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How To Tell if Your Female Cat is in Heat



Cat Mating & Pregnancy > Reproduction 101 > Is Your Cat in Heat?

Female cats that are not spayed will eventually come into heat (technically called oestrus), and the signs are unambiguous, once you know what to look for. Here are some behavioral symptoms to watch for if you suspect your diva is in heat.


Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Immediately preceding oestrus, your female cat may become unusually affectionate, by sidling up and rubbing her hind quarters against furniture, stuffed toys, other cats, and/or her favorite human.
  2. She may spend excessive time licking her genital area. Note: Lacking the other behavioral traits on this list, genital licking can be a symptom of a urinary tract disorder, which can be serious if not treated promptly.
  3. The Queen (name for female cats of breeding age) will vocalize loudly. This "calling" may go on for several days, unless she mates.
  4. She will assume a mating position: head down, forelegs bent, rear quarters raised to expose the perineum (this raised posture is called lordosis), with the tail raised and held to the side of the body. Her rear legs will tread rhythmically, as if walking in place.
  5. Queenie may also spray vertical surfaces with a strongly scented fluid. She will accomplish this by backing up to the surface and raising her tail high. The tail may quiver, and she may perform the rhythmic treading described in step four.
  6. If your female cat does not mate, she will go into oestrus as often as every two to three weeks, for several months each year, until she either mates or is spayed.

    Cat Mating & Pregnancy > Reproduction 101 > Is Your Cat in Heat?


  1. Unless she is a qualified pedigreed breeder, your female cat should be spayed. It will not only cease the uncomfortable heat cycles, but prevent certain serious medical problems.
  2. Your veterinarian may be able to give your female cat hormones to stop the oestrus, if spaying is not immediately possible.
  3. Female cats as young as four months can go into oestrus.

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