying or neutering is beneficial for a cat’s health and wellbeing. Not only can it help reduce the risk of certain diseases, but prevent the area being overrun with kittens! It’s always best to get cats sterilised as soon as they’re sexually mature, but there’s no age limit. Unlike humans, female cats don’t go through the menopause and are capable of reproducing their entire life! Thanks for stopping by:)

  5. Thank you Kathy Joyce for this informative article, once again I get to learn more about cats. I have always thought of the signs that cats show to let their owners they are on heat and I found that in this article. I agree that spaying your cat is important as it reduces the risk of your cat getting ovarian and mammary cancer and this going to make life simpler for you and cat. I think cat owners should do this when the chance to as it’s a simple procedure. Please get this done by a qualified vet to avoid any complications and aftercare is very necessary. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Femi, thank you for your kind comment and glad you found this post informative:) Yes, it’s so important to get female cats spayed as not only does it prevent unwanted litters, but may offer some protection against certain cancers. It’s so quick and simple and recovery is fairly quick. The shaved fur grows back in no time, and complications are rare if done by a qualified vet.


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