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May 22, 2012 at 3:31 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

How Can You Tell if Your Cat is in Heat?

By Bri Luginbill More Blogs by This Author

I distinctly remember the day I saw a cat that seemed... a little out of the ordinary. My friend’s cat, Lily had jumped onto the top of their bookshelf. She was meowing loudly and rubbing her back on the wall and then rolling on her back from one end of the bookshelf to the other. She kept rolling faster and faster until eventually (and hilariously) Lily rocked a little too close to the edge and fell straight to the ground.

I’ll have to admit, I laughed. Little did I know, Lily couldn’t help her actions. She was in heat!

When cats go into heat they make all sorts of strange sounds and body movements. It’s natural.

Signs A Cat is in Heat

  • Loud meows that sound like wailing
  • Rolling their body around on the floor
  • Raising their tail and rear end high up in the air
  • Experiencing heightened affection by rubbing her head and body against anything she comes in contact with –a person, chair, couch, other cat etc.
  • Appearing agitated or uncomfortable
  • Spraying their urine onto furniture, walls, and sometimes even beds
  • A mucus discharge in a light red color
  • Licking their genitals more frequently

When Do Cats Start Their Heat?

While exact timing varies, cats start experiencing their heat early, before they reach one year old.

Age Heat Starts By Cat Breed. Just like in dogs, every feline breed will have their own time at which the cycle begins. Siamese will experience heat as soon as 4 months old. Other breeds may not start until 5 or six months of age.

Age Heat Starts By Lifestyle.  Another factor that determines when felines will start the cycle is whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat. Cats that spend most of their time outdoors will usually start at 4 months old while cats that reside inside may start a few months later.

How Long Does a Cat's Heat Last?

A feline’s heat cycle can last from February to December, so they are able to mate all year-round! However, during spring and summer, they tend to go into heat more often – every two to three weeks. This is because there is more sun during those months.

Turns out, a cat's heat cycle is directly affected by the increase in sunlight. This is because their brain's pineal gland secretes melatonin and when there is more sun present in their daily lives, melatonin is secreted less. This drop in melatonin production also triggers a cat’s reproductive hormones, causing them to experience heat more often.

My Cat's In Heat! What Should I do?

You can keep your cat from procreating by keeping them inside while they are in heat. You can ( and should) also choose to spay them as well. Spaying them when they are younger is best because it takes less time to heal, but older cats can be spayed as well.

Spaying also comes with health benefits for the cat. A spayed cat will also have a reduced risk of breast or uterine diseases.

The next time you see a cat in heat, don’t laugh, they can’t help their actions!


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  • Hi Bri~ Great blog! Sadly, it really is no laughing matter (and I know you don't mean it that way), but there are thousands of unwanted kittens born every year and just not enough homes for them. It is a serious problem and why shelters are left with the sad decision to put many down. There is just not enough room to take them.

    Spaying is something that should be done before a cat turns 6 months old preferably to hopefully avoid the first heat cycle. Here is a blog about spaying and neutering your pet if anyone is concerned about the pain it might cause their furry friend.

  • Thanks for sharing that, Victoria! It really is no laughing matter whatsoever. I've seen so many kittens at animal shelters and its sad. :(

    Luckily, my friend keeps her female cat strictly indoors. This way her cat won't have any opportunities to produce a litter! she does have a male cat, but he is neutered.

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