A spayed cat will typically go into heat for about two weeks. During this time, she may become restless, vocal, and/or aggressive. She should be kept in a quiet, cool place where she can rest and avoid contact with other cats.
When cats reach puberty, they begin their first estrous (reproductive) cycle, which occurs around six months of age on average, but this can vary slightly depending on the time of year (length of daylight hours).
The estrous cycle, also known as the heat cycle in cats, consists of several stages; the estrus stage refers to when the female is sexually receptive, or in heat.
How frequently does a female cat go into heat?
Cats are seasonally polyestrous, which means they have multiple cycles during the breeding season, which varies depending on geography and environmental factors such as temperature and daylight hours.Cats in the Northern Hemisphere typically cycle from January to late fall, whereas cats in more tropical regions or who live primarily indoors may cycle all year due to the increased number of daylight hours.
How long does estrus last?
Each heat lasts several days, with the average being seven days, but it can range from one to twenty-one days. If the queen (an intact female cat) is not mated during estrus, she will go out of heat for a short period of time, usually seven days, but it can range from two to twenty-one days.As a result, a cat's estrous cycle can last anywhere from one to six weeks, with the average cycle lasting about three weeks.
What are the symptoms of ovulation?
The most noticeable signs of estrus in cats are behavioral: most cats become very affectionate, even demanding; they constantly rub against their owners (or objects such as furniture), wanting attention.They roll more frequently on the floor, and when stroked along the back or spine, they raise their rear quarters into the air and tread with the back legs.They also become very vocal, which can be annoying to owners, who may believe their cat is suffering from an unusual illness.
"Behavioral signs of estrus in cats are the most noticeable."
When a female cat is in heat, she may urinate more frequently or even spray urine on vertical objects (marking), as the urine contains both pheromones and hormones, which act as signals to other cats about her reproductive status.This is why queens in heat attract Tomcats (complete male cats), and in some cases, this may be the first sign that a young cat has reached puberty.Tomcats that have never been seen in your yard or neighborhood before will appear, spraying urine on the house to mark the territory (and female) as theirs, or even attempting to enter the house to mate with the female.
At what point in the estrous cycle can the cat become pregnant?
Cats are induced ovulators, which means that the act of breeding stimulates the release of eggs from the ovaries.Most females require three to four matings within a 24-hour period for ovulation to occur, whereas cats mate in a matter of minutes or seconds and may mate multiple times in a short period of time.During this time, queens may mate with several different tomcats, so a litter of kittens may have several different fathers. Once ovulation occurs, the queen will go out of heat within a day or two.
"...it is possible that a litter of kittens will have multiple fathers."
How long does a cat's pregnancy last?
Pregnancy in cats lasts between 64 and 71 days, with an average of 65 days (nine weeks).
What can I do to keep my cat from becoming pregnant?
The best way to keep your cat from becoming pregnant is to have her surgically sterilized (ovariohysterectomy or spay operation) before she has her first estrous cycle. Because this first cycle can be unpredictable, most veterinarians recommend performing an ovariohysterectomy when the cat is six months old.
Should I wait for my cat to go through an estrus cycle or have a litter of kittens before spaying her?
There are no valid reasons to allow a cat to have an estrous cycle or a litter of kittens before spaying; cats can become pregnant on their very first estrous cycle, increasing the risk of accidental breeding.Cats are indiscriminate in their breeding, so a brother cat can breed with its sister, a father can breed with his daughter, and a son can breed with his mother.
Female cats will become more friendly and sociable if they are allowed to have a litter of kittens, but this is not true and only contributes to the serious problem of cat overpopulation.
Female cats will go through their first estrous, or heat cycle, when they reach sexual maturity, which can happen as early as four months but is more likely to happen between six and nine months of age.Estrus is the period during which a female is receptive to mating with a male, exhibits signs of being in heat, and can become pregnant; if the female does not become pregnant, she will continue through the estrous cycle, going into heat every few weeks until she either becomes pregnant or is spayed.
Cats in heat will exhibit signs that can be quite bothersome to owners; however, if they have been spayed, those signs should not be present.There are a few conditions in which spayed cats will continue to show signs of being in heat. In this article, we will discuss the signs of heat in cats, the causes of heat signs in a spayed cat, and why treatment is important if your cat is in heat after a spay.
6 Signs That Your Female Cat Is In Heat
Signs of Heat in Cats
Unlike dogs, female cats in heat do not have vaginal discharge, and her symptoms are typically behavioral in nature.The more common signs an owner may notice are that she becomes unusually affectionate and vocal, and she may urinate or spray in the house to let local tomcats know she is open to mating.When she is petted, she also has a tendency to stick her rear end in the air and wiggle her back end. If a spayed cat exhibits signs of being in heat, this could be an indication that there is still sex hormone in her system.Please consult your veterinarian if you notice any signs of heat in your spayed cat.
Common Heat Symptoms in Cats
Heat Signs in Spayed Cats: What Causes Them?
Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
If a spayed cat exhibits signs of heat, it is possible that ovarian tissue is still present and producing estrogen, which can occur for a variety of reasons.In rare cases, a small piece of ovarian tissue may be left behind during surgery, allowing continued secretion of estrogen and signs of heat. In other cases, a female cat may have accessory ovarian tissue separate from the main ovaries that may continue to secrete estrogen after a spay. In even more rare cases, if a small amount of ovarian tissue falls back into the abdomen during the spay surgery, it may continue to secrete estrogen ifOwners may not notice an immediate change in their cat's behavior, and signs of heat may not appear until months after surgery.
A cat in heat after a spay should be taken to the vet as soon as possible for testing, which may include bloodwork to determine if hormone levels are high and consistent with active ovarian tissue.Imaging, such as an ultrasound, may be used to look for the remaining reproductive tissue, but it is usually quite small. If an ovarian remnant is found, surgery should be performed to locate and remove it.This will prevent unwanted heat behaviors as well as an increased risk of disease caused by ongoing estrogen exposure, such as mammary cancer and stump pyometras.
After spaying a cat, a small stump of uterine tissue remains inside the abdomen where the tract is tied off; as long as no female hormones are available, the stump will be a small, inactive tissue.However, if hormones are circulating due to an ovarian remnant or other source of estrogen, this tissue will be active, and an infection of the uterine tissue, known as pyometra, can develop over time.If a stump pyometra is suspected, your veterinarian will help you determine the best treatment plan for your cat.
Adrenal tumors can produce hormones as well. The adrenal glands are two small glands located next to the kidneys that produce important hormones for many body functions.Adrenal gland tumors, on the other hand, can produce hormones in excess, which can cause a variety of symptoms, including excessive sex hormones and behavior changes consistent with being in heat.Heat symptoms are constant in this situation; they do not cycle like ovarian tissue. A number of tests, including blood work and abdominal ultrasound to look for a tumor, may be performed to determine if this is the cause of your cat's symptoms.Exploratory surgery is required to visualize the tumor and remove it along with the affected adrenal gland, which can be a difficult procedure.
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images
When topical estrogen-containing creams for humans are applied to the user's hands or arms, they are easily accessible to an affectionate cat who may lick them off.A female cat exposed to these creams may exhibit signs of heat but will not have a predictable hormone cycle, as well as other signs of estrogen exposure such as mammary development, swollen vulva, pale gums, or hair loss.The best way to avoid this is for owners to use gloves when applying the cream, to wash their hands afterward, and to keep cats and other pets away from any area of the body where this cream is applied.
Your Cat was not Spayed
In some cases, a cat showing signs of heat may turn out to be intact, which means she was never spayed in the first place; this is most common when an adult cat is adopted or a stray cat is discovered as an adult with no clear history of spay or previous heat cycles.Owners may believe the cat was spayed because there were no heat cycles at the time of rescue, or they may have been told by a previous caretaker that the cat was spayed. In any case, your veterinarian can check for a spay scar by shaving your cat's belly, and if there is any doubt, blood work can be done to check your cat's hormone levels.Many animal shelters and rescue groups now apply a small green or blue tattoo mark on the abdomen after a spay to easily confirm a cat's spay status.
Why is Treatment Important?
Hormones play critical roles in the body, but they can also be harmful; for example, long-term exposure to female sex hormones can significantly increase the risk of mammary cancer.This is why it is recommended to spay cats prior to their first heat cycle; therefore, if you notice your spayed cat exhibiting signs of heat, contact your veterinarian immediately.They will collaborate with you to determine what is causing the behavioral change and the best way to treat it.
If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian immediately; for health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, are familiar with the pet's medical history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.
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