The popular term “in heat” refers to the period of the reproductive cycle in which the cat can become pregnant. This only happens once the cat reached sexual maturity, around 6 months of age. Do you have an unsterilized cat at home? As an owner, you will want to know how long are cats in heat and what to expect at that stage.
How long are cats in heat?
Heat, also known as estrus, is one of the phases that make up the feline reproductive cycle. Although its duration can vary from 1 to 2 weeks in total, it is common for a cat to be in heat for about 6 days. In this period, the kitten will be receptive and will try to attract nearby males.
Should mating occur, the cat undergoes the hormonal changes necessary to stimulate ovulation. The more times cat mate, the greater your chances of getting pregnant.
Did you know…? Since female cats can mate with several cats for the duration of the heating phase, there is the possibility of producing a litter of kittens with different parents.
Other phases, in addition to zeal …
The cycle of a cat consists of 5 phases in total. They are:
It only lasts 1 or 2 days. No big changes occur, and the cat is not yet receptive to mating.
2. Estrus (heat)
On average it lasts 6 or 7 days, but it can extend up to 19 days in some cases. The cat attracts males and shows changes in their behavior.
It occurs if the kitten has not mated, has not ovulated and therefore has not become pregnant during the heat. It lasts from 13 to 18 days until the proestrus begins again.
It occurs if the cat has ovulated.
This is the reproductive dormancy phase. The cat shows no symptoms of heat.
How often does a cat go into heat?
Cats are seasonal polyesters, which means they can go into heat several times a year. This varies depending on geographical / environmental factors such as temperature and the number of hours of light in a day. Cats that live outdoors, or that are exposed to sunlight every day, tend to go into heat much more frequently.
For example, it is said that in the northern hemisphere, a cat may be in heat from late January to late fall, especially from spring when the days have more hours of daylight. This is why some mothers can produce as many as 5 litters of kittens in 1 year.
The time between one heat cycle and another ranges from a few days to 2 or 3 weeks.
When cats spend all their time indoors and are only exposed to artificial lighting, their hormonal cycle is more difficult to predict. In that case, the pet can get into an uproar at any time of the year, without prior notice.
Typically, female cats go into heat when there is 14-16 hours of light (natural or artificial).
How to know if a cat is in heat? 6 common symptoms
Although it is not easy to predict when the cat will go into heat , an owner can identify it once the heat has started.
The most notable symptoms of heat in cats have to do with behavior. Expect the following changes:
1. Increased vocalization
Cats in heat become more vocal than normal. It is normal for them to meow, howl, and cry loudly to attract males. These vocalizations can be very annoying.
2. Increased affective behavior
They act more affectionate towards humans, even a little demanding. These days they love to be stroked, rubbed and rubbed, especially on the back and butt. If your cat suddenly seems more affectionate than usual , it is very likely that she is in heat.
3. Urine drizzle
A female cat may start to spray urine around to leave her pheromones and alert male cats that she has already entered heat . In general, the frequency of urination also increases.
This is another way to spread your scent and attract potential mates. Cats in heat tend to rub their faces against people, the floor, and household items.
5. Posture of this
Another classic sign of heat in cats is the estrus posture, during which they stick the front of the body to the ground, and raise the tail and hindquarters in the air.
6. Escape attempt
Some rowdy kittens may try to escape outside to increase the chances of finding a male.
In addition to these signs, expect to see new cats in your yard or neighborhood. They may spray urine around the property to mark their territory, and even attempt to enter the house to mate with the cat.
When an unsprayed cat vocalizes non-stop, rubs against her owners or furniture, seems to enjoy being caressed more, and behaves restlessly, she is almost certainly in heat.
How to prevent a cat from going into heat?
The most effective and safest method to prevent female cats from going into heat, as well as to prevent unwanted pregnancies , is sterilization. This is the procedure during which the pet’s uterus and ovaries are removed. Many vets recommend spaying before the first heat , around 6 months of age.
If not spayed, a cat will continue to go into heat every few weeks, until she becomes pregnant or is spayed. It may appear that the pussycat is constantly in heat. Over time, such a situation can become stressful and unhealthy for your pet.