Signs Your Cat is in Heat
My friend’s cat, Lily, was acting strangely a few weeks ago. She had jumped onto the top of their bookshelf and was meowing loudly while rubbing her back on the wall. She continued this odd behavior by rolling on her back from one end of the bookshelf to the other. She kept rolling faster and faster until she made a fatal mistake... Lily rocked a little too close to the edge of the bookshelf and fell straight to the ground (on her feet, of course).
I’ll have to admit, I laughed ...a lot... at poor Lily's expense. Little did I know, Lily couldn’t help her wild behavior. She was in heat!
When cats go into heat they make all sorts of strange sounds and body movements – it’s natural. Here are a few signs your kitten is becoming a cat:
- 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 and walls
- A mucus discharge in a light red color
- Licking their genitals more frequently
Cats start experiencing heat early, before they reach one year old. Just like in dogs, every feline breed will have their own time at which the cycle begins. Siamese may experience heat as soon as 4 months old. Other breeds may not start until 5 or six months of age.
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.
A feline’s heat cycle can last from February to December, so they practically are able to mate 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. A cats heat cycle is directly affected by the increase in sunlight. Their brain has a pineal gland that secretes melatonin. When there is more sun present in their daily lives, melatonin is secreted less. This drop in melatonin production triggers a cat’s reproductive hormones, causing them to experience heat more often.
Controlling a cat in heat
You can keep your cat from procreating by keeping them inside while they are in heat. You can also follow Bob Barker's advice and choose to have them spayed. Spaying them when they are younger is best because they will heal faster, but older cats can be spayed as well. 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 (well, only laugh a little), they can’t help their actions!
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