How Long are Cats in Heat? Stages and Signs

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Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Aftab Tariq

How long are cats in heat? If you have a female cat, your vet might have talked to you about spaying her. But if you found a stray cat and couldn’t spay her in time, you might wonder how long this period lasts.

How Long are Cats in Heat

Usually, cats are in heat for about seven days, but it can last anywhere from 3 to 20 days. This usually happens between February and October, and it can happen a few times a year. During this time, your cat might act differently than usual. Let’s learn more about what happens when a cat goes into heat.

When Do Cats go into Heat? Is there a Specific Time for Breeding?

The amount of sunlight during the day affects when cats become grown-up. Cats usually start feeling like having babies when there are 14-16 hours of sunlight each day. This happens from around January to October in places like the northern part of the world.

How Long is a Cat in Heat for the First Time?

How Long are Cats in Heat

A cat’s first heat occurs when she reaches puberty, typically between the ages of six to 10 months. Her estrus cycle typically spans four to five days. Unless she becomes pregnant during this time, she will experience heat again roughly every two to three weeks.

How often do Cats Go into Heat After the First Time?

After female cats start their reproductive cycles, they can go into heat every 2-3 weeks. Cats are able to have several cycles during their breeding season, which usually occurs in warmer weather with longer daylight hours.

How to Tell if a Cat is in Heat for the First Time?

Signs that a cat is in heat for the first time include:

  • Increased vocalizations
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive affection
  • Spraying or marking
  • Excessive grooming of the genital area
  • Change in appetite
  • Assuming mating position when petted.

How Long are Cats in Heat for and How Often?

How Long are Cats in Heat

Female cats typically exhibit signs of being in heat for about 7 days if they don’t mate. However, if they do mate and ovulate, the signs usually subside within 24 to 48 hours. The length of the heat cycle can vary, lasting anywhere from 2 to 19 days.

Cats are polyestrous, meaning they can go into heat multiple times a year and have several opportunities to get pregnant annually. They can go into heat every two to three weeks, especially during times of longer daylight hours, which often corresponds to spring and summer months.

What Are the Signs of a Cat in Heat?

When a female cat is in heat, her behavior might change in several ways:

  • She may meow loudly and frequently.
  • She might become more affectionate, rubbing against people or objects more often.
  • There might be instances of urine spraying.
  • She may scratch at doors or windows, trying to escape outside.
  • She may raise her hindquarters and move her tail in a way that signals she is ready to mate with male cats.

Stages of Heat in Female Cats

During a cat’s heat cycle stages, there are five phases:

Proestrus: This phase lasts only one to two days, and usually, there’s no change in the cat’s behavior.

Estrus (Heat): This phase lasts around seven days on average but can range from 2 to 19 days. During this time, your cat’s behavior may change, and she’ll be open to mating with male cats, which could lead to pregnancy.

Interestrus: If a cat doesn’t ovulate, this phase happens. It lasts 13 to 18 days until proestrus starts again.

Diestrus: This phase happens after a cat ovulates, which occurs when she mates with a male cat.

Anestrus: This phase is when there’s no heat cycle at all. It might happen because of fewer daylight hours, but indoor cats with constant exposure to light might not experience it.

When Can Female Cats Become Pregnant?

How Long are Cats in Heat

Female cats usually have their first heat cycle between 6 to 9 months of age, although it can start as early as 4 months or as late as 12 months. Cats undergo their heat cycle only once they reach sexual maturity, typically around the age of four months.

Short-haired breeds tend to enter their heat cycles earlier, while long-haired or larger breeds may not exhibit signs until they are approximately 18 months old.

How to Stop Your Cat From Entering Heat

The best way to stop your cat from going into heat and getting pregnant is by having her spayed. This means having her ovaries and uterus surgically removed.

Note: The duration of a cat’s heat cycle varies, typically lasting from 2 to 19 days. Recognizing the signs is crucial for managing their reproductive health. For personalized guidance, consult a veterinarian.

Frequently Asked Question

Do Cats Bleed When in Heat?

No, cats do not typically bleed when they are in heat. Unlike some other mammals, such as humans, cats do not have a menstrual cycle with bleeding. Instead, during the heat cycle, female cats may exhibit behaviors like increased vocalization, restlessness, and mating behaviors, but bleeding is not a common characteristic of feline estrus.

How to Calm a Cat in Heat?

To calm a cat in heat:

  1. Create a calm space.
  2. Give attention and love.
  3. Offer toys for distraction.
  4. Use calming products.
  5. Ask a vet for help if needed.

How Long are Cats in Heat for the First time Female?

Female cats usually go into heat for the first time when they’re around 5 to 9 months old. Their heat cycle typically lasts about 1 to 2 weeks. During this time, they may show signs like being more vocal, restless, and affectionate.

How Long are Cats in Heat Male?

Male cats can start breeding as soon as they reach puberty, which can be as early as 4 months old. Unlike female cats, they do not experience heat cycles, and as a result, they are consistently on the lookout for potential mates.

How Long are Cats in Heat after Giving Birth?

Cats can go into heat as soon as a week after giving birth, although it’s more common for them to resume heat cycles after weaning their kittens, which typically occurs around 6 to 8 weeks postpartum.

How Long are Cats in Heat after Mating?

After mating, female cats typically remain in heat for about 24 to 48 hours. If they successfully mate and ovulate, the signs of heat will generally subside within this timeframe.


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Aftab Tariq

I am a dedicated content writer with more than five years of experience, particularly skilled in the art of storytelling. My writing journey commenced during my college years, where I pursued journalism and unearthed my talent for creating captivating narratives. Protection Status