If you haven't spayed your female cat yet, chances are you've been woken up at some point by them yowling into the night. While vets often recommend spaying cats when possible, some pet owners choose to wait for various reasons. Sometimes, it's due to medical issues. Other times it's due to schedule conflicts with the vet. Either way, a cat in heat can be a nightmare for first time pet owners.
What Does It Mean When A Cat Is in Heat?
When a cat is in heat, it means that they're fertile and ready to mate. Sometimes, this is also referred to as the estrus cycle. Normally, a female cat will begin their first heat cycle at around 5 to 10 months old. A cat's estrus phase wherein they call for prospective mates can last up to seven days. If a cat is not spayed or pregnant, their cycle will last about three weeks. A cat in heat will not be able to distinguish between parents or siblings. With this, you can expect that they can get pregnant accidentally if you are not careful.
How Do You Know When a Cat Is in Heat?
It's hard to describe what a cat in heat is like until you have seen (or heard it) for yourself. So, how do you know when a cat is in heat versus something else?
One of the easiest ways to spot a cat in heat is their excessive vocalization. For female cats in heat, wailing, moaning and meowing is their way of telling the male cats that they're ready to mate.
Vaginal Bleeding & Grooming
When a cat is in heat, it is common to find bleeding from their vagina. With this, cats in heat will often excessively groom their nether regions as well.
Becoming Increasingly Affectionate
Cats in heat often become very affectionate. In some cases, this manifests in persistent rubbing against people or furniture. In addition, they also tend to ask for attention and enjoy pets.
Begging to Go Outside
A cat in heat will become restless and desperate to find a male cat. For this reason, even happy indoor cats will do whatever they can to escape so that they can get a little action.
It is Possible to Mistake Being in Heat for Other Illness
Sometimes, it may appear as if a cat is in heat, but they are actually experiencing some form of pain. This pain can come from a possible illness that may need medical attention. If you are not certain if your cat is in heat or not, it is best to bring them to a veterinarian to check.
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