How often does a female cat come into heat?

A cat next to a lavender flower looking up at the sky

How often does a female cat come into heat?

Cats are usually seasonally polyestrous, which implies that they have numerous cycles during the reproducing season. When and how often a female cat will come into heat will fluctuate as per geographic and ecological factors, such as temperature and daylight hours. In the Northern Hemisphere, cats usually cycle from January until the pre-winter. Cats that live in tropical areas may cycle throughout the entire year.

When does a queen (female cat) start her first oestrus cycle?

Cats have their first reproductive cycle, i.e., oestrous cycle when they become adults. The oestrous cycle in the cat is better known as a cat’s heat cycle. On average, adolescence/puberty, or sexual maturity, comes in cats at about seven months of age, but this can vary according to breeds, diet, and climate effects. Each cycle consists of multiple stages; estrus is a stage when the female is sexually receptive or in heat.

How long does a cat’s heat cycle last?

Each heat usually lasts several days, with the average length being five to six days. If a male cat does not mate with the queen (an unspayed female cat) during the oestrus period, she will go out of the heat for a short time. Hence, the complete oestrous cycle of a cat can range from anywhere between seven days to 28 days, with the average length of the cycle is about three weeks.

What are the common signs of estrus in cats? Or How do I know if my cat is on heat?

  • Vaginal bleeding is not usually common in a cat during the heat.
  • The most prominent signs of estrus in cats are behavioural signs. 
  • Most cats become very loving, even demanding; they readily rub against their owners or pet parents or rub against objects such as furniture, couch, etc. By doing this, they continuously want attention. 
  • They roll on the floor and in the porch area. When stroked on the spine or along the back, they raise their rear body into the air and tread with the hind legs. 
  • They also become very vocal during the heat cycle. 
  • Some female cats will urinate more often or spray urine on tall objects (marking) near them during the oestrus phase. The urine contains both hormones and pheromones, both of which act as signals of her reproductive condition to other cats. This is the main reason that queens in their heat attract unneutered male cats too. In some cases, it is the first indication that a young cat has reached adolescence.
  • Tomcats (unneutered male cats) will appear in your yard or neighbourhood that you may have never seen before. They may spray urine on the house walls to mark the territory, and it is the indication to other cats that this female is now his property or even attempt to enter the house to copulate with the female.
  • These behaviour changes can sometimes become annoying to cat owners, and sometimes owners consider that their cat has some odd illness.

The advanced study suggests that you can induce oestrous and luteal phases in cats without mating just by giving hormones and changing sexual behaviour.

[icon name=”info-circle” prefix=”fas fa-2x”] You may also be interested in our article on What Is A Female Cat Called

Summary of Signs during the heat cycle in the cat:

  • Urine spraying
  • Attention-seeking behaviour
  • Vocalising
  • Rolling on the floor
  • Raising hind end into the air
  • Demanding or pushy behaviour
  • Begging to go outside
  • Rubbing its face on things
  • Wiggling rear end when the back spine is being stroked

Frequency of heat surges during the whole cycle?

When your cat reaches puberty, he/she will experience an oestrogen surge that will bring her into heat for about seven to eight days. This cycle often repeats after every 14 to 21 days. Your cat may have a small amount of vaginal discharge (may be bloody) during this time.

Cats often breed in the summer and spring and then give birth about 63 days after conception. 

At what stage of the whole oestrous cycle is the cat able to conceive?

Cats can breed at any time whilst in heat, but the best time is when she is true oestrus phase. Cats are known as induced ovulators like camels, which means that intercourse/coupling stimulates the release of eggs from the cat’s ovaries. Most females require four to five matings within 24-28 hours for ovulation to occur. It only takes 60 seconds or two minutes for cats to mate. Cats will mate several times in a short period. Queens may mate with several different male cats during this time, so a litter of kittens may have numerous different fathers. After ovulation, the queen will go out of heat within one or two days.

What is the gestation length of a cat?

Pregnancy in the cat lasts approximately 62 to 71 days, with an average of nine weeks (63 days +/- 3 days).

How can I avoid my cat from getting pregnant?

The best way to avoid your cat from getting pregnant is to have her spayed or technically known as spaying or ovariohysterectomy. It is challenging to predict when this first heat cycle will occur. Most vets recommend performing spaying when a cat reaches six or seven months of age.

Should I let my queen have an oestrus cycle or have kittens one time before spaying her?

There are no logical reasons for letting a cat have kittens before being spayed. A common fairy tale is that female cats will become more welcoming and friendly if allowed to have a litter of kittens for the first time. This is not true at all, and it only serves to give further to the severe problem of cat overpopulation and stray cats. Cats are not socialised, this means that a brother cat may breed with his sister (Random Mating may occur), a father cat may be breed with his daughters, and a son may be breed with his mother cat. Interbreeding among all animals, not just cats, can lead to severe genital defects.

Scientists recently discovered that Cyclic oestrous-like behaviour in a spayed cat is associated with excessive sex-hormone production by an adrenocortical carcinoma.


Rochelle is a self-claimed crazy cat lady and proud cat mum to Owlie! She has owned, rescued, and fostered cats throughout her whole life. Rochelle created Cats On My Mind as a hub for likeminded cat parents to get all the information they will ever need to give their fur babies their best life!

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