Do you have a cat in heat that also meows all the time? Or are you not sure how to recognize whether your cat is in heat? Today, we will inform you about female cats who are ready to mate, their especially extroverted behaviour and what you can do to make things a little smoother.
When are female cats sexually mature? On the trail of mother nature
Between the fourth and ninth month of life, female cats become sexually mature and are ready for reproduction. The technical term of it is estrous cycle. It takes place several times a year and depends on the season and the amount of daylight hours. From 10 to 12 hours of daylight daily, hormones are released in the cat's body and the organism adapts to reproduction. During this phase, the follicles develop in the ovaries and ovulation is prepared. In cats, however, ovulation is only triggered if they are also being inseminated. This is different with dogs and humans.
During the fertile period, cats increasingly release pheromones, which other cats can smell. Male cats then know exactly whether the female is in heat. This type of communication is also called chemocommunication. They use chemical markings from the body's own fragrances and reveal their state of health or signal that they are ready to mate. The heat in cats takes place about twice a year.
If the cat is not bred during the estrous cycle, she can get into heat several times during the mating season - even within a few weeks.
How long is a cat in heat?
One to two days before heat begins, the cat’s hormonal balance changes and the estrogen level is built up. Some cats can already show behavioural changes in this phase.
The duration of heat in cats depends on whether the cat has mated or not. In mated cats, the estrous period lasts between two and four days, but if there is no copulation with a male, the heat phase can last up to 15 days.
Then the willingness to mate decreases in the females and their extreme behaviour also decreases. In the period from September to February, the length of the day also decreases and the cat's sexual cycle goes into hibernation.
How does a cat in heat behave?
The behaviour of the cat changes suddenly. Cats in heat are focused on mating and they signal that pretty clearly. They roll around wildly on the ground, mew aloud several times a day, push themselves across the ground with their bottoms raised, are restless and want to go outside to mate. Some cats even distribute their urine in the flat and mark their territory. Humans are also marked by the cats – they rub against us and and leaving scent marks. Many cat owners also observe what is known as claw sharpening, for example on walls and furniture.
In addition, many cats are particularly cuddly and want to be close to humans. They also hardly show any play instinct, so they have to be motivated first. During the heat phase, cats can lose a lot of weight because they are less interested in food.
However, the behaviour of the cat in heat is largely related to its nature and personality. If your cat is generally relaxed, it will also behave calmer during the mating season. A temperamental cat, on the other hand, can turn into a tiger and even show aggressive behaviour towards people.
How can you calm a cat in heat?
Unfortunately, there aren't many ways to appease a cat in heat. The most effective method is still castration. If the mating season stresses both you and your cat excessively, neutering should be considered. Especially in cats that are ready to mate several times in the summer months without being bred, the extremely extroverted behaviour can be very stressful.
If your cat in heat eats little, which can happen quite often, then you can try to offer her tasty food and motivate her with her favourite snacks. Otherwise, severe emaciation can be life-threatening. You should also avoid stressful situations for your furry friend.
We have collected some tips that can help with the behaviour of cats in heat. However, they usually do not last long. Short-term measures to alleviate heat behaviour in cats:
- Don't keep male cats around: If a cat in heat perceives a male, its behaviour can change suddenly.
- Catnip has a calming effect and may relax your cat. Felines love the smell of the catnip and also like to eat it. A toy containing catnip distracts the cat and encourages it to play.
- Warmth: You can also calm down your cat with warmth. A warm grain pillow or an electric blanket set on a low level have a relaxing and calming effect.
- Distraction: Awaken your cat's playful instincts - you can try to distract them and keep them occupied. A scratching post is a must at this stage. This allows the cat to release its pent-up energy.
Cats in heat can be quite challenging for their owners. Unfortunately, there are only a few ways to alleviate their sometimes very extroverted behaviour. Your cat may be stressed, restless and even goes into hunger strike in order to mate. Castration is therefore the only option for particularly aggressive and excited cats to relax again.