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Home > Cats > How Often Do Cats Go into Heat? Signs, Facts & FAQ

How Often Do Cats Go into Heat? Signs, Facts & FAQ

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Dr. Luqman Javed

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While you love your feline companion, the last thing you want is a litter of kittens to take care of. However, it’s proven that if you don’t get your female cat spayed, she will most certainly go into heat, and kittens are a foregone conclusion.

You can expect your cat to go into heat around the time she hits puberty, provided she is healthy and daylight hours are long enough to trigger her heat cycle. Cats normally hit puberty between 6 and 9 months old. While this can vary if the cat is larger, it’s a good rule of thumb to follow.

The time of year can also affect when a cat goes into puberty. If you’re wondering how to tell how often you can expect your cat to go into heat and more, we’ve got you covered in the guide below, so join us.

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How Often Do Cats Go into Heat?

Cats are seasonally polyestrous. This means that when the season is right, a cat will consistently go into her heat cycle until she either ends up pregnant or the season ends.

Several factors affect how often and when your cat will go into heat. These include the following:

Factors That Trigger Heat In Cats
  • The cat’s age and size. Cats need to hit puberty before they can go through a heat cycle, this often happens when they’ve attained 80% of their maximum potential weight, at around 6-9 months of age on average.
  • The cat’s health. Issues involving the reproductive tract may prevent normal cycles or inhibit pregnancy.
  • Daylight hours. Cats are seasonally polyestrous and cycle when the length of the day (sunlight duration) is at least 12-14 hours.

Therefore, in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, breeding season for cats is usually from early January to late fall; this occurs primarily in the south. However, the breeding season might be shorter farther up north because the weather stays colder for longer in those areas. As you can see, there are several factors that determine when your cat will go into heat. There are, however, a few signs you can be on the lookout for so you’re not caught by surprise when it happens.

cat in heat
Image By: Faroe, Shutterstock

Signs that Your Feline Is in Heat

Being in heat can be aggravating for your female cat, but it can be beyond aggravating for you as the pet parent. If you’re worried about your female feline going into heat and want to know when to keep her away from any males in the vicinity, look for the signs below.

Signs of Heat in Cats
  • Unusual display of affection
  • Grooming excessively
  • Mating call
  • Assuming a mating position
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trying to escape
  • Marking her territory

These are the most obvious signs that your female is about to enter or is in heat. This is when you take extra precautions to ensure your cat doesn’t get pregnant if you don’t want kittens.

angry calico cat lying on edge of bed wagging tail
Image By: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

How to Stop Your Cat From Going into Heat?

There is no way to stop your cat from going into heat unless the cat is spayed. If your cat goes into heat before you can make her an appointment to be spayed, keeping her inside and away from contact with any males in your neighborhood is best. Consult your vet to see if your cat is able to undergo surgery or if you should wait. Keep her inside, even if you suspect she’s going into heat, and watch any open doors or windows because she will slip by you and take off before you know what’s happened. Make your cat as comfortable as possible when she’s in heat. Patience, love, and extra pampering can help you both get through it until you can get an appointment to have her spayed.

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Conclusion

Female cats go into heat at various times and for different amounts of time. You can look for the signs that your female is going into heat that we listed above. However, the best way to ensure you don’t have a litter of kittens in the future is to get your cat spayed as soon as she’s old enough. Make an appointment with your vet, and they can tell you the best time to have your cat spayed.

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Featured Image Credit: iwciagr, Shutterstock

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