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How Do Cats Act When In Heat?

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

Knowing the answer to the question how do cats act when in heat is important for more than one reason. Either you want more of those lovely kittens in your house or you only want to make sure about the opposite, being able to recognize the behavior that shows when your little furry friend is in heat and what to do about this is quite important.

While for the owners of male cats this isn’t a problem as male cats don’t go into heat – though they might still be going crazy in their behavior because of a nearby female cat in heat – for those owning female cats it’s a necessity.

So How Do Cats Act When In Heat?

Being in heat, also known as estrus, comes with a few hormonal changes for female cats and that shows into their behavior. When the mating season starts, usually spring and summer, the estrus happens in cycles, with each one lasting seven to ten days, and the cycles repeat throughout the year.

The first thing that changes when cats are in heat is the amount of affection they offer. So if your cat rubs against you more often than normal, that might be the first sign. Apart from rubbing on you, she might start rubbing against furniture more often in an attempt to leave its scent around with the hope that she will allure a male cat to come around for mating.

This period is called the proestrus.

The next period, the actual estrus phase, is when your cat will engage in acts of calling out loudly, day and night until an eligible partner is found or until her heat cycle ends. This phase usually lasts for a week, but sometimes it can go up to 15 days.

Besides calling out for mates, she will roll on the floor and assuming mating position through placing her head down, bending her front legs and raising her hind part in order to make her genitals accessible to any male cat that might be around.

Sometimes, in some extreme cases, a female cat might even go around and spray the house with strong smelling urine, in the same attempt to attract any male cat that might be passing by around.

While estrus happens in cycles, that doesn’t always mean there will be an interestrus, the period in between cycles. That depends on each and every cat, and in some it seems that they go from cycle to cycle almost without interruption, which, let’s be honest, will be quite annoying for the owner.

The usual way is for estrus cycles to occur every two to three weeks, though as we mentioned, this might not always be the case.

The period when a cat isn’t in heat anymore is called anestrus and happens during the winter.

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