At What Age Do Female Cats Go Into Heat?

A heat cycle is the normal cycle of reproduction that occurs in unspayed female cats. Heres everything you need to know about feline heat cycles and what to expect.

Proestrus: Only lasts one to two days; typically no change in behavior Interestrus: This period occurs if a cat has not ovulated.

Short-haired breeds will typically begin to cycle earlier, while long-haired or larger breeds may not show signs of heat until 18 months of age. The number of daylight hours typically has the largest impact on when cats will reach sexual maturity. Cats normally go into heat when there are 14-16 hours of daylight (natural or artificial).

During the estrus (heat) phase, a female cat may display changes in behavior such as: Placing hind quarters up in the air while flagging her tailsignaling she is receptive to male cats

What are the signs of cats going into heat?

She is more vocal than normal. Also known as “calling,” your cat may wail, moan or meow more than usual while she is in heat. ….She’s restless. ….A low crawl. ….Extra affection. ….Excessive grooming. ….Your indoor cat wants to be outside. ….Her tail tells a tale.

How long does a cat's first heat last?

On average, a female cat is in heat for four to seven days. However, her heat may last as little as one day or as long as three weeks.

What do I do when my female cat is in heat for the first time?

keep your female cat away from male cats..let her sit on a heat pack, warm towel, or electric pad or blanket..try catnip..use Feliway or other synthetic cat pheromones..keep the litter box with your cat.

What do I do when my kitten is in heat?

Extra Petting and Brushings During Heat Cycle. For some cats, a little extra attention may help ease the stress of estrus. Give your feline friend some extra attention around the home when she’s in heat, and you may find that it calms her down and keeps her stress levels manageable.

Most female cats will go into heat by 6 months of age. But certain environmental factors can cause it to happen more quickly. And certain breedslike Siamesemay go into heat as early as 4 months, while for other breeds 10 months old is a more typical age for going into heat.

The phone calls often go like this: We need to bring our kitten in right away. We are afraid she might be rabid! Rabies is certainly not something to rule out lightly as it is a very serious disease. However, when further questioning shows that the cat involved is a 6-month-old female kitten who has not been spayed, I can be quite sure she is simply in heat. But I understand the confusion. The behavior changes of a cat in heat are enough to concern any family.

Cats do not show the bloody discharge associated with dogs in heat, so the behavior changes may be the first tip off that your kitten has hit puberty. When a cat is bred, the pituitary gland then sends out luteinizing hormone or LH, which causes the ovary to release the eggs from their follicles.

If you choose to leave your female kitten intact, your veterinarian may be able to show you how to stimulate her vagina to cause ovulation. Cats who are left intact but not bred may have a higher risk of developing a pyometra or infected uterus.

All of the above terms are correct in describing female cats‘ periods of receptiveness to mating, but will be referred to as the more often-used “heat cycles.” The breeding season in cats is practically year-round, running as early as February, and as late as December, but in the western hemisphere, March through September is generally regarded as the breeding season.

No one can say with any accuracy that heat cycles are painful to cats; however from the calling (loud yowling) and other symptoms they exhibit, it would appear that they are very uncomfortable. Estrus: swollen vulva, yellowish vaginal discharge, mating occurs during this phase.

The estrus period length varies widely between breeds and individual dogs. For dogs that will be pets, it is recommended to spay them before the first heat, eliminating the risk of accidental pregnancy and reproductive diseases later on in life.

At What Age Can Cats Get Pregnant?

A cat goes through five phases during a heat cycle:

How Often Do Cats Go Into Heat?

If a cat does not become pregnant, she can go into heat as often as every two to three weeks.


When a cat goes into heat, her meow will sound more like a howl and she will be more affectionate toward you, other cats and even the dining room chairs, rubbing against nearly anything and purring loudly. She’ll hold her tail straight up and raise her rear in response to the slightest provocation. She may also spray urine and make a run for the outdoors—in an effort to find a mate—any chance she gets.

When To Expect Going Into Heat

Most female cats are at close to 80 percent of their adult size when they have their first estrus or “heat.” For shorthaired cats, that is generally around 6 months of age. Some kittens go into heat as early as 4 months, while longhaired cats may not have a first heat until about 18 months, though that is less common. Siamese cats are notorious for coming into heat at an early age.The estrus cycle in a cat is stimulated by daylight length — with 12 hours of daylight generally being the activator. Cats are classified as “seasonally polyestrus.” This means that a cat will have multiple heat cycles during the breeding season. For cats in the Northern Hemisphere, March to October is generally considered to be prime breeding season. Figure your cat will cycle through every 14 to 21 days from March to September or October, unless she is bred or spayed.

Breaking Down The Heat Cycle

There are four stages to the feline heat cycle.For the four to six days of full estrus or being in heat, your kitten will show some unusual behaviors, and some of these cause many families to panic. The meows become louder, more frequent to the point of being nonstop and very insistent. Think loud meows all day and night. While your kitten may suddenly become very affectionate, she may also grab at you with her claws out or bite if picked up. She will roll over while crying and may posture with her rear end raised while treading with her hind paws. Cats do not show the bloody discharge associated with dogs in heat, so the behavior changes may be the first tip off that your kitten has hit puberty.Cats are induced ovulators. This means your cat will not spontaneously ovulate. The stimulus of being bred causes the ovulation. Breeding or even an attempted breeding that failed to cause pregnancy will send your kitten out of heat. If she is not pregnant, this false pregnancy will last about five weeks and then she will head back into heat. If she is pregnant, she will deliver kittens in about 63 days.

What Causes The Heat Cycle?

The hormone sequence for the whole estrus cycle starts off when the hypothalamus (part of the brain) signals the pituitary gland to releasefollicle stimulating hormone or FSH. The FSH travels to the ovaries and starts up follicle production. The follicles then produce estrogen, which triggers the “in heat” behaviors. When a cat is bred, the pituitary gland then sends out luteinizing hormone or LH, which causes the ovary to release the eggs from their follicles. This is ovulation. Each egg can potentially develop into a kitten once the sperm of a male cat fertilizes it.The average number of eggs released is four, but cats have had as many as 18 kittens in one litter!The egg empty follicles develop into corpus luteum cysts. Now they switch over to produce the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that is essential to maintain the pregnancy. This is a rather complex set of hormonal stimuli and responses. Any misread signals along the way would lead to infertility.