Although we sometimes talk about menstruation to refer to the heat period of cats, the truth is that their reproductive cycle has nothing to do with that of the human species.
If we live with a cat it is very important that we know the details of this cycle and its peculiarities. With information we can avoid surprises and the birth of unwanted litters. Do you want to know all the details? Let’s go there!
- You may also be interested in: How to know if a cat is in heat?
Do cats have menstruation?
No, as much as this term is sometimes applied, the sexual cycle of the cat does not include menstruation at all. The so-called rule, menstruation or period is a physiological process that women experience for a few days a month.
It is produced by the shedding of the lining of the uterus when the egg has not been fertilized. The external sign is bleeding. Cats, contrary to what happens with female dogs, do not suffer bleeding at any time during their cycle .
In addition, if we want to compare it with the cycle of women, the period known as heat would correspond, in this case, to ovulation, not to menstruation. Therefore, cats do not menstruate and, if we discover any vaginal bleeding or spotting in them, we must go to the vet.
When does heat appear in cats?
Female cats become sexually mature relatively early. Their cycle is influenced by the number of hours of sunlight, so not all cats reach this maturity at the same age. On average we can count on them starting heat around six months .
During times of brighter light, this period can be advanced even as little as four months. In addition, short-haired cats tend to mature earlier. On the contrary, in the season with less sun, it is common for it to be delayed until 7-9 months. Precisely the nine months usually mark the beginning of reproductive maturity in male cats.
They do not have a period of heat and can reproduce at all times, as long as they perceive a fertile cat. Long-haired cats can take up to a year to show their first heat .
How often are cats in heat?
Once a cat starts her sexual activity, it will be repeated as long as there is enough sunlight. We can count on about nine months every year. That is why it is said that cats are seasonal polyesters . They will usually show symptoms of heat for about a week.
They will rest 10-15 days and they will repeat the symptoms of heat. This way until the diminution of the solar light and practically during all the years that the cat lives. In Europe, for example, a cat can go into heat at the end of January and repeat it, periodically, until October.
Care for a cat in heat
The cat in heat does not need any special care. But we must bear in mind that living together during this period can be complicated due to the symptoms that it will display.
And, of course, we must monitor her and keep her locked up to prevent her from coming into contact with male cats . Otherwise there are high chances of fertilization and, therefore, of pregnancy.
How to avoid the zeal of cats?
Given the characteristics of the cats’ heat and the many opportunities they have to reproduce throughout the year, it is very common for caregivers to worry about preventing those fertility days from taking place. Many turn to hormonal methods that inhibit heat .
Of course, they must always be prescribed by the vet. But they present a major problem. Its long-term use has been linked to diseases as serious as breast tumors or pyometra, which is a uterine infection. Therefore, although they can be used in a timely manner, they are not a long-term option.
Spaying or, more correctly, castration is currently recommended . It is a surgical intervention that generally consists of the removal of the uterus and ovaries.
Benefits of castration
With castration the cat will not have heat and, consequently, will not be able to have kittens. In addition, it avoids the stress of heat and the discomfort of riding, since ovulation occurs after the painful stimulus caused by the spicules of the male’s penis.
Of course, it is a measure of control of the feline population that prevents the uncontrolled birth of litters. It also prevents health problems such as the growth of breast tumors or uterine infections.
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