, April 22, 2024

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How to Know If Your Cat is in Heat

  •   4 min reads
How to Know If Your Cat is in Heat
by Mariana Burgos

Your cat is behaving oddly. She has been quite loving to you recently, unlike before when you were virtually invisible to her except around feeding time. She is particularly talkative lately, meowing often about anything. If you notice these signals in your cat, it may imply only one thing: she is in heat!

There are several symptoms that a cat is in heat that every owner of an unspayed cat should be aware of. If a female cat has not been spayed, she will naturally go through a heat cycle. This heat cycle is known as estrous, and it signifies that a cat is ready to reproduce. There are a few crucial signs that a cat is in heat. Knowing the common signals that a cat is in heat allows you to distinguish between what behavior is normal and what behavior is unexpected and unrelated to the heat cycle at all.

In their article “Estrous Cycles in Cats” on the VCA Animal Hospitals website, veterinarians Malcolm Weir, Ryan Llera, and Cheryl Yuill explained when a cat is in heat and how to recognize the indications.

A cat in heat doing the mating position.(Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)

Cats experience their first reproductive (estrous) cycle when they reach adolescence, they said. Puberty, or sexual maturity, begins in cats at around six months of age on average, however, this might vary significantly depending on the time of year.

How often is their heat cycle?

Weir, Llera, and Yuill said that during the mating season, cats go through a number of cycles. The mating season differs depending on geography and environmental factors like temperature and daylight hours.

Cats are said to cycle in the Northern Hemisphere from January to late October.

Cats who live in more tropical areas or primarily inside, on the other hand, may cycle all year because of the increasing amount of daylight hours.

How long does each cycle last?

Each heat often lasts many days, with the average being seven days. However this can range from one to twenty-one days. If an unspayed female cat is not mated during estrous, she will go out of heat for a short amount of time, typically seven days. But this can range from two to nineteen days.

A cat rubs itself against the legs of a person.(Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)

According to Weir, Llera, and Yuill, the full estrous cycle of a cat can last anywhere from one to six weeks, with the typical cycle duration being around three weeks.

What are the symptoms?

The most noticeable indicators of estrous in cats are behavioral, they said. Cats in heat may try to rub up against you all the time, making it appear as if she is always underfoot. They become overly loving, even demanding, and are always looking for attention. They roll about on the floor more regularly. When stroked along the back or spine, they raise their back quarters into the air and walk with their back legs.

She may meow at any time of day or night, and her vocalizations may sound more like yowls or groans. This is known as “calling,” and your cat is making her presence known to possible suitors by doing so.

And, sure, female cats may spray as well! When she is in heat, her urine contains higher quantities of pheromones, which male cats can detect. Ergo, spraying is another means of displaying her openness or availability.

A cat in heat trying to escape through a window.”(Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)

From my experience, an indoor cat that is generally content to lay around indoors suddenly becomes hyper-focused on getting outside. She may look out the window intently, rush to the door as soon as you try to open it, and generally seek ways to leave. Her ultimate goal is to find a mate.

We all know that cats are excellent in grooming themselves, but, with a cat in heat, you may notice an increased emphasis on grooming the genital region, which may seem wet and bloated.

You could also notice that your cat regularly assumes the mating position, also known as the standing estrous stance, as though a male partner is about to come. I saw that with our cats. She will force her front elbows on the floor, stoop with her rear legs, thrust her buttocks into the air, and hold her tail to the side to show her genitals. She may also “make biscuits” with her back feet (which appears to be marching or treading). It is considered that mobility of the rear foot may aid in ovulation.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Is In Heat?

Spaying a cat is the most effective strategy to avoid or eradicate these undesirable habits. This will, of course, ensure that the cat never goes into heat again and prevents the undesirable behavior that come with it. Some vets will prefer to wait until the current heat cycle has ended before spaying a cat, while others will spay a cat while it is in heat.

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She has been a solo parent for 16 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard

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