You may have heard people say that cat behaviour can change dramatically when a female is ‘in heat’. So what does this actually mean?
‘In heat’ or ‘in season’ is when an unneutered cat is at her most fertile – and therefore nature encourages her to seek out a mate, so they can produce kittens.
This can start happening from as early as 4 months of age, so it’s important to know the signs. You can read our advice below, but please also feel welcome to chat to Katie or another of our vet nurses.
Typical signs of cat heat
Cats can be in heat every 2-3 weeks, with each cycle lasting between 7 and 10 days, although this may reduce in winter.
The signs are different for every cat, but include:
- Increased noise – as she tries to attract a mate with a variety of loud yowls
- Increased aggression – what seems like play can take a fierce turn
- Increased affection – she may rub up against things, including you
- Increased self-cleaning – she may clean her genitals more often
- Escape attempts – even house cats will become keen to get out
- A new posture – treading with her hind feet, tail to the side and rear end high
What cat owners should do during heat
Cats in heat are keen for affection, so perhaps give your cat a little more attention than you might usually; and make sure she feels well looked-after.
In some cases, female cat behaviour can become problematic, particularly the increased aggression and noise. If this happens in your household, it’s best to consult a vet. It’s easy to book an appointment with us by calling 01604 478888.
Spayed cats do not experience heat cycles, so if you don’t wish to populate Northamptonshire with kittens – as many as three litters a year – it’s sensible to neuter your cat.