The word “In Heat” means the cat has reached her fertile period & is ready to mate. If you have a female cat, it’s normal that she will experience her first “Heat” when she hits puberty at 6-10 months old. At this time, a cat reaches sexual maturity.
When an un-spayed female cat is sexually mature, it is called a Queen. Cats are polyestrous species. This means the queen can get heat multiple times in a calendar year, depending on weather, temperature, and daylight.
If you find your cat in heat, then it’s important for you to know How Long Are Cats In Heat and what to expect from her while she’s experiencing it.
How long are cats in heat?
So, how long are queens in the heat? During the estrus phase, your queen will try to mate and get pregnant. But, if she still isn’t able to mate and get pregnant, then she will again get into heat again after 2-3 weeks. Some queens constantly get into heat when they are not allowed to breed.
Let’s have a look at different stages of cats heat cycle:
Stages of Cats Heat Cycle:
During the Heat cycle, a cat goes through five stages:
- Proestrus: During the Proestrus stage, the queen is not prepared for the mating. It lasts a day or two. It may attract un-comparable males, but no change in behavior is seen.
- Estrus: During this stage, the queen attracts a male cat for about a week and gets prepared for mating. A certain change in behavior is seen during this stage. The queen suddenly starts to vocalize loudly, rub herself with things, Licking the genital area, Spraying urine, Putting her tail in the air, Wants to go outside of the house, etc. Mating during estrus will induce ovulation. The act of mating will stimulate hormone production that will activate ovulation. During estrus, a queen needs to mate about 4-6times to get pregnant. While in heat, a queen may escape from the house to mate with several males and give birth to a kitten that won’t have a specific father. This stage normally ranges from 2-19 days.
- Interests: If the queen does not ovulate or become pregnant during estrus, then Interestrus will start. This stage goes on in between heats. When she is not able to mate after so much attempt, her estrogen level drops for a few periods of time, i.e., 2-3 weeks. But, after 2-3 weeks, she will again go into heat and become crazy for mating. The cycle Proestrus, Estrus, Interestrus will continue until the cat mates with a male and gets pregnant.
- Diestrus: This stage will occur when the queen has evaluated, i.e., when the queen mates with a male.
- Anestrus: This stage is called the queen’s reproductive resting period. In this stage, the absence of estrus cycle activity is seen, and the queen is not in the mood. It occurs due to fewer daylight hours. The queen’s hormone production is normally stimulated by longer daylight hours, warm weather, and temperature. This stage normally occurs during winter when the weather is cold and the daylight hours are shorter.
Signs Of Cat Is In Heat:
When your queen is in heat, you will notice some change in her behavior that includes:
- Vocalize Loudly: If you are used to hearing “meow” from your queen, you will notice a change when your cat is in heat. She will moan or “meow” more than usual, often and loudly as a way to attract males.
- Shows affection: When your queen is in heat, you will notice that she loves to be pet, stroked, on their back and rear. She will show extra affection.
- Rubbing on things: When your queen is in heat, she will rub her body on things like- your furniture, your doorways, your couch, your floor, etc.
- Putting her tail in the air: If your queen puts her tail end in the air, sits on the floor, keeps her head down, and gives it a shake, that is a sign that shows she is in heat. This is usually done to attract a male cat.
- Spraying Urine: If your queen urinates more frequently or spray urine in vertical objects, it is a sign she is in heat. Her urine will be scented heavily with estrogen, which helps to attract the male cat.
- Licking: If your queen licks her genital area very often, it is also a sign.
- Feel uncomfortable: She will feel uncomfortable staying in a place for a long time, cry in a distressed way, which could be a sign of she is in heat.
Breeding Time and Season for Female Cats:
Female Cats reach sexual maturity from around 4months of age. But, on average, a female cat will go first into heat at around 6-9 months of age.
The cat’s hormone production is normally stimulated by longer daylight hours and warm temperatures. Cats go into heat when the daylight is 15-16 hours.
The female cat usually breeds in the spring and summer season, and in the early winter, when the temperature is a bit warmer and sunny, some cats may get into heat.
How Can I Prevent My Cat From Going Into Heat:
When your cat is in heat, there is a huge possibility of the cat getting pregnant. And if your cat gets pregnant, it may create a problem for you. So, how to prevent your cat from going into heat?
If you want to prevent your cat from going into heat, there is only one option, that is, get her spayed. If you can have her spayed before the first heat, which happens in around 5months, she will not experience heat after that—spaying your cat before the first heat can also decrease the risk of getting affected by uterine cancers and breast tumors.
Reasons to Prevent My Cat From Going Into Heat:
As soon as my cat becomes sexually mature, she will experience her first heat, and she will be able to get pregnant. When she is in heat, her hormones will work faster, and she will eagerly search for a male cat for mating. She may rub herself and roll around the floor. She may try to escape from the house and get to the male cat outside the house. She will mate with as many males as she can. At such a young age, it’s dangerous and unsafe for her to get pregnant. She may get herself injured. Many cats who escape in the heat later become unable to find the house.
During the first heat, if your cat fails to mate, she will continue to go through the heat cycle after a few more weeks and will try to mate once again until she gets pregnant. If the situation goes like this, this may be unhealthy for your cat.
Besides, your cat can be affected by infectious diseases such as feline leukemia, which can spread from the male cats that she attempted to mate with.
So, as soon as you spay your cat, the better it is for your cat.
Cats often get into heat after every 2-3 weeks when they are unable to mate and become pregnant. So, if you notice some change in the behavior of cats during the heat, it is absolutely normal.
So, the answer to the question “How Long Are Cats In Heat?” depends on whether the cat is able to mate or not. If it doesn’t find any male, it will again go into heat after a few weeks.
So, to prevent your cat from heat, it is better to have her spayed just before the first heat. It will save her from many diseases and will keep her healthy and sound.