If you keep an unspayed female cat then sooner or later she will reach her fertile period and will go into heat.
Cats go into heat for the first time when they are around four to ten months. The cats’ estrus or oestrus cycle (heat cycle) occurs every 14 to 21 days.
So how do you tell if your cat is in heat? Considering there is no way for you to measure feline hormonal changes at home, behavioral changes will help you know if your cat is in heat.
How to Tell if a Cat is in Heat
The following are behavioral signs a cat is in heat you should be on the lookout for:
1. Excessive Display of Affection
A female cat in heat will become unusually affectionate. She may rub her hindquarters against other cats, furniture, stuffed toys, and even you. She will lift her tail and assumes the mating position while rubbing against you or other cats.
2. Excessive Grooming
Another sign your cat is in heat is if she’s excessively grooming herself. She will spend excessive time licking her genital area. Since cats rarely experience vaginal discharge likes female dogs in heat, the licking of the genital area could be a clear indication she’s in heat.
PS: If your cat is licking her genital area and shows no other sign of being in heat, it could be a symptom of urinary tract disorder. If that’s the case then be sure to consult a vet immediately because the condition can be serious if left untreated.
3. Vocalizing or Mating Calls
A female cat in heat will also vocalize. The “mating calls”, which include moaning, meowing, or wailing, can go on for several days unless she mates. If the heat cycle ends before she’s successfully mated, she will stop vocalizing until the next heat cycle.
4. Assuming Mating Position
The cat will also assume the mating position called lordosis. The cat will keep her head down, forelegs bent, rear quarters raised, and tail raised & held to the side. If you notice your female cat assuming this position then it’s probably in heat.
5. Marking Her Territory
A female cat in heat will spray surfaces with her urine. You will see her back up to a vertical surface, raise her quivering tail, and spray the surface with urine. The rhythmic treading can look like your cat is in distress, but you need not worry at all.
6. Loss of Appetite
Another way to tell if a cat is in heat is to observe her eating habit. A cat in heat may exhibit a noticeable drop in appetite and will focus on other things as she strives to find a male cat for mating. However, if the disinterest in food lasts for more than two weeks, there can be an underlying health issue that needs the help of your vet.
7. Urge to Go Outside
A cat in heat will be driven by instincts to find a mating partner and will pounce at an opportunity to go outside and spread its scent or pheromones to attract male cats. If your feline friend is an indoor cat and you do not want her to get pregnant, it’s advisable to seal all possible escape routes and keep an eye on her.
How long do cats stay in heat?
Female cats stay in heat for four to seven days. However, a cat’s heat may last for as little as one day or as long as 21 days. Cats are polyestrous, which means an unspayed female cat can go into heat multiple times a year until they mate.
How often do cats go into heat?
Cats go into heat every 14 to 21 days until they mate. As noted above, unspayed female cats are polyestrous, which means they can go into heat multiple times a year until they successfully mate and become pregnant.
Do cats bleed when they are in heat?
It is rare for a cat in heat to experience vaginal bleeding. However, you shouldn’t worry if you notice minor vaginal bleeding if your cat is in heat. The most notable signs of a cat in heat include being excessively affectionate, assuming mating positions, excessive grooming, loss of appetite, and vocalizing.
Is my cat in pain when in heat?
While no one can tell with absolute certainty that cats do not feel pain when in heat, they exhibit signs such as moaning and meowing, which could indicate they are very uncomfortable.
Recap: How to Tell if a Cat is in Heat (Signs a Cat is in Heat)
The following signs we have highlighted will help you know if your cat is in heat. However, should you notice that only one of these signs stands out, like the excessive licking of the genital area or very little interest in eating, a health issue could be the cause.
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