Female Cats In Heat

Mother CatA female cat in heat or estrus can be a confusing and stressful time for the new cat owner. A female cat can go into heat as soon as they are ready to reproduce. Going into heat means that the kitty has entered the phase of the feline reproduction cycle. This can be as early as four months or as late as a year. Cats can have several cycles per year and produce several batches of kittens every year.

On average a female cat can have 1 to 8 kittens per litter and 2 to 3 litters per year. During her lifetime, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of breeding cats and their offspring can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years. We will come back to this statistic.

Symptoms Of Cats In Heat

Cat hissingThe first thing most new cat owners experience is the yowling. This yowling can be quite loud and may continue all night until the cycle is over. This vocalization is necessary to attract a mate.

You will notice that the male cats in your house will try mating with the female even if they are neutered.

There is a possibility that the female will spray around your house as she uses her urine to attract a willing male.

In an effort to exercise her natural desire to mate your kitty may try to escape your house. This may start with lots of restless pacing. There can also be displays excessive affection and rubbing.

There can be excessive licking of the genitals. The genitals may be swollen and there could be a bloody discharge. If your kitty is constantly licking the genital area without the above symptoms it is possible that your cat has a Urinary Tract Infection. Please follow this link to my “Cat Urinary Tract Infections” post.

Duration Of The Heat Cycle

Your kitty will be in heat from a week to ten days. If she can not mate she will go into heat again in the next three weeks. This could turn into a constant event if the cat is not allowed to mate.

The Solution

Cat and kittensThe solution to your kitties heat cycle is to have her spayed. This is a major surgery and must be done by a veterinarian. This procedure is in fact an ovariohysterectomy and removes the reproductive organs from the cat. This can be done at any age. My vet will keep the cat overnight to check for complications. It is recommended to have your cat spayed before the first heat cycle. Check with your vet for the best advice.

This procedure will give your cat a better life as she will not go through the regular heat cycles with all the natural urges. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 90 percent of cats. Please follow this link to a Wikipedia page on Neutering.
I have written an article on what to watch for after your cat is spayed. Follow this link for the article Why Spay and Neuter Your Pets – What To Watch For.

Spaying is the ethical answer to the issue of unwanted kittens. Let’s review this statistic.

On average a female cat can have 1 to 8 kittens per litter and 2 to 3 litters per year. During her lifetime, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of breeding cats and their offspring can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years.

So many of these kittens are abandoned or euthanized. The number of feral cats is astounding and control measures are sometimes very cruel. We must remember that it is not the cats fault they are free and uncared for. It is the responsibility of society to prevent unwanted kittens by spaying and neutering your pets.

Some communities have through volunteers and support from veterinarians conduct TNR (Trap Neuter Release) programs where colonies of free cats are caught and sterilized and released back into the wild. These people also feed and shelter homeless cats to help them survive the elements. These efforts are usually volunteer funded and are in constant need of support. Please don’t hesitate to support your local group.

Outside Cat Shelters

Every feral cat appreciates a place to sleep. They can easily be built from material at any hardware store. Google can give you many ideas. Here are a couple examples from Amazon that will make any feral cat happy.

Some feral cats can never be domesticated and that is reality, however if you can get close enough it may be possible to trap them and have them spayed or neutered.

Frost Bite

Winter CatWinter is hard on all cats living outdoors. If it is to cold for you outside it is to cold for cats. This winter my little Roxanne escaped outside under the dogs legs. It was -32c with a wind. She was outside for 15 minutes max and had frost bite on her ear tips. I heard her crying from the kitchen. There was no permanent damage and I am more careful about her sneaking out. That’s how long it takes to freeze body parts when exposed to cold temperatures with a wind chill. Imagine what a cat with no home has to cope with.

That’s my story for today. We must remember that responsible cat ownership means managing their reproduction. Cat population are best controlled by spaying and neutering. Spaying and neutering also reduces your cats natural mating desires and gives them an easier life in the house.

The pictures I included in this post include a lot of kittens. The point is that kittens are precious and their lives should not be taken lightly. Every life is precious and as we must look after our cats in a responsible manner.

Please take a moment to visit my Cat Care Products page for something for that special kitty.


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4 thoughts on “Female Cats In Heat”

  1. Well Trevor, Another good article. Miss Kitty has yet to have her babies. We were told by end February. Getting close. Will forward pics of the bundle of joys 🙂

  2. Hi Trevor,
    Thanks for the new info. Hopefully she won’t spray… She cries a lot and her kittens seem to run away from her as she’s trying to grab them for a cleaning. Very funny to see them interact. The kittens are move adventurous and playful.

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