How Long Are Cats in Heat?

In unspayed female cats, a heat cycle is the typical cycle of reproduction. Here’s all you need to know about cat heat cycles, including how long are cats in heat, when cats get pregnant, and what to expect.

How Long Are Cats in Heat?

Ovulation occurs only if a female cat in heat mates, hence signs of heat will disappear within 24-48 hours following ovulation.

However, the average cat will spend seven days in “heat” (ranging from 2-19 days). As long as there are longer daylight hours, this cycle might repeat itself every two to three weeks.

Heat Cycle Phases in Cats

During a heat cycle, a cat goes through five stages:

Proestrus: Usually lasts for one to two days, with no noticeable behavioral changes.

Estrus: This period lasts an average of 7 days (ranges from two to nine days), and it is at this time that you will notice behavioral changes in your cat. Your cat will also be receptive to male cats at this season and may become pregnant.

If a cat hasn’t ovulated, she will go through this time. It lasts 13 to 18 days until proestrus begins again.

Diestrus: It is a condition that occurs after a cat has ovulated (it occurs after the female mates with a male)

Anestrus: It refers to the lack of a heat cycle. It can happen due to fewer daylight hours (housecats may not face this because there is enough light indoors).

When Does a Female Cat’s First Estrus Cycle Happen?

When cats reach adolescence, they begin their first estrous cycle. The estrous cycle is also known as the heat cycle in cats.

Sexual maturity or puberty begins in cats at the age of six months; however, this might vary significantly depending on the time of year or breed or even on an individual cat.

What Is the Duration of Estrus?

Each heat lasts several days on average, with the average being six days. The queen (an unneutered female cat) will fall out of the heat for a brief time if she is not mated during estrus.

As a result, a cat’s whole estrous cycle can last anywhere from one to six weeks, with the typical cycle duration being around three weeks.

How Frequently Does a Female Cat Become Pregnant?

Seasonally polyestrous cats undergo numerous breeding cycles throughout the breeding season. Geographic and climatic variables like temperature and the number of daylight hours will influence the mating season.

Cats in the Northern Hemisphere cycle from January to the end of the fall season. Cats who live in more tropical climates or who spend most of their time indoors, on the other hand, may cycle all year.

When Can Cats Become Pregnant?

The average female cat goes into heat (or cycles) between the ages of 6 and 9 months, however, heat cycles can begin as early as 4 months and last as long as 12 months.

Short-haired breeds cycle sooner, whereas longer-haired or bigger breeds may not exhibit symptoms of heat until they are 18 months old.

How Can I Tell if My Cat Is in Heat?

Cats in heat are known to engage in the following behaviors:

Vocalization:  When a cat is in heat, its vocalization goes into overdrive. To attract male cats, cats will wail, weep, and meow—often and loudly.

Affection: When a cat is in heat, it might be very loving to its owners. Cats enjoy being petted, rubbed and scratched while they’re in heat, especially on their backs and rears.

If your cat becomes more cozy and friendly than normal, it might be an indication that they’re in heat.

Urine: They spray urine everywhere possible to attract males. This appears to be another clue that female cats are in heat for male cats.

Rubbing: They start rubbing their face against you or other household things. Cats brush their faces on surfaces to disseminate their fragrance, like spraying.

If your cat rubs its face on your pants, sofa, or floor, it might be an indication that they’re attempting to disperse its scent as much as possible in the hopes of attracting a partner.

Their hindquarters are up in the air: Another technique to indicate that your cat is looking for a mate is for them to raise their tail end in the air and wriggle it.

Is It Possible for a Cat to Become Pregnant at Any Point Throughout Its Estrous Cycle?

When the queen is in heat, she can be bred at any moment. Cats are induced ovulators, which implies that the act of mating causes the ovaries to release eggs.

Ovulation takes three to four matings during a 24-hour period for most females. Cats may mate numerous times in a short amount of time, and it only takes a minute or two for them to do it.

During this period, queens may mate with multiple different tomcats, thus a litter of kittens might have several different dads. The queen will go out of the heat in a day or two after ovulation has happened.

How Long Does a Cat’s Pregnancy Last?

A cat’s pregnancy lasts from 64 to 71 days, the average being 63 days.

What Can I Do to Keep My Cat From Getting Pregnant?

The best approach to keep your cat from getting pregnant is to have her medically sterilized (ovariohysterectomy or spay) before her first estrous cycle.

Most veterinarians advocate having an ovariohysterectomy when a cat reaches the age of six months since it might be difficult to determine when the first cycle will occur.

Sources: 1, 2

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