The first thing to know is that all cats go through a natural estrus cycle if not spayed. This cycle is called estrus, and it means that the cat can reproduce. There are several signals that cats send to tell their owners that they are in heat. This article will be of great help to understand the reason for the change in the behavior of your beautiful pet.
Female cats go into heat for the first time between 4 and 12 months of age, while males go into heat between 8 and 12 months. Your cat’s most evident signs are that it is more affectionate than usual and meows very loudly. It sounds similar to a child’s cry, and it licks its genitals a lot.
The first heat cycle of female cats occurs between 4 to 12 months of age. Still, the reality is that it can happen anytime, depending on the breed, health condition, and time of year. This first heat is associated with the animal’s puberty. However, a female cat can become pregnant during any of its heat cycles, including the first heat of its life.
What Is Heat Like In Female Cats?
Let’s talk about estrus in female cats because it is the most complicated. We have to know that the heat periods occur at certain times of the year since the female cat is ready to be fertilized by the male cat to fecundate and procreate her kittens. But be careful; this does not happen all year round; the female cats will only accept sexual intercourse when she is in heat.
Cats have their first heat from 4 to 12 months of life and have their last heat at about 12 years. When the cat is a small breed, the heat may start earlier than cats of larger breeds. Even the first heat of these breeds can be delayed until 15 months. The explanation for this difference is that small-sized cats develop much faster.
After the cats’ first heat, they may be in heat several times a year. This occurs because female cats are influenced by the amount of daily light they receive. Because of this, during the warmer months and where daylight lasts longer, cats are more likely to come into heat.
Primary Symptoms Of Heat In Female Cats
Unlike dogs, female cats do not bleed when they are ready for fertilization. You will tell very quickly when your female cat is in heat. You will notice some rather unusual behaviors that have nothing to do with their usual behavior.
- The cat will meow a lot more than usual; you will get the impression that it is screaming, and her voice will sound a lot like that of a baby or small child.
- You will see your cat rubbing and rolling around with everything and everyone; it will rub herself on the furniture, on the floor, on everything she can find
- Your cat will be much more affectionate than usual
- Every time she caresses your cat, it will put her body in the same way she would put its body to receive the male
- It may also try to escape from the house to look for male cats
What Is Heat Like In Male Cats?
Estrus in male cats is different from that of females. First of all, it occurs later, it starts between 8 or 12 months, and the last one occurs at the age of 7 years. They do not have the heat cycles of females, which means that the cat is ready to mate all year long.
When a male cat smells the scent of females in heat, or when they hear the meowing calls they make, cats are aroused to heat, and with this comes the desire to meet them.
Male cats do not have heat cycles. But it is true that during winter and autumn, their sexual desire decreases, increasing again in the warm months or good weather. This is because the environment affects the libido in cats, although this does not mean that he will not react if he perceives a female cat in heat during these cold months.
Primary Symptoms Of Heat In Male Cats
We already know some characteristics of heat in cats; now, let’s review the symptoms that will help you recognize when your cat is in heat. The symptoms change a little in males compared to females.
- Male cats become more nervous than usual.
- Cats meow insistently and may even tremble with excitement
- Cats mark places that were not of interest to them before the heat. This action of marking the territory is to say that the female is theirs
- The cat becomes more aggressive with other males. That is why fights between stray cats to win the attention of the female are very common
How Long Does A Cat’s First Heat Last?
A cat’s first heat can last from 3 to 10 days in some cases. But the average time lasts about a week.
Stages Of Estrus In Female Cats
The stages of estrus that female cats go through are:
- Proestrus. From 1 to 2 days. This is when the ovulation cycle begins, and the cat becomes very affectionate and attracts the interest of cats. But it is not yet interested in any cat, not even a cat in heat that is nearby.
- Estrous. From 1 to 7 days. This is the peak stage of estrus. The cat is very restless and interested in the presence of males. It is very likely that if a male mounts her at this stage, she will become pregnant.
- Interestrus. From 7 to 14 days. At this stage, if the cat in heat was pregnant, she could become pregnant. Psychological pregnancies can sometimes occur at this stage.
- Anestrus. From 50 to 95 days. At this stage, there are no more signs of heat.
The vital thing to recognize in each of these stages is to help us to avoid unwanted pregnancies or to look for the ideal partner we want for our pet.
Essential Aspects Of Heat In Cats
At this point, we already know a little more about this intriguing world of cats and their heat process. There are some other facts that every cat owner should know.
Is There A Time Of Year When Cats Go Into Heat?
As we have already seen, females maintain a specific cycle in which they will come into heat, while males could go into heat at any time of the year.
However, both sexes agree that the rutting season will have the most significant sexual desire from March to September, the same as spring to summer.
Do Cats Bleed During The Heat?
This generalized doubt should be cleared up; female cats do not bleed when they are in heat. Female cats do not expel blood during the heat because it is not menstruation. What does happen is that both males and females can mark the house with urine.
How Can I Calm A Cat In Heat?
Some tips or techniques used to help calm a cat in heat are:
- Avoid contact with male cats so that she does not want to attract their attention.
- Give your cat lots of affection. This will make it feel cared for
- Play with her, and she will be entertained
- Give her pills for heat. These pills act as contraceptive methods, but they are not recommended because of the side effects. The best way of birth control for cats is spaying or neutering.
A Final Thought On Cats And Heat
Cats have reproductive behavior that is sometimes difficult to manage. Urine marks, meowing at night, and fighting between cats are part of the reasons why it is advisable to spay both female and male cats. This also helps prevent infectious diseases in cats and other health problems.
Understanding what it means to have a cat in heat and what we can do to calm them down can help us better manage this complex process and better understand our furry friends.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.