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Feline Estrus: An Overview of When Do Cats Go Into Heat?


Feline Estrus: An Overview of When Do Cats Go Into Heat?


Feline estrus, also known as the ‘heat’ cycle, is the period in which female cats become sexually receptive and are able to become pregnant. This post is all about when cats go into heat.

During feline estrus (‘heat’), cats exhibit a variety of behaviors, some of which can be quite dramatic. This cycle can last anywhere from seven to ten days, but it can also be longer or shorter in certain cats.


When Do Cats Go Into Heat?

Cats typically go into heat or enter the estrus cycle between the ages of four and six months. This is the time when female cats become sexually mature and are capable of reproducing. During this time, the female cat will usually become more vocal, rub against people and objects more, and often become more affectionate.

RELEVANT: Do Female Cats Get Along With Female Cats?

When I adopted my cat Abigail, she was about 6 months old. She had been found on the streets of Philadelphia and brought to my vet. She was FIV positive so my vet had her in a separate location from other felines they housed who were abandoned.

I had recently adopted my cat Madison who was also FIV positive. I brought him into the vet for a check-up and that is when they ask if I would be interested in adopting her.


She came right home with us and within hours went in ‘heat’. I had no idea she was NOT fixed yet! I had no idea what was wrong with her. I called my vet in an absolute panic. Basically she walked around with her butt held up really high yallowing. It was not meowing, it was like a yaaaaaallllow. Very loud, and quite disturbing. She was definitely interested in Madison.

The vet took her back the very next day to have her spayed. Then she came back home and rested up. She was such a great cat!

How Do I Know if My Cat is in Heat?

To know if your cat is in heat, look for signs such as excessive meowing, rolling around on the floor, and increased urination. Other signs to look for include displaying a raised tail and posture as well as an increased desire for attention, affection, and affection from other cats.

To Spay or Not to Spay

It is highly recommended to get your cat spayed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of certain diseases. Spaying your cat can also reduce the behaviors associated with the heat cycle, such as excessive vocalization, increased urination, and aggression. Spaying your cat can help reduce the population of cats who are homeless or living in shelters with no one to care for them. Your cat will be so much more comfortable after being spayed, and so will you!

Overall, cats typically enter the estrus cycle between four and six months of age. Signs of heat in cats include excessive meowing, increased urination, and displays of affection. Spaying your cat can help prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the behaviors associated with the heat cycle.

Spaying Your Cat

Spaying your cat is an important part of preventing unintended pregnancies. Cats can become pregnant as early as 4 months of age and can have up to 3 litters a year, making it easy for your pet to become pregnant quickly if not spayed. Unwanted litters can add to the already large population of cats in shelters, making it even more difficult for them to find homes. Spaying your cat can help reduce the number of cats in shelters, as well as prevent unexpected costs associated with caring for a litter of kittens.

In addition to preventing unintended pregnancies, spaying your cat can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, such as ovarian and uterine cancers. This is especially important for cats who are at a higher risk of developing these types of cancers, such as older cats. Spaying can also help reduce the risk of mammary cancer in cats, which is the most common type of cancer in cats.

Spaying your cat can also help reduce aggressive behavior, such as territorial spraying and aggression towards other cats. Un-spayed female cats are more likely to display aggressive behaviors and mark their territory, which can be uncomfortable for both you and your pet. These behaviors can be reduced or eliminated with spaying.

Overall, having your cat spayed is a good decision that can bring many benefits to both you and your pet. Spaying can help prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, and reduce aggressive behaviors and territorial spraying. Taking the time to spay your cat can be a small but important step in helping your pet live a long and healthy life.

How to Handle a Feral Cat in Heat

Caring for a feral cat in heat can be a challenging task. It is important to understand that these cats have been living in the wild for some time and may not be comfortable in a domestic setting. There are a few steps you can take to make the process easier for both you and the cat. 

Reaching out to a local TNR (Trap Neuter and Release) organization in your area is highly recommended. They can provide you with tips and support in your area. Do not feel like yo have to handle the situation alone!

First, it is important to understand that cats in heat are more likely to become aggressive, so it is important to be extra cautious when approaching and handling a feral cat. Make sure to wear thick gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself. 

If you are able to capture the cat, you should take her to a veterinarian as soon as possible to be spayed or neutered. This will stop the cycle of heat and reduce the risk of unwanted kittens. 

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If the cat cannot be caught, you may be able to help the cat manage her heat cycle by providing her with a safe, quiet space away from other cats. Place food and water in a sheltered area, as well as a litter box, and make sure that the space is well-ventilated. You can also provide her with a hiding place to feel safe and secure. 

Finally, it is important to consider the safety of the cat, as well as the safety of any other cats or animals in the area. Make sure to keep the cat away from any other animals, and provide her with a safe place to rest and take care of her needs. With a bit of patience and understanding, you can help a feral cat in heat and provide her with a better life.

What is TNR?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a humane approach to controlling feral cat populations. TNR involves humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered by a veterinarian, and then returning them to their original location to live out their lives. TNR is the most effective way to reduce feral cat populations, and it also improves the quality of life for the cats.

If you’ve decided to take on the important task of TNR-ing a feral cat, you’ll need to gather some supplies first. You’ll need a humane live trap, which you can purchase from a pet store or online.

You’ll also need a hard plastic carrier to transport the cat to and from the veterinarian, as well as some gloves to keep yourself safe.

Once you have all of your supplies, you’ll need to set the trap. Place it in the area where the feral cat has been seen, and make sure the entrance is facing the cat’s den or shelter. Bait the trap with a small amount of wet food, and be sure to place a towel or blanket inside the trap to make the cat feel more comfortable. Check the trap several times a day, and once the cat is trapped, cover the cage with a light colored sheet or towel so the cat is less stressed.

Next, you’ll need to transport the cat to the veterinarian. Place the cat in the carrier, and make sure the carrier is securely closed. Monitor the cat while in transit, and keep the carrier in a safe, secure place during the appointment.

At the appointment, the veterinarian will give the cat a physical exam, spay or neuter them, and administer any necessary vaccinations. They may also give the cat an ear tip, which is a small notch in the ear that helps identify the cat as part of a TNR program.

Finally, you’ll need to return the cat to its original location. Open the carrier door and let the cat out, making sure to keep yourself safe. Once the cat is out, remove the trap, and leave the area so the cat can return to its den or shelter.

Congratulations! That was a big job.


In summary, cats typically go into heat twice a year, usually lasting four to seven days each time. Male cats will usually be attracted to the female cat in heat, and the female cat may become agitated or vocalize more than usual. It’s important to keep an eye on cats in heat, as they may be prone to roaming and certain health risks. Additionally, spaying and neutering cats can help to reduce the chances of unwanted litters and other health risks associated with the heat cycle.

We recommend getting your pets spayed and neutered.

If you have a feral cat situation, TNR is an option that can help your neighborhood, the cat and yourself!

Until next time, purr forward.

Additional Cat Health Topics

Can Cats See in the Dark?

How to Know if Your Cat is Too Fat?

The Second Life Cycle of a Cat: Adolescent

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