Characteristics of heat in cats

Reproduction in both male and female cats is a source of doubts and concerns for caregivers. The changes in behavior that the heat period entails imply problems that affect coexistence, in addition to the possibility of increasing, uncontrollably, the feline population.

If you want to know what the usual behavior is in these periods, how you should act and what you should do to prevent them from having offspring, we will explain it to you.

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Zeal in male cats

Males reach sexual maturity around 5-6 months of age. From that moment they will be fertile throughout their lives and this will lead them to mark their territory and seek to get closer to females that are in heat.

We will know that the cat marks because, instead of urinating inside the litter box, it will try to leave its urine in points that it considers strategic and preferably vertically. We will distinguish this undue elimination from that produced by stress because in the marking the urine stream comes out as a spray, oriented and in small quantities. The smell is intense and very unpleasant .

If the cat has access to the outside, it can return from its walks with injuries resulting from fights with other males when disputing the same territory or from encounters with cats when attempting or consummating copulation.

The wounds can be serious and, in addition, the cat could contract diseases such as feline immunodeficiency , an incurable viral pathology . If the cat does not go outside, in this period it will try to escape.


The zeal of the cats

Like males, female cats usually reach sexual maturity around 5-6 months of life, although it depends on the amount of light, since this influences the onset and duration of heat.

As soon as the days start to get longer and until they get shorter again, the cat will be in heat , that is, it will be able to reproduce practically throughout the year. Since its gestation lasts about two months, a cat may have 2-3 litters each year .

If in each one of them there are 3-5 kittens that, in turn, will be fertile in a few months, the problem of existing feline overpopulation is understood. In addition, the cat in heat shows behaviors that will complicate coexistence at home, such as the following:

  • Loud and insistent meows, especially at night.
  • Marking, that is, elimination of urine outside the sandbox and, in some cases, more times than usual.
  • Affectionate attitudes manifested by rubbing against objects or people, especially the face and neck. On the contrary, there are cats that are aggressive.
  • Posture from the chest to the ground and raised pelvis with exhibition of the genitals and lateral displacement of the tail.
  • Alterations in appetite.


Particularities in the zeal of cats

Cats are seasonal polyestric, which means that, during the entire annual period of sunlight, they will have one heat after another . Each one will last about seven days and will be repeated every fifteen or so.

In addition, ovulation is induced, which implies that the ovum comes out when it receives a stimulus, which is usually the copulation itself.

The cat in heat does not present any bleeding so, if we observe it, we must go to the vet, since it could be an infection or tumor. If a cat in heat has access to the outdoors, it is more than likely that she will return home pregnant.

Risks of heat in kittens

In addition to the possibility of bringing a huge number of new kittens into the world, the effect of hormones is related to the appearance of pathologies. The most common are breast tumors and pyometra, which is a uterine infection .

Tumors must be removed. Many are malignant, producing metastases mainly in the lungs. Pyometra can begin with nonspecific symptoms such as fever or loss of appetite. There is an open and a closed presentation. In the first case we will observe a bloody and purulent discharge coming out of the vulva.

On the other hand, in closed pyometra all secretions accumulate inside the uterus and this can rupture and cause peritonitis . The most recommended treatment to avoid these pathologies is sterilization .


Control of heat in felines

To avoid the zeal of our cat, always following the veterinarian’s prescription, we can administer drugs. The problem is that they have side effects as important as breast tumors and pyometra, which we have mentioned.

As a result, we may use them once or twice as an emergency but cannot be recommended for lifetime use. The definitive option is sterilization .

Sterilization, the most recommended solution


Continuous meowing and improper disposal encourage many caregivers to spay their cats . Others operate as part of responsible tenure, to avoid unwanted litters or health problems.

It is a definitive solution that can be adopted from 4-5 months of the animal’s life . It consists of the removal of the testicles in the male and the ovaries and uterus, or only the ovaries, in the females. Without the presence of these organs, the hormonal stimulus that triggers heat does not occur, nor, therefore, any of its consequences.

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