How to know a Cat is in Heat?

Do you have an unneutered cat? Chances are your cat is likely to go in heat, also called oestrus. If you have a female cat, it will start looking for a partner to mate and if you have a male cat, it will search for a female cat in heat. After your cat reaches a certain age it starts to go into heat and you might not know when. Your cat will show unusual behavior which might leave you confused. To be sure whether your cat is going in heat or not you need to understand the signs. In this blog, we are going to talk about different signs to look for to know if the cat is going in heat or not. We are also going to answer different questions related to cats going in the heat.

Signs Cat is in Heat

When a cat goes in heat, it shows different signs like showing excessive affection, vocalizing loudly, loss of appetite, marking its territory, trying to escape from home, and many more. Be aware of the following mentioned signs to know whether the cat is in heat or not and you might also prevent any unwanted pregnancy.

Display of Affection

Cats in heat will unusually be more affectionate than they normally are. You will be able to tell whether your cat is simply showing affection or it is in heat. This type of behavior is more seen in female cats. She may rub her hind part against your leg, on the furniture, on stuffed toys, and on other cats as well. She might also show an increase in rolling on the floor behavior. It is believed that they do such behavior to spread their scent. This way she is leading the male cats towards her.

Excessive Vocalization

When the cat is in heat the female cat or the queen vocalizes loudly. If you have a quiet cat and it starts yowling loudly then chances are your cat is in heat. By vocalizing they are calling for their mating partner. The vocalization attracts the male as it lets them aware of a female cat in heat. The vocalization does not stop until the cat mates or is not in heat.
Read to know more about Cats’ Vocalization: Why do Cats Purr? Why do Cats Vocalize Extremely at Night? Why do Cats Meow so Much?

Excessive Grooming

We all know that cats enjoy grooming themselves. It keeps them clean and they have been doing it since birth. When the cat goes into the heat the grooming starts to become extreme mainly in the genital area. You might notice the genital area moist and swollen due to excessive grooming as well. That is due to excessive licking. Likewise, you may also even notice clear, watery vaginal discharge. This means that your cat is in heat and wants to mate.

Mating Position

When your cat especially a female is in the heat it will assume itself in a mating position called lordosis. The cat does so in hoping a male cat will automatically come behind her. To form the posture the cat will press her front elbows against the floor, crouch with her back legs, push her backside or buttock in the air and expose her genital area by lifting the tail. Her rear legs will also tread up and down like she is making biscuits.

Marking the Territory

When a female cat is in heat, its urine contains a high level of pheromones, which can attract the male cat. They will spray their urine vertically on their favored places. To do so the female cat will back up to the surface and raise her tail to spray the urine. This is her way of marking her territory and making the male cat aware of her presence. If you own a female cat that is in the heat then you might notice other male cats hanging around your porch or around your windows. It is because they have smelt that your cat is in heat.

Loss of Appetite

When the cat goes into the heat its instinct is set on finding a mate the first priority. This shifts her desire from feeding herself to reproducing. So, the cat might not eat as much as it usually does. But if you notice your cat’s appetite not coming back even after two-three weeks then it is likely that your cat might have other problems.

Restlessness and Need to escape

When in heat the cat gets restless. You might notice it pacing here and there around the doors, windows, and pet flaps. Mostly around the areas from where it can go outside. This is because they are desperate to mate. If it is an indoor female cat then it might try to escape looking for a male cat and if it is an indoor male cat then it might have smelt a female cat and is trying to escape to go to the female cat. If its escape plan works then it is not surprising for it to not come back home for a few days to a week. It might not come back even for a month. So, to prevent that, lock all the possible places your cat can exit even the pet flaps. Provide them with adequate distraction to divert their minds from mating.

Stages of Heat Cycle

All the female cats have to go through a heat cycle also called the estrus cycle. During this time the cat is capable of breeding. So, they have the desire to mate and have kittens. The heat cycle has four stages.


In this stage, the female cat is not ready to mate ut still might attract unneutered male cats. This stage lasts for 1-2 days and we won’t see any signs of the cat going into the heat.


This is the stage unspayed cat goes into heat. It lasts up to a week, and during this stage, she is willing to mate and attract the attention of male cats. You can also see different signs of a cat in heat. If they do get a partner to mate, hormone production will be stimulated and ovulation happens.  The female cat mate with multiple partners resulting in getting pregnant and giving birth to kittens having different fathers.


This is the stage between heats. If a female cat in heat does not get to mate then they enter this stage before going to another heat cycle. No signs of going heat are displayed by the cat.  After a few days or weeks, the cat will go into heat again. The cycle of proestrus, estrus, and interests repeats throughout the mating season.


This is the last stage of the heat cycle also known as the dormant period of the cat reproductive system. The mating season usually lasts from spring to fall. In other seasons like fall and winter, the cat may not go into heat at all. In indoor cats, due to the artificial lights, might go into heat all year.

Calming Cat in Heat

A cat’s going in heat is perfectly normal and healthy for the cat. Sometimes it can be distressing for the cat and for the owner as well. It’s important to keep the cat calm and comfortable during those times. They might need extra care, affection, or brushing to relax. Also, engage them in playful exercises to keep them busy and their mind away from the thoughts of mating. Not all cats can be calmed with the same approach. Some cats might prefer to stay in an alone and quiet place. What you can do is provide them with a safe place for your cat to rest. It is better if the place is warm and cozy for the cat. Be careful not to use many products when calming your cat or it might backfire. Seeing many products might excite your cat.


How to prevent unwanted pregnancy when the cat is in heat?

If you are sure that you don’t want to breed your cat and want to prevent unwanted pregnancy it is best to neuter the cat. It eliminates the risk of unplanned pregnancy and other problems as well. This also prevents any aggressive behavior which usually happens when the cat is in heat. Likewise, the cats are not encouraged to roam outside in search of a partner who keeps the cat safe.

Can I spay my cat when she is in heat?

A cat in heat ca be spayed but it might cost you more than the normal price. So, it is recommended to wait until your cat is not in heat ad then spay them taking to the vet doctor.

Do cats bleed when in heat?

In most cases, cats do not bleed from their genital area when they are in heat. Sometimes excessive grooming can cause irritation and lead to wounds that might cause bleeding. If the blood is seen mixed with the cat’s urine then it can be a sign of a UTI. It is important to contact to vet right away in such conditions.

How long does a cat stay in heat?

Typically a single heat lasts for a week. Depending on the cycle, the cat experiences heat every 2-3 weeks. If the cat doesn’t mate then it is likely to go into heat after a few weeks. This may vary from cat to cat.      
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Arun Sapkota

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