female cat heat cycle
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Female cat heat cycle stages | Symptoms indicating cat in heat for cat owners

Cats reach puberty on average of six months and that when they are first Estrous popularly known as “heat “cycle starts. It may vary with the breed; some might go on heat as early as four months like Siamese.

Environmental conditions can also affect the time and age when your cat gets in heat. According to the environment, your cat may get in heat late than other cats of the same period in a different environment. Long daylights arouse the cat’s reproductive hormones, and most cat cycles occur between spring and fall. Indoor cats are exposed to longer hours of artificial light and can behave heat cycles year-round.

A cat can be on heat for about four to seven days on average; it can also be on heat for three weeks. There are four stages in a cat’s heat cycle.

What’s the Meaning of Cat in Heat?

A cat in heat means the cats have reached maturity sexually; she is fertile and ready to mate.

Stages of a Cat's Heat Cycle


Female cats at this stage can attract males, but they are not interested in mating. It can last for a day or two.


After Proestrus, the queen now is on heat, and she is showing the signs and desires to mate. Once approached by a male, she is responsive to mate. She can mate with different males at around six times before she gets pregnant. The deed of mating impels ovulation. If your cat gets pregnant at this stage, she may have a litter of kittens from different fathers.


This is the stage between heats, this period is between two days to three weeks, and no signs show she is on heat. A queen gets in this stage if she could not mate during estrus or get pregnant. The heat cycle of Proestrus, estrus, and Intestrus can go on until the mating season is over.


This is the predominant reproductive stage of your cat. Estrus is absent, and your cat is not in season.

How long does a Cat's Heat cycle last?

Each heat can last from multiple days with a mean of six days. If the queen does not mate, get pregnant, or even spayed, she can go back to heat after a brief period. A cat’s complete heat cycle can last from one week to six weeks, three weeks.

Signs that Your Cat is on Heat

It’s not easy to know when your cat is in heat, but you can understand when she’s actually in the heat with a change in her behavior.

She Gets More Affectionate

You may realize your cat has suddenly become unusually affectionate. Your cat is rubbing against you more, especially with headquarters. Queen can also be rubbing against chairs, stuffed toys, or even on walls.

She Gets More Vocal

Cats on heat are more vocal with howling calls for a tomcat. It may go for several days and can be annoying. Her meowing may sound like she’s in pain.

Excess Grooming

Cats do not shed their uterus’ lining, but they spend more time licking their genitals when in heat. Her genitals may appear swollen and moist. However, cats also lick their genital area a lot when they have a urinary tract infection, which can be severe if not treated. It’s good to be vigilant with your cat. If it does show other signs of heat, then a visit to the vet is advisable.

Assuming Mating Position

When petting your cat, she will presume a mating position, bending her front legs, raising her hindquarters and tail to the side. When in this position, she will step in a rhythm as if she is walking.

Urge to go Outside

If your cat is an indoor cat, she will cry to go outside to find a tomcat. You will realize your cats run to the door every time it’s opened. This season can make indoor cats run from home for several days to a week. Close every escape route and ensure your windows are well closed because cats can become an escape artist, and a tiny opening can her pathway.

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Spraying your House With Urine

Cats on heat act like males; she will spray any vertical surfaces of her choice with urine. She will achieve this by backing up against walls or furniture, raising her tail, stomping her hide legs as she sprays. Her urine contains estrogen that will attract tomcats.

Low Appetite

Your cat may show signs of low appetite and eats less than she usually does. Her instincts are focused on reproduction and less focus on hunger and bodily needs. It should last for a few days, one to two weeks, until she gets back on her regular eating habits. If this does not change for some time there could be something wrong with her.

When Can My Cat Get Pregnant

Cats are induced ovulators. It means that they only release ovaries when they mate, ovulation can occur multiple times during breeding. A cat mate lasts around two minutes, and they can breed for three to four times within a day before ovulation occurs. If a cat mates with different males, she can have a litter of kittens from other fathers. After ovulation, a cat goes for a day or two before she goes out of the heat.

Do Cats Bleed when on Heat

Most cats do not bleed when on heat and those who do it’s usually a very light reddish spot. Typically cats do not bleed, and diseases like urinary tract infections and vaginitis can cause bleeding of your cat, and it will need urgent medical attention. A pregnant cat can also bleed due to miscarriage, and it can be a hallowing experience for your cat.

How often do a Female Cats go on Heat?

Cats are polyestrous breeders meaning they experience heat cycles numerous times a year. She may go on the heat until she is spayed or gets pregnant. After she has her litter of kittens, a queen may go back on heat from one week to a month after giving birth.

Do Cats Experience Pain when on Heat

Cats do not experience pain while in heat, many cat parents are worried when they see their cat getting hyperactive and suddenly. It is because your cat is on heat and has the urge to mate but cannot find a mate.

Do Cats Bleed when they are spayed?

When a cat is spayed, the vet removes her uterus and ovaries so she cannot bleed. If you notice your spayed cat bleeding, it could be a sign of bladder problem. Take her to the vet for treatment.

Do Cats have a period?

Many new cat owners ask this question either out of curiosity or understand their female cat’s cycle. Unlike human females and other mammals like elephant shrew, bats, and the spiny mouse go through a menstrual cycle where the inner uterus lining sheds for 28 to 38 days. 

Cats and other smaller mammals go through a cycle almost to period. The difference is that instead of their uterine wall shedding, it is reabsorbed in a process known as estrus and popularly known as “heat.” A cat can go on heat every month during the mating period.

Can you Spay Female Cat when on Heat?

Yes, a queen on heat can be spayed and get well soon without any complications. When she is on heat, her uterus becomes more extensive, and the blood vessels connected to the ovaries become congested and make the surgery more demanding than a cat who is not on heat. The process can be slightly higher compared to a cat, not on heat.

Do Cats stay in Heat after Mating?

After mating, the queen cat stays on here for two more days. If she did not get pregnant, she will get back in the heat and mate with tomcats and follow the same cycle until she gets pregnant or spayed.

Is there a Breeding Season for Cats?

Cats go in the heat and the estrus cycle continues every three weeks. Cat’s heat is triggered by light. If a cat gets from eight to twelve hours of sunlight per day throughout the years, she will go in the heat all year round. If she experiences less light during the day, her body presumes it’s not the right time for reproduction; hence estrus is not triggered.

Seasons are brought by where you live, people in the northern hemisphere may see their cats going in heat according to the weather seasons. Cats in tropical climates experience estrus throughout the year.

If your cat is an outdoor cat, she may not go on the heat even when exposed to artificial light for more than twelve hours. They will go on heat throughout the year for indoor cats because she is used to the artificial light.

Long-haired breeds experience anestrus more than short-haired breeds. There is no precise known cause, but it’s considered they could be genetically scheduled to enter anestrus in preparation for winter.

Do Cats Reach Menopause?

Unlike human females who at a certain age get to menopause and stop experiencing menstrual cycle cats’ estrus is a lifetime. As the cats get older, her health may become weak, affecting her fertility; nevertheless, her estrus cycle remains the same. An older cat on heat may look tired and exhausted. Cats can get pregnant even at the age of 15 years.

How Long Does Cats Pregnancy Last

A cat’s gestation period lasts between 62 to 67 days. It can be challenging. It can be hard when to know when your cat is pregnant until the queen is weeks into the pregnancy.

How Do I Prevent my Cat from Getting Pregnant?

One of the best ways to hinder your cat from getting pregnant is by spaying her. It’s not easy to know exactly when your cat will start estrus vets advice you spay her once she’s six months.


Should my Cat have a litter of Kittens before I Spay Her?

If you do not want to have kittens, then there is reason to let your cat have a litter of kittens before you spay her.

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When you adopt a cat, ask if she is spayed or consult with your vet to know if she is spayed. Learn about her heat cycle, the symptoms, and how to deal with your cat when she is in heat.

It may seem a challenge to take care of your queen when she’s in heat when you have no idea what to expect. Cats can mate with any male around whether it’s a brother, dad, or son, so if your cat is not spayed and there is a male around, she can mate even if it’s a brother.

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