Do cats have periods when in heat? No, cats undergo a monthly cycle, but they do not experience periods as humans do. The presence of blood during this time of the month is a red flag. Bleeding indicates that something is wrong with their body.
Exploring the process of heat cycles in cats gives you a clearer picture of why they do not have periods.
What is Oestrus in Cats?
Oestrus in cats is also known as heat cycles. These are the times when female cats are sexually receptive and ready to bear a litter of kittens. This natural body process in dams is akin to the menstrual cycles that female humans experience.
When Do Cats Go Into Heat?
Female cats go into their very first heat cycle when they are young, approximately 6 months of age. However, it can happen earlier in some young cats, typically around 4 to 5 months old.
Others tend to be late bloomers. It could take up to a year for them to reach sexual maturity.
How Often Do Cats Go Into Heat?
Female cats can go into heat multiple times because they are polyoestrous animals. Generally, they go into heat every 14 to 21 days throughout a breeding season.
However, the frequency of oestrus in cats is not set in stone. Certain geographical and environmental factors can affect it, such as:
Warmth and sunlight can trigger heat cycles in felines. Thus, female cats situated in tropical areas are prone to experiencing oestrus cycles for the entire year.
On the other hand, female cats living in the northern hemisphere usually have breeding seasons around early winter to late autumn.
- Daylight HoursIncreased daylight hours will cause felines to be in heat regularly. Indoor female cats are no exception to this phenomenon due to their constant exposure to artificial light.
What Age Do Cats Have Periods?
Cats do not experience periods. In fact, bleeding during heat cycles is concerning.
Many mammals, including humans, shed their uterine lining outside the body during menstrual cycles. However, it is a different case for cats.
During oestrus cycles, reabsorbing the uterus lining is a normal body process in cats. Thus, you will not see any cat period blood when your feline friend is in heat.
Some worried cat owners ask: “Why do cats bleed when in heat sometimes?” Cat bleeding during oestrus is not a good sign. Many types of feline ailments can cause this symptom including:
- Uterine infections
- Cancerous tumours
Contact your vet if bleeding occurs in your cat in heat. The sooner you get her condition checked, the higher the chances of resolving it quickly.
Do Cats Have Periods Every Month When They Are in Heat?
No, cats do not have periods every month when they are in heat. Domesticated female cats are induced ovulators. This means they need to be physically stimulated by male cats to ovulate.
Their hormones only serve to entice mating, not induce menstruation. Some big feline species also belong to this category, such as tigers and cheetahs.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are spontaneous ovulators. Hormones initiate their ovulation, leading them to have periods. Humans and other big cats, like lions and leopards, are a part of this group.
Do Cats Get Period Cramps?
No, cats do not get period cramps because they are not capable of menstruating.
If you are worried about why your pet is meowing loudly when in heat, it is not due to dysmenorrhea. Female and male cats use noisy vocalisations to attract mates during the breeding season.
How Long Do Heat Cycles Last in Cats?
The heat cycles in cats can go anywhere from 1 to 21 days, with an average length of 7 days. After successful mating, oestrus cycles eventually stop within 1 to 2 days.
If conception does not occur, a cat’s heat will temporarily stop for around 7 days. In some cases, it can go on for 2 to 19 days.
Afterwards, she will go into heat once again, which recurs every 2 to 3 weeks. This entire process continues unless she gets pregnant or gets spayed.
What Are the Signs of a Heat Cycle in Cats?
The most obvious signs of a heat cycle in cats are sudden behavioural changes. Oestrus causes a feline’s hormones to surge significantly. As a result, they develop a strong instinct to breed, making them very restless.
A cat in season will begin to exhibit the following signs:
- Rolling on the floor
- Spraying urine
- Incessant meowing
- Licking the genitals
- Becoming more affectionate
- Constantly seeking attention
It is common for female cats in heat to escape the house in search of a mate. Thus, always double-check the rooms in your home. Make sure there are no concealed passageways where your pet can sneak out.
Help ease your cat’s discomfort by increasing your playtime sessions. This will serve as a healthy outlet for her pent-up energy and also distract her from running away.
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When Can Pregnancy Occur During the Heat Cycle in Cats?
Pregnancy can occur during the heat cycle in cats after multiple matings. Within 24 hours, female cats in heat will start to ovulate after copulating with 3 to 4 tomcats. Around this time, the conception of kittens may happen.
Keep in mind that a litter of kittens can be fathered by different male cats.
Many cats are capable of conceiving kittens before reaching adulthood. Spaying should be carried out as soon as they turn 6 months old unless they are kept for breeding purposes.
Getting a cat spayed will help mitigate the issues of unwanted pregnancies and feline overpopulation.
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Should I Let My Cat Go Through a Heat Cycle Before Spaying?
No, do not wait for your cat to go through her heat cycle before spaying. Waiting for her to experience her first heat before getting her fixed leaves her vulnerable to accidental mating with male cats. It also increases the risk of mammary tumours.
Can Spayed Cats Go Into Heat?
Yes, some spayed cats can go into heat, but it is a rare occurrence. Removal of a female cat’s ovaries stops the production of oestrogen, thereby permanently halting her heat. However, certain health conditions can trigger oestrus again, such as:
- Ovarian remnant syndrome (ORS): This condition results from remnant ovarian tissue, which encourages oestrogen production.
- Adrenal tumours: The abnormal growth of tumours on the adrenal glands stimulates the production of sex hormones.
- Stump pyometra: An infection of the uterine tissue reactivates the production of hormones controlling the oestrous cycle.
All of them can be treated through surgery and medications. Fortunately, the risk of these health issues developing after spaying is low. Do not let it discourage you from getting your female cat spayed.
FAQs About Heat Cycles in Cats
1. What Is Silent Heat in Cats?
Silent heat in cats refers to the occurrence of heat without its usual symptoms. Felines that experience this type of heat do not exhibit any changes in behaviour. However, they are receptive to mating and can get pregnant.
Silent heat commonly happens to felines belonging to the lower social hierarchy of catdom.
2. Is It Painful for a Cat to Be In Heat?
It is not painful for a cat to be in heat. However, your feline friend may feel a certain level of discomfort due to the hormone surges in her body.
3. Do Female Cats Enjoy Mating?
No, female cats do not enjoy mating. Male felines have barbed reproductive organs that scratch the genitals of females. This makes mating sessions a painful process for them.
4. What Not to Do When Your Cat Is in Heat?
When your cat is in heat, do not invade her personal space unless she allows you to. Let her have some alone time for herself, as going through oestrus can make her grumpy or aggressive.
Always remember that your cat has no control over a natural body process. Avoid getting angry at her due to the behavioural changes she exhibits due to being in heat. So scolding and shouting should be avoided.
Female cats do not have periods or menstruation when they are in heat. Noticeable behavioural changes are the primary indicators that her oestrus is starting.
If your feline companion is bleeding during her heat cycle, something is wrong with her health. Get her checked by the vet for underlying reproductive ailments.
Being in heat can cause cats to exhibit perplexing behaviours such as spraying. Know the reason behind it by reading our article that answers the question: “Why do female cats spray?”