Unspayed female cats get to a fertile stage in life that extends into old age. At this stage, they experience changes in hormones that make them ready for breeding in estrus starts at around 6-10 months. And being excellent reproducers, they experience a heat cycle that occurs after 21 days, a time under which she can properly mate with a healthy suitor.
Sometimes it can be hard to measure a cat’s hormonal level at home, but you can easily detect that she’s in heat by showing the following behaviors.
- Loss of Appetite
The pet may begin displaying a significant drop in appetite, and truly, her mind will be focused on different activities rather than food. The cat’s pure instincts channel her bodily need towards reproducing instead of feeding herself. However, you must be careful during this stage and monitor her since the loss of appetite should not go past 14 days. Something else might go off when the pet doesn’t get back to the normal feeding behavior after the two weeks.
- Need to Escape
Again your cat’s instincts will drive her to run away past the door anytime you open it when in heat. Outside, she can meet her potential mates, and her desire to attract and satisfy her passions with the suitors becomes obvious.
At this time, it’s very rare for the cat to escape past 24 hours and for a whole week or more than that. Ensure you seal all the possible escape routes, then monitor the cat carefully. You can even confuse her with some fun to shift her attention from the behavior.
- Marking Her Territory
A female cat in heat, the same way her counterpart male cat begins spaying raised surfaces using her urine. For this to happen, the cat will go to her preferred area, move her quivering tail up, and start doing the rhythmic treading. This may look like a sign of distress to the untrained eye.
At this point, get worried since this is an obvious activity for a cat when on heat but might irritate you if you love your fixtures.
- Mating Call and Posture
The pet begins to vocalize noisily, and this “calling” extends for a long period until she mates. If she doesn’t find a solution, she starts developing a different mating posture, forelegs bent, head facing down, and hindquarters up to display her perineum. Additionally, she will raise her tail and hold it beside her stomach. This activity is known as lordosis posture, and once she gets to this posture, her hind legs move in regular intervals as if she’s walking in place.
- Too Much Grooming
Your queen may take too many sessions sucking her genitals even if blood is not present. By the way, according to numerous beliefs, any cat shouldn’t bleed while on heat. Unlike a human being, cats do not shed the lining of their uterus during their cycle. Furthermore, licking their private parts is a sign of a urinary tract problem that’s harmful when not taken care of.
When the cat shows only this behavior without any other symptoms of heat, make sure you plan a trip to the vet.
- Display of Affection
The pet may show some affection and decide to rub and sidle her hind part on your properties, other cats, on you, and other stuffed toys. You can differentiate this act from total restlessness, an activity that the cat may be in pain and needs some treatment. Also, she lifts her tail occasionally to assume the mating posture.
When in heat, the pet’s scent changes subtly, and she spreads this all over her surrounding to advertise that she wants a mate to visit her.
Those are behaviors to show if your cat is in heat. There’s nothing you can do to the cat when she wants her mate other than taking her to be spayed.
But here are few tricks to calm her and make her feel a bit comfortable.
Step 1: Isolation
Place your pet far from males once she sees them via the window, or even senses his presence. The cat becomes more excited and may end up running during this time. Therefore, it’s essential to keep the windows and doors closed, the curtains drawn, and the pet flaps locked, if possible.
Step 2: Physical Contact and Attention
Provide your cat or kitten with much physical contact and attention anytime she’s in heat. Doing this assists her in easing some of her restlessness and anxiety as well as calming her down. You can try brushing, cuddling, petting, and shocking, if she allows you.
Step 3: Giving Her Warmth
Some kittens in heat prefer sitting on a warm washcloth or wet towel or even a warm heat pack. Please be careful that the temperature isn’t extremely hot and never leave behind a hot pad beneath your cat. It might warm up and cause burns gradually.
Step 4: Play Music
This trick sounds quite uncommon, but most cats love listening to music. Play some smooth or classical jazz, then check whether the melodies seem to offer some calming effects.
Step 5: Clean The Cat’s Litter Box
Most cats love marking their territories, and that’s what they do when on heat to show their presence to males. By keeping the litter box odor-free and clean, you’ll encourage her to mark it instead of the rest of the house. Dot use ammonia-based cleaners as they can stimulate more spraying behavior.
Step 6: Catnip
Most cats are calmed using a catnip while on heat. But other cats don’t respond properly to this herb. Therefore, it’s vital to perform a trial with a little proportion to see if it can help.
Step 7: Organize an Extra Playtime with the Pet
Playtime is similarly essential. Your cat will be uncomfortable and restless while on heat. The physical exertion and distraction during the playtime is all she wants to relieve her.
Step 8: Spaying Her
One way to prevent a cat from going into heat is spaying her as a young kitten before going into maturity. You can do this while the cat is at five months old. The youngest you can spay her is around 12 weeks or at least when she weighs 2 pounds. Once you spay her, she won’t go into heat again.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.