Cats are polyestrous, which means they go into heat many times a year unlike dogs that mate only twice a year. How long does a cat stay in heat is a doubt most new cat owners would like to know the answer for.
A cat can stay in heat for 7 to 10 days and this can repeat every few weeks until she mates. A female cat goes into an estrus cycle when she attains sexual maturity, which is mostly after she is six months of age.
The estrus cycle is different for each cat breed. Some breeds take a year to attain sexual maturity, while breeds like Siamese reach sexual maturity very early. To prevent unwanted kittens, many people tend to spay their cat as soon as possible. As soon as a female kitten reaches 8 weeks of age, she is spayed so that she doesn’t go into heat.
How long does the estrus cycle last?
The estrus cycle typically lasts for 7 to 10 days and within this time if your cat doesn’t get pregnant, then you can expect her to go into heat every 14-21 days until she gets pregnant or unless you get her spayed. When a cat is in heat you can expect her to get pregnant after she mates.
Cats also go into false pregnancy meaning they don’t get pregnant even after mating and under such circumstances you can expect her to go into heat in 30 days or so. If a cat doesn’t mate, then she will again go into heat within a few weeks.
How to identify if your cat is in heat?
The symptoms of a cat in heat can test your patience, which is why veterinarians suggest most cat owners to get their cat spayed before the beginning of the first estrus cycle. When a cat is in heat she becomes receptive to tomcats and mating. If you have a cat for commercial breeding, then such cats are called “queens”, but there is a planned procedure for breeding.
The behavior of a cat in heat changes drastically. She may behave in a different manner compared to regular days and this behavior pattern may surprise many cat owners. There is no need to get alarmed as this is a normal behavior when your cat is in heat. This strange kind of behavior is targeted to attract male cats in the vicinity so that she can mate.
The signs of estrus include aggressive behavior and a lot of distress. Some cats tend to be extra affectionate than normal and show their affection by rubbing their head and face against you, on furniture and even at the entry and exit points of the house.
When you stroke a cat in heat, she will immediately raise her hindquarters assuming a mating position with her head held down. A cat in heat is extremely vocal making loud yowls that are aimed at attracting the attention of male cats. She may mark her territory by spraying a fine stream of urine around your home.
A cat in heat will roll on the floor restlessly as if she is in pain and distress. No need to worry as it is a natural reaction. You may even notice her licking her swollen genitals. Some cats may experience a bloody discharge when in heat, though this is not very common. Get your cat examined by a vet to rule out any infections as discharge could also mean bacterial infections. A cat in heat can even loose her appetite and she will make all attempts to escape from your house for mating. She may even demand more attention and care.
If you don’t want any more kittens around the house, then it is best to keep your cat inside the house and prevent her from escaping. You can seal the cat flaps and keep the doors and windows closed so that she doesn’t escape out of the house. Even male cats can come inside your house hearing her calls. It would be wise to restrict her inside the house to prevent any infections from affecting your cat when she comes in contact with an affected male cat.
You can distract her by providing her with a new toy to play so that her attention is diverted from the mating thoughts and to divert her pent-up energy. Cat breeders ensure that both cats are healthy and free of infections before they are brought for mating this will ensure a purebred pedigree and healthy breeds.
How to control the number of unwanted kittens?
The only way to control the population of unwanted kittens is by spaying. Get your cat spayed as it is the only safe solution to prevent the kitten population from growing. The other benefits of spaying are fewer risks of mammary cancer and urinary diseases. You can spay your cat as soon as she is eight weeks of age and before her very first estrus cycle begins.
Get your cat examined by a vet and take his opinion before spaying. But, if your cat is already in heat, then it is advisable to wait until the cycle is over for performing the procedure.
Cats don’t need a litter of kittens to be spayed. Giving birth to kittens will not make your cat affectionate or alter her personality, but will only add to the population of unwanted kittens. Cats can get pregnant immediately after giving birth to kittens. The only and guaranteed method to reduce the distress of your cat in heat is to get her spayed.
How long does a cat stay in heat depends on how fast she finds a male cat to mate. If you don’t want any more kittens and want to end the distress your cat undergoes when she is in heat, then it is better to look for a permanent solution like spaying. It is the only guaranteed method to prevent her from getting pregnant again.