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Cat Heat Cycle And Its Various Stages

(Last Updated On: 09/05/2017)

Cat Heat Cycle And Its Various Stages

The breeding process begins with the onset of the cat heat cycle meaning that female cat is ready for mating and breeding. Cat breeding age starts when the female cat is on heat for the very first time. The signs of cat’s heat cycle could be easily observed. The cat pregnancy happens when cats mate during heat cycle. Cat mating could be avoided by keeping cat away from “tom cat”.

People often adopt or buy young cats or kittens. The kittenhood is full of playful activities but cat’s keeper get to know so many things when that kitten reaches maturity. What to do when cats are in heat is the most common question asked by cat people. People do not know the right cat breeding age. The starting of cat breeding cycle or simply cat heat cycle is always confusing in the beginning. On the contrary, some people do not observe cat’s heat period at all and become totally surprised when their cats are found pregnant and quite near to their delivery stage. 

How Long is a Cat in Heat?

A cat is in heat for 7 to 10 days. The heat cycle or estrus cycle during which cat is calling for mating with a male partner is not more than that. If cat is successfully mating with tom cat then heat cycle will not recur. But if cat is not finding any male partner then this heat cycle will come back after few weeks. 

Signs of “Cat Coming into Heat”

Signs of heat in cats are normally unambiguous and are different for various breeds, yet there are some commonalities. It is noteworthy that no bleeding occurs in cats. The main sign includes a major change in behavior seeing as the cat will appear restless and uncomfortable. Queens also try to escape outside to mate with a Tom cat.

cat in heat - Cat Heat Cycle And Its Various Stages


Many cats become pretty vocal and loud, and show increased marks of affection. The meow when a cat is in heat is very different from a normal meow and is easy to distinguish; the sound is much deeper and hoarse.

During heat cats will roll around, rubbing their back on the floor, they may also roll around an owner’s feat or rub themselves around their legs.

When a Queen is petted on her back during heat, towards the tail, she will elevate her rear end high up, raising her tail. They constantly want to be with their owner and like to be stroked.

The female cat will also be often seen licking her genital area. There might be a loss of appetite and spraying but this is not very common. Some cats are called “silent callers” and might not exhibit any or most of the above signs.

The 5 Stages of the Cat’s Heat Cycle

The queens will have heat cycles many times in a year if they are not bred as they are “polyestrous”. The female cats are also reflex ovulators meaning that they should be bred before they will ovulate. The estrus cycle or say the heat cycle of the Queen lasts for almost 7 to 14 days and usually repeats every 14 to 21 days.

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Cat heat cycle can be divided into five stages so that the time to breed can be known easily for most effective breeding as well as prevention of unwanted pregnancy.

  • The first stage is the Pro-estrus Stage during which the cat is infertile. This stage duration varies in different breeds but the average is 1-2 days. In pro-estrus cycle there might be some neighbor male cats hanging out around the owner’s house. The reason is that they can smell the female’s heat cycle. The Queen will be seen tucking her tail often, protecting herself, as she is not ready to accept a Tom cat at this stage.
  • The second stage is the Estrus stage that lasts from 3-14 days usually; it shows the time when the cat is fertile. Now the cat is ready to accept a tom cat and will show the eagerness to mate by switching her tail to one side and wanting to be outside more than the normal days. Here, she is following the natural instinct to breed and signs of being in heat are displayed. Take care that the Queen is kept mostly at home to prevent undesired mating; especially in case of pedigree cats.
  • Next is the Interestrus stage of the heat cycle that mostly starts between the estrus cycles if the female cat is not bred at the Estrus stage. This stage lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. The Queen is no longer fertile at this stage. This stage shows the period when the cat is not having estrus cycle and breeding will not result in any pregnancies.
  • Fourth stage is the Metestrus (or Diestrus) stage. This includes the period subsequent to the estrus stage or mating. This stage lasts for about 30 to 40 days. If the cat gets pregnant after breeding, then the pregnancy in cats will last, on average, for 60 to 64 days in the female cat.
  • The fifth and last stage called the Anestrus stage that denotes the end of the Queen’s heat cycle and marks the point when she is back to normal. This stage lasts for 30-90 days, varying in cats, and shows period of sexual and hormonal inactivity at the end of this the cycle repeats. If a female aborts or gives still births this stage will last 2-3 weeks.


What to Do When Cats are in Heat?

The decision to breed cat is important to answer this question. If someone wants to breed their cat then finding the right tom cat for reproduction purpose is very important. It is important to select the right male cat. A proper health check-up should be done to make sure that there are no risks of any genetic problems in the progeny of tom and queen. 

The male cat should be brought to house as soon as cat’s heat cycle starts. The reason is because female cat would take little time before finally mating with tom. Queen would need time to accept the tom. It is also important to make sure that tom cat is not being aggressive around queen or vise versa. If both are acting in aggressive manner then its better to separate them. 

Tom and queen should at least mate few times so that it shows positive results in the end. 

If there is no need to breed the cat then short-term solution is to take her to vet. The vet would prescribe some contraceptive medication and cat would stay out of her heat cycle for quite sometime. If breeding is totally out of question then permanent solution is to spay the cat. The cat’s hysterectomy is a surgery performed by veterinary doctors only. 

Cat breeding information is very important and it helps those cat people who do not wish to breed their cats. For others, it helps in order to improve the overall breeding experience. A pregnant cat stays under proper care when her pregnancy is known. 


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