All female cats will naturally go through a heat cycle if they have not been spayed. This heat cycle is referred to as oestrous and it indicates that a cat is capable of breeding. There are a few key indications that a cat may be in heat and it is useful for cat owners who may be otherwise wondering why their cat’s behaviour has changed to recognize these things.
Female cats naturally go into their first heat cycle at about six months of age, but it may occur anywhere between four and 12 months of age depending on a cat’s breed, health, and the time of year. This first heat cycle is associated with puberty and a cat can get pregnant during any of its heat cycles, including the first one. Cats go into heat on a seasonal schedule. A cat is usually in heat for about a week and if it doesn’t mate, it will go out of heat and then come back into heat again a week or so later. This can occur throughout the breeding season.
Unlike a dog, cats do not show very obvious physical signs when they are in heat. Behavioural signs such as these are more the norm for a cat.
Crying, meowing, and yowling are all often loudly heard from a cat in heat. These vocalizations are to get attention and let other cats know that they are in heat.
In addition to the noises, a cat in heat will also seek out attention and affection from its owner and other people. They love to be pet and stroked, especially down their backs and hindquarters. When pet, a cat in heat will often wiggle its hind end, its legs may tap dance, and its tail will be held high into the air. It may also rub its face on its owner and furniture excessively to spread its scent.
Other signs that a cat is in heat include it rolling on the floor, begging to go outside by scratching at the door and even spraying urine. A cat will back up to a wall or other vertical object, wiggle its hind end, and spray urine to let other cats know it is in heat. A rush in hormones during the heat cycle causes a cat to have all these exaggerated behaviours and they stop once a cat is no longer in heat.
Getting a cat spayed is the best way to prevent or eliminate these unwanted behaviours. This will of course also ensure the cat never goes into heat again and avoids the unwanted behaviours that go along with it. Veterinarians will want to wait until the current heat cycle has finished due to the increased risk of surgical bleeding during the procedure.
**Information courtesy of https://www.thesprucepets.com/