What can you expect when your cat goes into heat? This post is essentially a guide for cat owners as there are a lot of moving parts you need to know about if your cat is in heat. With this in mind, we have a small message about why spay before we dive into the nitty-gritty.
Experts at Purina share why spaying is so important. If a cat remains unspayed there are very high chances that she will become pregnant! Vets recommend spaying before the first heat cycle.
"Cats should always be spayed unless the owner intends to breed from them. An unspayed cat can bear three litters a year, and as much as 3,500 descendants over a lifetime."
What? Yikes! So if your cat isn't spayed and you want to know when she's ready to mate then here's what happens when she's ready to conceive.
When do cats first go into heat? (cat estrus)
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Springtime is known as kitten season but cats have several heat cycles a year. 'Cat estrus' begins as animals reach sexual maturity, usually at about six months of age, although some cats will go into heat as early as four months and others as late as 10 to 12 months.
This means that breeding cats can produce a litter at any time of the year.
What are the signs a cat is in heat?
According to Spruce Pets, behavioral changes are the norm for cats vs. physical changes. Pet owners should look for the following:
- Urine spraying
- Attention-seeking behavior
- Demanding or pushy behavior
- Rolling on the floor
- Raising hind end into the air
- Wiggling hind end when the back spine is stroked
- Begging to go outside
- Rubbing its face on things
How long does this last?
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This goes on for a while! The estrus phase will last between a week and 10 days. If your cat isn't able to mate then she'll very likely go into heat again sometime within the next three weeks! Some cats who aren't allowed to breed may seem to be more or less constantly in heat. Yes, you read that correctly.
How do you handle cats in heat?
I'm assuming you're not a breeder if you're reading this and it may seem obvious but keep your cat indoors if you don't want them to mate with another cate. Many male cats may be carrying some infectious disease and breeders have carefully selected the male cats they want their female cats to breed with!
Can I prevent my cat from going into heat? Yes! VCA Hospitals explains that the best way to prevent your cat from becoming pregnant is to have her surgically sterilized (a spay operation) before she has her first estrous cycle. Since it can be difficult to predict when this first cycle will occur, most vets recommend performing this surgery when a cat reaches six months of age.
You'll notice the yowling, vocalization, constant meowing and mating position when they first start showing signs they're ready to mate! A cat in heat is intense so you have to keep them indoors. This may be the biggest advice we have! Keep indoor cats inside.
Heat cycles can be as early as four months old in certain cat breeds such as Siamese and Burmese cats so you should research your breed or talk to the breeder if you plan to have your cat mate with a tomcat!
A cat's heat cycle happens several times a year so you need to be vigilant.
Cat pregnancy comes in five stages and we've written some articles about what you can expect with a pregnant cat.
Have you ever adopted a kitten before? Please leave us a comment below.