First heat of a cat- Age, phases and duration

Surely you have verified that on certain days of the year your cat meows a lot and twists around on the ground. If you have no experience with cats, I will inform you that your cat is probably in heat . Yes, female cats behave peculiarly when in  heat . Heat is necessary in the reproductive cycle of the cat, and causes its behavior to change. The females meow loudly to attract the males, and when they hear them they will try to escape to reproduce and will get into fights if another cat gets in their way.In this article I will talk to you about the first heat of cats, at what age they are that first heat, the phases it goes through and its duration. Symptoms of female cats in heat

Even if you’ve never been around cats in heat before, it is very likely that you know that something is happening to your cat; the behaviors he uses to get the attention of a potential partner will get your attention.

The signs of cats in heat can be the following:

  • It is normal for your cat to be more affectionate, constantly rubbing with you, or even with the furniture.
  • When you pet your cat, she may instinctively assume the mating position, with her head lowered and her hindquarters raised.
  • It will be more vocal, and its vocalizations will include loud howls to get other cats’ attention.
  • Your cat may spray some urine around your house, as if wanting to mark her territory.
  • Your cat may show a restless rhythm or spin constantly on the ground.
  • You can lose your appetite completely.
  • Insistence on licking the genitals, which are likely to be swollen. You may also notice small blood losses.
  • He may try to escape the house in his efforts to find a mate, he will scratch at the windows, or try to run out the door when you open it.


At how many months does a cat first heat?

Female cats enter heat for the first time when they reach sexual maturity. Usually this takes place  between five and ten months of age,  sometimes it can be earlier than 4 months or delayed until 18 months of age.

Some cat breeds have a predisposition to go into heat sooner or later. Most short-haired cat breeds tend to go into first heat at a younger age than long-haired cats, for example, Persian cats usually come into heat for the first time, no earlier than 12 months of age. age .

Keep in mind that  female cats do not normally go into heat during the winter . If your cat reaches 12 months in winter, she will most likely not go into heat before early spring.

Should you worry that the cat does not go into heat for the first time?

So what if your cat has reached the age of sexual maturity, but has not yet gone into heat? It is dangerous? Should you worry about it?

If you don’t plan to breed cats,  then  you shouldn’t worry  about it under any circumstances. Only spay your cat at an appropriate age, which starts at five to six months.

And forget about the lies of those who say that your cat should have a heat or a litter of kittens before sterilizing her. There is no scientific evidence to support that, even to the contrary, studies show that if you spay your cat early, the risks of developing mammary tumors are minimized.

On the contrary,  if you intend to breed kittens , you should pay attention if your cat does not go into heat at the expected age, and consult a veterinarian if you suspect that there may be a problem with your cat’s reproductive system.

However,  most veterinarians suggest that we should not be concerned if the cat does not go into heat until the age of 18 months  . If she still doesn’t have her first heaven after that age, some tests may be needed to assess your cat’s reproductive health.

Phases of a cat’s heat

  • Proestrus:ovulation begins, the cat is affectionate, but is not yet receptive. It lasts 1 or 2 days.
  • Estrus:we are in the typical  situation of heat,  the cat is sexually receptive. It lasts between 3 and 14 days, but on average  a week . You should know that the cat almost always has an  induced ovulation , that means that her ovulation takes place when intercourse occurs.
  • Interestrus:if ovulation does not occur, there is a space between two heats that lasts between 3 days and 2 weeks. That is why it seems to us that jealousy never ends, since there are cats that practically go into heat without interruption throughout the year.
  • Right-handed: If there is ovulation but the cat is not pregnant, she goes right-handed , and the uterus prepares for a possible gestation. It lasts about a month and is also called   false pregnancy  . Afterwards, the cat could re-enter proestro , depending on the time of year and the hours of sunlight
  • Anestrus: we would be in the period of sexual rest that can last between 45 and 90 days, usually coinciding with the months of October-December.

How long does the heat of a cat last?

The cat is a seasonal polyestric female , this means, that she has several heats in her reproductive season. Unlike dogs that have a “sexual break” of approximately 6 months, felines while their sexual activity remains (about 6-7 months) have an uninterrupted succession of jealousy.

Each heat of a cat usually lasts about 7 days , and can be repeated every 10 or 15 days.

How to calm down and what to do when a cat is in heat 

Is it difficult to calm your cat when she is in heat? You already know that the signs of cats in heat are hard to bear, so today I’m going to show you how to calm your cat down and make her feel comfortable and more relaxed during the heat cycle.

I list a series of things that you should do:

  • Pay attention to your cat. It is the most effective and necessary method to calm your cat during heat. You can talk to your cat, pet her, brush her, or leave her sitting on your lap. Sometimes even being close to you will make her feel more secure.
  • Play with it. It provides you both with physical exercise, as well as your attention to it. Also, playing with your cat has many benefits. It is best to use an interactive toy, that is, one that you can use with the cat. However, if your cat seems unwilling to play, don’t force her.
  • Provide a safe location. As much as your cat needs attention and exercise, it is a time when she may want to be undisturbed by other pets, children, noise, or even you. It is best to provide her with a good elevated location in the form of a cat tree, window perch, or just not disturb her while she sleeps on a sofa.
  • Veterinary assistance in the form of ovulation induction. In cats, ovulation is induced by stimulation of the vagina during mating. A similar result can be achieved through a veterinary procedure. This won’t stop your cat’s heat cycle, but it will delay the next one.
  • Herbal remedy. One of the most popular is the Bach flower remedy; However, keep in mind that this remedy is intended for short-term stress management, and is not the best for calming a cat in heat. Because it is a long-term stressor for a cat, and regular application of medications for long periods is never recommended.
  • Contraceptive pills for cats. These modify the feline’s cycle, avoid heat and, with it, a possible pregnancy. The tablets for the heat of the cats are administered, in most cases, weekly, instead of daily.
  • Contraceptive injection for cats. They are useful, above all, for breeders, who are only looking for temporary contraception. Unlike pills, with injections you can be sure that your cat receives the necessary dose of hormones. However, they can cause side effects on the cat’s hormonal balance.
  • Spay your cat. You will definitely prevent your cat from going into heat again. Also, there is no better way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy .

First of all,  no method of calming a cat in heat is as effective as patience . It is a natural process, and  your cat is pain free . Of course, you must be responsible and not let her have kittens every time she goes into heat.

Contraceptive systems for the heat of cats

Pills for the heat of cats

Putting your kitten on the “pill” is an easy solution if she cannot be spayed or if you want to leave the option open for future breeding. The progestin pills stop zeal for your cat, but takes effect should give you pills at a certain time of your cycle.


If you consider that you will not be able to control the times to give your cat birth control pills, not to mention the difficulty that this implies, you may opt for an injection that will prevent her from ovulating.

Side effects of both

If you decide to go for a contraceptive pill or injection for your cat, be aware that introducing hormones and medications into her system can have consequences. Pills and injections can cause side effects such as diabetes, liver disease, cancer, and infections of the mammary glands and uterine cancer. Less serious side effects of birth control drugs include hair loss and weight gain due to lower energy levels and increased appetite.

Sterilization of the cat

The benefits of spaying your cat include:

  • May you have a longer and healthier life.
  • Spaying cats eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, especially when it is spayed before the first heat.
  • Spayed pets are better and more affectionate.
  • Spayed cats tend to stay closer to home as they no longer feel like looking for a mate.
  • Spaying a cat eliminates the following drawbacks: Females in heat cry incessantly, display nervous behavior, have less appetite, and attract unwanted male cats into your home.

Excuses that we make and that we should avoid:

  1. It is better to have a litter first
  • Medical evidence supports the opposite. With each heat cycle, the risk of breast cancer increases.
  1. My pet is purebred
  • So unless you know that one in four animals is taken to animal shelters. There are too many animals and too few houses that want them.
  1. It is too expensive to sterilize a cat
  • The cost of sterilizing is cheap compared to the time and cost of maintaining a litter ensuring the health of the mother and kittens. A cat is about 9 weeks pregnant and kittens need to be cared for for an additional six to eight weeks. During this feeding time, the costs of flea control, deworming and vaccination increase. Finding homes for new kittens is not always easy.
  1. My cat will get fat and lazy 
  • The only way for a cat to become overweight and lose shape is through excessive feeding and lack of exercise. Once cats have been spayed, their metabolic rate is slower, so their calorie intake should be reduced by 25%.

Can it be sterilized while our cat is in heat?

During heat, the blood vessels supplying the ovaries and uterus fill with blood. In addition, these tissues can tear more easily and bleed more easily.

This makes surgery during heat more stressful than it needs to be and carries the additional risk of bleeding problems during surgery or during the postoperative period. Some vets will not spay a pet in heat and will recommend that surgery be scheduled a week or two after the cycle ends.

If a pet is spayed while in heat, the surgery takes longer and additional surgical supplies, such as gauze and sutures, may be needed. Medications used before, during, and after the procedure may be different than those used in routine sterilization.

Therefore, the cost of the procedure will be higher to cover the additional time and supplies needed.

If anything, talk to your vet about the potential risks and additional costs of sterilizing the animal while it is in heat.

Plan sterilization

Cats are usually spayed between four and six months of age . If the animal is spayed before the first estrous cycle, the chances of breast cancer are greatly reduced. Spaying at any age eliminates the possibility of cancers of the ovary and uterus, since these organs are removed during a typical sterilization.

The ideal age to sterilize is a subject of much debate. Talk to your vet about your cat for advice on the best age to spay. Most people agree that it is best to avoid spaying when in heat if possible. Spaying before the first heat is considered by many experts to be best for the pet. However, recommendations may vary based on your cat’s breed and size, as well as current research.



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