Cats are sexually mature between 6 and 12 months of age. Also, called as “estrus cycle” a cat goes into heat when a female cat has attained sexual maturity and is ready for mating. The estrus cycle depends a lot on various other factors like season, daylight hours, food, age and the overall health of the cat. Cats are able to breed throughout their lifetime, but as they grow older the frequency tends to decrease. So, when do cats go into heat and how do you recognize the signs that cats are in heat can be tricky. As soon as they attain their sexual maturity both male and female cats are ready to mate. Female cats don’t go through menopause, but the frequency of giving birth to kittens slows down as she grows older.
What is the age for Estrus?
Female cats are polyestrous, which means they go into heat several times a year. A female cat attains sexual maturity by 6 months of age, but males take some more time to attain maturity. The puberty age varies from each cat breed. Siamese cats start calling at five months, while certain breeds attain maturity by six months. Some breeds may take a few more months to attain sexual maturity. A cat is said to be in “estrus cycle” when she is in heat and ready to mate. This is the period when a female cat is ready to mate and this cycle can last for 4 to 6 days or even more if she doesn’t get a suitable male for mating. The cat is in heat every two weeks and they can get pregnant any time of the year, but seasonal factors also play a crucial role. Cats are in heat more during particular seasons. In Europe they are in heat at the beginning and in the middle of the year while in the United States they are sexually active during the spring and autumn seasons. Domestic cats in tropical regions are sexually active all year around.
Do cats bleed when in heat?
Cats do not bleed when in heat because they do not shed the inner lining of the uterus. There can be some vaginal secretion, but no bleeding. Cats bleed from nose only if there is an injury. Bleeding is a sign of vaginal infection in cats also known as pyrometra and this condition needs to be treated immediately by a veterinarian. Bleeding can also be caused due to rectal cancer, poisoning or simply because of parasites. Cats don’t experience any pain when they are in heat, though their calling and rolling on the floor makes you feel that she is in discomfort. These are simple signs to attract the attention of male cats for mating.
Do male cats go into heat?
No, male cats don’t go into heat; they are sexually active when they smell the urinal or vaginal secretions that a female cat sprays when they are in heat. The male cats seek female cats only when they are aroused by this smell. Male cats fight with other males and the winner mates with the female. If male cats are spayed or neutered later, they tend to be very aggressive.
How to indentify if your cat is in heat?
Calling is a term used when a cat is in heat. When a female cat is in heat she tends to be very restless and is very vocal. They will walk around the house wailing or vocalizing. These sounds can be loud, distressed and last whole night, which may even disturb your sleep. Female cats show more affection than normal when she is in heat. When cats in heat, she tends to rub her body against your ankles continuously and this may go on even while you are walking. Cats rub their cheeks and chin where the scent glands are located onto furniture to mark their scent, this is more prominent at entry and exit points of the house. She does this to attract male cats and to convey them that she is in heat and ready to mate. The most visible signs of a cat in heat are when the female cat deflects her tail in a typical fashion. Female cats in heat will roll on the ground and wail for some time. This behavior is absolutely normal and there is no need to press the panic button.
When a cat is in heat, her vulva becomes swollen, which may cause some discomfort for the cat. The female cat tends to lick the area constantly, and this physical change is usually not visible. They are more adventurous during these times. If a male cat doesn’t come calling, then expect her to sneak out of the house. The long howling noises are meant to attract male cats in the vicinity. Some female cats are “silent callers” and you won’t even know the signs. If you don’t want your cat to get pregnant then, close the cat flap so that male cats don’t enter the house. If you don’t want any more kittens the best thing would be to get your female cat spayed. This will ensure that there is no more “calling” and there are no unwanted kittens brought into this world. A cat that has given birth can go into heat within seven to 10 days after the delivery, but generally this will take a minimum of four weeks time.
When does a cat go into heat is slightly complicated to understand for new cat owners, but with experience you will know the symptoms. Understanding the reproductive cycle of your female cat will help in overcoming the anxiety. Since cats are polyestrous, they go into heat many times a year. They mate in certain seasons, although they may go into heat many times a year and produce litter at any time of the year. Though spring is the most preferred time for mating, but this can change according to the region. Identifying the time when your cat is in heat can be difficult, but with experience you can study the above said symptoms and prepare well in advance.