Like humans and other female mammals, our feline friends also go into an estrous cycle (the equal of a menstrual cycle for us humans!) to prepare them for fertility and reproduction. This estrous cycle is also known as a heat cycle, which is what happens when we say a cat goes into heat.
As a pawrent, heat cycles in cats may seem confusing and challenging at first. Thankfully, our team of catto experts at Maxime has created the lowdown on everything you need to know about a cat’s heat cycle. Keep on reading to learn more!
Signs and Timing
A female cat goes into heat during late kittenhood. It can happen from as early as 4 months of age to 10 months of age. When a cat is in heat, she will be more vocal and affectionate. She will rub her cheeks and her body against your legs, against other cats, and even furniture more often. She will purr loudly when touched in the slightest. Touching her back might also provoke her to assume the mating position with her rear raised and tail on the side. She will also howl or yowl to attract potential mates.
Here is an overview of the signs that your female catto is in heat:
- Becomes restless and rubs her body against your legs, furniture, and other household items
- More affectionate towards humans and other animals
- Yowls repeatedly
- Grooms their genitals more frequently
- Assumes a mating position
- Sprays or urinates around the house to mark their territory
- Loses their appetite
A cat is seasonally polyestrous, which means she will have more than one heat cycle in a year. A cat’s heat cycle occurs between 14-21 days every season. Heat cycles repeatedly happen until a cat gets spayed.
Is a heat cycle painful for my cat?
With the constant meowing, crying, howling, and rubbing her body against the floor or other items, you might be wondering — is a heat cycle painful for my catto? The short answer is no.
When a human gets her menstrual cycle, the woman’s uterus sheds its lining. This is what causes cramps, bloating, vaginal bleeding, and other menstrual symptoms. When a cat is in heat, she does not shed her uterus lining. Instead, a catto experiences a surge of hormones that make her eager to mate.
How to manage a cat in heat
Managing a cat in heat can be particularly challenging at first. She can be extremely loud and restless and she might keep you up at night with her yowling. If you do not want to breed her, the best solution is to get your cat spayed the moment she reaches sexual maturity.
Spaying will stop your cat’s heat cycles and her breeding instincts permanently. Spaying can also help your cat live a longer and healthier life. It reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancies and other health problems.
Here’s a rundown of things you can do to help your catto in heat:
- Spay your cat. Consult your trusted veterinarian about the procedure. Spaying reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancies, unwanted litters, and helps control the cat population. No unwanted litter = no homeless animals.
- If you have a multi-cat household, separate your female cat and male cats.
- Avoid letting your cat outside when she’s in heat. Aside from unwanted pregnancies, mating can put your catto at risk of contracting diseases or cause her to get lost altogether.
- Keep her entertained and play with her often.
- Stroke your feline baby more often and provide catnip to calm her down.
In order for us to live the best life together with our cattos, it’s important that we understand the different life stages they go through, including heat cycles. We hope these tips will help you in managing your catto in heat. Don’t forget to feed a nutritionally well-balanced meal with Maxime Cat!