As cat owners, especially as first-time cat owners, it’s essential to get to grips with all of the things your cat will experience as they grow older and mature, so you should try to research as much of this information as you can before you receive your adorable new feline friend.
Some of the most common questions surrounding cats, especially female cats, are about them experiencing “heat”, which simply means that she is undergoing their estrus (reproductive) cycle, and is particularly receptive sexually.
If you have a female cat, you might notice that she “sprays” her urine against tall or vertical objects in order to mark her territory, but is this a sign of heat?
Well, to find out more about your cat spraying, and whether or not it means it's in heat, then continue to read this article and allow us to explain all you need to know!
The Signs Of Estrus
You might be wondering as an owner if it’s at all possible to spot when your female cat might be undergoing their estrus cycle. Well, most of the signs that your cat is in heat are purely in their behavior.
Most cats will become extremely affectionate during this period of time and will make a point of consistently rubbing up against their owners or objects and demanding attention.
There’s also a chance that if you rub along their back and spine, they will lift their rear into the air and tread solely with their back legs. Female cats will also become incredibly vocal during this period, which is known to drive unsuspecting owners crazy!
Do Female Cats Spray When In Heat?
One of the more common signs that a female cat is in heat is that it will actually begin to urinate more, or even spray its urine against walls and objects.
They do this because their urine contains both pheromones and hormones, which to cats, is a type of reproductive signal which helps the queens to attract the tomcats (male cats) to mate.
This usually tends to be the first sign that your once adorable kitten has finally reached puberty, and before long you’ll have all sorts of feline visitors in your backyard attempting to mate with your cat!
When Do Female Cats First Get Their Estrus Cycle?
Typically, female cats will undergo their first estrus cycle upon reaching puberty, this can vary between individual cats, and mainly depends on the time of the year, due to the varying daylight hours, but this typically happens at around six months old.
What many people refer to as the heat cycle is also what's known as the estrus, and whilst this cycle has several different stages, the estrus or “heat” stage is when a female cat is at her most sexually receptive point, which is more commonly known as being in heat.
How Often Does A Female Cat Experience Heat?
Cats are actually polyestrous, and during the breeding season, they can undergo multiple different breeding cycles.
When the breeding season occurs is actually all depending on a number of different geographical and environmental factors, for example, the breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere tends to occur between January all the way to the later end of the Fall season.
However, if a cat lives in a more tropical region in the world, then the cycle can last all year round, which is due to the increased daylight hours.
It’s also worth noting that a cat that lives predominantly inside can also experience a lengthened breeding season!
How Long Does Estrus Last In Cats?
The period of time a cat experiences their estrus/heat cycle varies significantly, and whilst the average period of time tends to be around 7 days, the period can last anywhere from a single day all the way to three weeks!
If a queen (the name for an unneutered female cat) doesn’t get mated with during her heat, then she will typically go out of heat for a period of time, again this period of time tends to only be seven days long, but it can be as short as two days, or as long as 19 days!
When Can Cats Get Pregnant During Their Estrus Cycle?
As an owner, having your cat suddenly become pregnant isn’t great, especially if it’s unexpected, which is why it’s so good to know exactly when your cat will be able to be bred and become pregnant during its estrus cycle.
Unfortunately, queens are actually able to fall pregnant at any point during their estrus cycle, and there’s no specific period in which they’re able to fall pregnant easier than the others.
Cats are induced ovulators, and it’s the breeding process that actually begins to cause the initial release of the eggs in the first place, so it’ll take a queen and a tomcat three to four matings throughout a 24-hour period in order to successfully begin ovulation.
It doesn’t take long for cats to mate, and most mating sessions don’t last any longer than 2 minutes, so it’s common for cats to mate multiple times during a short period of time.
In addition to this, it’s not uncommon for queens to mate with multiple different tomcats during their ovulation, so a litter of kittens can actually have multiple different fathers!
Upon the end of her ovulation, the queen will then go out of heat for a couple of days.
So to summarise, a female cat spraying is a sign that your cat is in heat, and they do this in order to help attract tomcats in order for them to mate, as their urine contains hormones and pheromones which the male cats will find attractive.
Your female cat spraying is also probably one of the first signs you will see as owners that will indicate that your cat has reached puberty. We hope this helped!
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.