What is a Cat in Heat?

If you are wandering what is a cat in heat, you may want to find out about the symptoms and the cat's behavior. Female cats will be in heat and during this time, she may be fertilized by a male cat. The heat period lasts between 7 and 10 days.

When Does a Cat Come in Heat?

 A cat may come in heat once she is mature. Most female cats will reach maturity when they are 6 months old, but there are some breeds that mature later (at 12 months). After the first heat cycle, the cat may be in heat approximately twice per year. However, some cats may have heat cycles more often if they are not bred. The heat cycle indicates the time the female cat can become pregnant; knowing the symptoms of the heat cycle is important, especially if you want to prevent your cat from mating.

Symptoms of a Cat in Heat

When a cat is in heat, she will have different behavior and will display a series of symptoms. Just before the heat cycle, the cat can be more loving and she will often circle you asking for affection. However, this behavior will radically change once the cat gets her heat cycle. The cat will become distant and will not want to be patted.

The main symptoms of a cat in heat will be:

  • The cat will be vocal, and will call out to the other felines in the area. The meowing will be more persistent during nighttime. Once the cat stops meowing, it means that she has mated.
  • The cat may disappear for a few days.
  • Excessive licking of genitals may also signal that the cat is in heat.
  • The cat may refuse to eat and may even lose weight, because she is more interested in mating.
  • The cat will assume the mating position, with the tail raised and an unusual movement of the body, in a certain rhythm, just like during mating.
  • Urinating in corners; even though male cats are known to spray to indicate their territory, female cats in heat may do the same. The urine contains a number of pheromones, which will be a signal for the other felines.
  • When your cat is in heat, you may notice that many cats (male cats) gather around your house, as they sense the pheromones emitted by your pet.

Preventing Pregnancies

If you want to prevent pregnancies in your cat in heat, you need to keep her indoors and not allow her to have contact with any other cats. However, to make things easier, you can spay your pet and this will make sure that she will no longer have heat cycles and won't be able to have kittens. Spaying your cat will also have a few health benefits such as reducing the risks of reproductive system cancers.