If you have a female pet, keep in mind that the heat cycle can be more difficult than you think. When it comes to cats, it isn’t any different! From 5 months of age on, they can already come into heat, and this cycle can repeat every two months. It is a kind of situation that spayed pet owners don’t have to deal with. If you are interested in the subject and would like to learn how to take care of your cat in heat, keep reading!
What’s the estrus cycle and how long does it last?
The estrus cycle or heat is a period in which the cat is fertile, and she will look for some way to mate. There is a particularity about the cat heat: they usually have their cycle during spring and fall. The regular estrus cycle lasts between 8 and 12 days. If your kitty did not get pregnant during this period, the heat cycle repeats every two months. However, even if she gives birth, it is advisable to keep an eye on her, ‘cause she could come into heat in less than a month before delivery.
Unlike female dogs, the feline body does not present signs of vaginal bleeding when it is ready for breeding. That makes it a lot harder to identify the estrus cycle. For this reason, watch signs of change in her behavior – which you will learn next – to not misidentify the cycle!
How to identify that your cat is coming into heat?
As you have already learned, fall and spring favor heating. This happens because days become clearer and longer, favoring the beginning of the fertile cycle. From that time on, your pussy can come into heat every two or three weeks and she tends to start elevating her gluteus, as if she was ready for mating. The factors that influence how often she will be in heat are the warmer weather and the environment in which she lives. Hence, the ones that live in households tend to have more cycles along the year, since the house’s lightning and temperature are constantly altered by the owner – which does not occur on the streets, in contrast.
What is the heat like?
If your kitty has already had an estrus cycle before, you certainly have noticed! She will be needy, demanding attention and even “screaming”, which is hard to forget. This louder meowing is intended to attract males for mating. Her urine will also have a stronger odor, which is meant to make the males around her know that she is “available”. She may also elevate her hips during the day, since this is the proper position for mating. She will also rub against walls, furniture and people to whom she is close. And, obviously, she will try to go out whenever possible, to find male cats.
What should I do?
Some people recommend medication to inhibit the cycle, but it is a terrible idea! This typ of medication may cause several health problems to your cat, increasing considerably the likelihood of serious diseases. Some examples would be uterus and breast tumors, and infections. Besides that, the use of hormones may cause side-effects, such as intense unrest, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, diabetes, salivation, uterine inflammation, and even uterine rupture! Contraceptive medication, when used in about 10 days after the act, may cause complications, such as fetal malformation, mummification and pyometra (uterine condition) or induce a miscarriage.
Spaying is the best solution
After all, your cat will no longer have estrus cycles. The procedure is performed in a surgery, assisted by doctors and veterinarians, in which the cat’s uterus and eggs are removed. It can be done at any time you decide, preferably, before the first heat. Kitties can be spayed from 3 months of age on. Precocious spaying may also extend your pet’s lifetime! In case your cat is in heat, it is advisable to wait for a week after the fertile period to have her spayed. This is advisable because during or after the heat the risks of internal bleeding increase dramatically. In case you have doubts, ask a trusted veterinarian when is the best time for having your cat spayed.
Do I have to wait until my cat has its first kitten to have her spayed?
Many people wonder whether the cat should have, at least, one kitten before being spayed, because she supposedly would have a better health. But this is not a fact. Spaying is actually good both for you and your cat. As a pet owner, you will be better off having a calm animal with fewer risks of catching diseases.
How do I take care of my cat during the heat?
You can try to calm your cat during the estrus cycle. Petting and playing with her may calm her down, even If only temporarily. A more assertive suggestion would be resorting to pheromone sprays for cats, which can be bought on pet stores and even online, on Amazon. These sprays help minimize changes in behavior which are quite common during the cycle.
Pay attention to the risk of her running away
Speaking of change, it is important to stress that, although dramatic, these changes that occur during the heat are not associated with any risks to your pet’s health. After all, there is no connection between the estrus cycle and diseases. The greatest risk she will be in is of running away: that’s right! Most cases of cats running away occur precisely on the estrus cycle, due to their need to be on the streets. For this reason, it is important to plan methods to keep her inside during this time: keep all doors and windows closed and look for any holes or gaps through which she could escape.
Signs of pregnancy
Keep in mind that only one mating may not be enough to get her pregnant during the heat. It is during and after the act that her body will release hormones essential to ovulation. It is also important to be able to identify the pregnancy, in case it takes place. Hence, we have gathered a few tips to help you identify this situation. Check it out!
- In case your cat has been fecundated, her gestation will take about 63 days;
- Some basic signs of pregnancy are reddish and bigger nipples with a milky white discharge;
- Abdominal swallowing is a posterior symptom, together with the “nesting instinct”. In other words, it happens when the cat starts to prepare a safe nest to give birth, for instance: inside a closet, or where there are cozy clothes around.
If you have identified any of these signs after your cat’s cycle, take her to the veterinarian so he/she can diagnose her pregnancy and assist you in her gestation.
Well done, know you are well acquainted with the subject and know everything about your cat’s cycle! If you would like to continue having access to this kind of information to know how to take better care of your pet, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, so you’ll stay up-to-date with our posts!