Have you ever wondered if cats have their periods? Maybe you’re an owner of a female cat yourself, and wonder if she goes through regular menstrual cycles. Female cats do in fact have menstrual periods, in a way. Their periods are referred to as ‘estrous’, or the commonly used term, ‘in heat’.
Knowing more about your cat’s estrous cycle is very beneficial for both you and your cat. In this article, you will learn more about how it works, their estrous cycle signs, the pregnancy window, and the benefits of spaying them. Becoming more aware of your cat and her situation can save you both a lot of hassle and can prevent your cat from being at risk of developing cancers, illnesses, and unwanted pregnancies.
Keep in mind that unspayed cats are only able to go through their estrous cycle. If a female cat is spayed they are incapable of going through this cycle since they are no longer able to reproduce.
How it works
Unspayed kittens usually start their first cycle when they are around six months old. This can vary from cat to cat, it could happen earlier or later on in their life. A female cat undergoes her menstrual cycle every 2-3 weeks, depending on how much she is able to mate. Her estrous cycle can last up to 6 days, but sometimes longer depending on other factors such as:
- Whether they are mating ornot
Depending on these factors, a female cat’s estrous cycle can last up to 6 days, minimum, or even 2 weeks. For example, if she is mating then her cycle will end within about 2 days. If she isn’t mated within her cycle window, she will get out of her cycle for a short time. Environment and location fall in the same category, depending on the weather, her surroundings, and the amount of interaction she is getting with potential mates.
Signs a female cat is in her estrous cycle
Some signs that female cats show when they are going through their estrous cycle are:
- Urinating more thanusual
If your female cat is showing these symptoms it more than likely means she is in heat and is seeking attention from a male cat to mate with. It’s not common for a cat to bleed during this time, spotting can be occasional, but if she is bleeding excessively then you should contact your vet as soon as possible!
These signs are common and are completely normal. A female cat can be very moody and needy during this time. Female cats may also show their “mating stance”. This stance is normally shown with the female cat’s butt in the air and her tail moved to the side of her body. This is the mating stance that she will normally show during this time. Female cats may show alarming and weird signs when they are in heat that could be a bit overwhelming. This just gives another reason why spaying your cat can save you both the trouble of these awkward behaviors.
When a female cat is in her estrous cycle, she has not yet released any eggs from her ovaries. Female cats only release eggs from their ovaries when they mate. When a female cat is mating then her ovaries will release eggs and this is when her pregnancy window opens up. A female cat has to mate a few times before she is actually capable of becoming pregnant.
Cat pregnancies last for about 9 weeks and can get pregnant again 6 weeks after giving birth. When a female cat mates with different male cats within her pregnancy window, it is possible that a single litter of kittens will have multiple fathers. This is due to the number of eggs a female cat can release while ovulating and mating. A female cat can have anywhere between 1-12 kittens in a single litter.
Spaying your female cat
Unspayed female cats are able to become pregnant easily. To prevent unwanted kitten litters, spaying your female cat as soon as possible is highly recommended. Spaying your cat as a kitten prevents unwanted pregnancies early on and will not affect their health in any way.
Spaying your cat can be more beneficial than harmful in a number of ways. Unspayed cats have a higher chance of contracting cancers that can be fatal. Some other issues they can avoid after getting spayed are:
- Reproductive organcancers
It is recommended to spay them when they are around 5-6 months old. The earlier, the better, going through with the procedure when they are young actually helps them bounce back from it a lot quicker. This also helps prevent them from getting pregnant at such an early age which could potentially lead them to become ill. Make sure you are aware of the care your cat needs after her surgery, and that she is sent home with medication!
Another benefit of spaying your cat is preventing more kittens that will probably end up in shelters and unwanted. Around 530,000 cats are euthanized each year because they aren’t able to be rehomed and shelters end up putting them down. This poses an issue of overpopulation of cats that will end up being put down or ending up in the streets as strays. Please be considerate and smart, support shelters, and spay/neuter your pets!
Female cats tend to be a lot calmer than male cats. They are typically more independent and require less attention than male cats, generally speaking. This is unless they are showing signs of being in heat. Knowing more about your pets can be fun and more beneficial. Knowing what to expect when they are going through their estrous cycle is great so that you know what to prepare for. Learning about how spaying your cat is more beneficial than harmful could save you a lot of vet trips and money. Making sure your cat is comfortable and you’re aware is important to having a healthy furry companion!