Cats in Heat: A Guide

Cat behaviour frequently depends on changes in all kinds of factors such as habitat, diet and even the weather. However, hormones are one of the biggest influencers of mood, and a cat in heat will almost completely change how she behaves. If you have not had your cat spayed then this article, describing the changes a cat will go through during her heat cycles, will help you identify when your cat is ready to mate. See our list below for information on potentialcat behaviour when she is in heat.

Cat Heat Facts

Since every cat is an individual some will react differently to others, so let’s get the facts down first. “Heat” itself is the fertile period of a female cat’s reproductive cycle. This is the time when your cat will actively be looking for a mate because biologically she is ready to conceive.

Cat heat lasts for between seven to ten days per cycle, and each cyclecomes around as often as every two to three weeks. Cats can have heat cycles at any time throughout the year but often stop during the shorter days of winter due to reduced quantity of natural light. Heatcycles begin when your cat is sexually mature, which can be as early as four months old(especially in certain “precocious” breeds such as Siamese and Burmese cats) althoughthe average age for a cat to have her first season is around six to ten months of age.

Cat Heat Changes

Here’s a quick list of behavioural changes you’ll notice if your cat is in heat, note that the first heat in a queen’s life are generally very discrete and that you may only notice gestation signs if you are not very careful:

  • • Affectionate behaviour – your pet may rub up against household objects as well as you
  • • However, aggressive behaviour can be a signaswell! Cats may roll on the floor and grab or bite you if you go near
  • • Your cat will vocalise much more, making an array of different calls to try and attract a mate.The cries can sometimes sound quite alarming- as if she is in pain.
  • • If your cat is a house cat, she maytry to get out of the property. You may see her pace the windows. Ensure you’re quick in entering and exiting your house as she may make a bee-line for the door.
  • • Your cat’s entire posture may change. She will likely hold her tail to one side and raise her bottom, sometimes treading up and down with her hind feet.
  • • Finally, she may appear to lick around her genitals more as they become swollen.

What you can do

As an owner, it’s up to you to learn to understand the mood of your cat during heat. Consult a vet if her behaviour becomes difficult, or dangerous, but in the main it’s important to treat your cat with affection during this time.

Remember, if a cat remains unspayed there are very high chances that she will become pregnant. 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.

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