If you are thinking about getting a female cat that has not been spayed, there are some things that are best to be prepared for so that you know what to expect.
Or, you may already have a female cat and notice that they are going through some changes that you are seeing similarities to having a period.
In this article, we will talk about if cats get periods, when they go into heat, and more about how their menstrual cycle works.
Do Cats Have Periods?
Female animals have reproductive systems that work in similar ways to ours, but that is not to say that they have periods per se.
In cats, these monthly periods are called oestrus but are mostly referred to as being in heat.
The way in which their periods are different is because they absorb their womb lining instead of shedding it thus not making them bleed like we do, but it can still be a side effect even if very rare.
Female cats that aren’t spayed go through this monthly cycle and will continue to do so until they are spayed or become pregnant.
In order for a cat to be able to release its eggs, they need to be mated with, and it can take three to four mating sessions all in the space of 24 hours for the eggs to be ovulated.
If the cat is a stray or has access to a lot of outdoor space, they will likely mate with multiple male cats which leads to the litter having different fathers, making them look quite different from one another.
When Do Cats Go Into Heat?
Your cat will have her first estrous cycle when they reach puberty which can be between four and six months of age.
Once they have had their first cycle, they will continue to have them during the breeding season which varies depending on environmental and geographic factors.
In the Northern Hemisphere, cats will have their cycle from January through to late November but if they are located somewhere more tropical, they are likely to have their cycle all year round which also applies to cats who live indoors.
If your cat becomes pregnant while in heat, the gestation period lasts approximately 65 days, during which time your cat will not go into heat.
However, after delivering their litter, they can go back into heat in just one to four weeks.
How Long Do Heat Cycles Last?
When you own a female cat that has not been spayed, you may feel like it is constantly in heat and there is good reason to feel this way because it can last from several days to two weeks and will repeat every two to three weeks.
Also, unlike humans who lose their ability to reproduce after a certain age, cats will have their cycle throughout their whole lives and in theory, can have kittens even when they are elderly.
This is one of the reasons why spaying your cat is beneficial as you won’t have to constantly deal with the effects of your cat almost constantly being in heat.
Signs Your Cat Is In Heat
Your cat should make it pretty clear when she is in heat, and it will be hard for you to not see the signs, especially if they are an indoor cat.
The cat will likely be very vocal during this time which can sound like a yowl, almost like they are in pain but don’t worry as it is a mixture of a mating call and a feeling of frustration.
The mating position is when your cat gets into what is called lordosis which consists of her head being down, bent forelegs, and her hind raised with her tail raised to expose the perineum.
Loss Of Appetite
Eating is probably the last thing on your cat’s mind right now which is why you will likely notice she is not eating as much as usual.
This shouldn’t last longer than two weeks, so it’s good to monitor it in case it lasts longer as it may be a sign that there is something else going on with her.
Similar to a male cat, a female cat in heat might spray her territory with urine.
Wanting To Get Out
Your cat will be wanting to get out into the neighborhood to find male cats to mate with so if she lives indoors, you will probably see her sitting, scratching, or meowing at the door.
If she has a cat flap then you might not see her for a while as she will be searching high and low for a suitor.
Grooming A Lot
Some cats will lick their genitals much more than usual even though there is nothing to clean.
If your cat is still doing it while not in heat, you should take them to the vet because it could also be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
Being More Affectionate
Rubbing against things such as furniture, doorways, and your ankles is her way of spreading her scent so that male cats can find her easier.
Spaying Your Cat
Having read about what it means when a cat is in heat, you are probably tempted to get them spayed which comes with a lot of benefits even if it means you can no longer breed from them.
Spaying your cat completely reduces the chance of them developing uterine and ovarian cancer.
You can also prevent breast cancer as it is the most common type of cancer in unspayed cats.
Cats that have not been spayed can develop pyometra which is a condition that affects the uterus, it requires surgery to treat but if unsuccessful is fatal.
Going through reproductive cycles causes the hormones in cats to change a lot which can impact medications to treat conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes.
If you do decide to spay your cat, there are different factors that come into what the best time to do it is and the best way to get a clear answer is to take your cat to the vet as they will know what is best for your cat’s individual needs.
Cat’s experience reproduction cycles known as estrous, but they don’t have periods in the same way that we are familiar with as they do not shed their womb and therefore do not bleed.
It also takes up a lot more of their life depending on geographic and environmental factors so if you feel that you don’t want your cat to be uncomfortable and frustrated for long periods of time, you can spay them and put an end to the cycles as well as eliminate the risk of certain health problems.