The cat’s heat (estrus) cycle

Rabbits may be known for their rapid reproduction, but cats should share some of that reputation. Unneutered female cats can usually start breeding as soon as their heat cycle begins. If not neutered, cats can produce two to three litters per year. Litters range from 1 to 8 kittens, and if you’re not careful, you can add a lot of kittens in no time! Knowing your cat’s breeding cycle can help you plan your breeding goals, or just make sure your pets don’t exceed your expectations. Rapid cycles are the reason why many veterinarians recommend spaying pet cats unless they are used exclusively for breeding.

heat, heat, heat

All of the above terms are correct in describing the period when a female cat is receptive to mating, but we refer to them as the more commonly used “thermal cycle”.

breeding season

The breeding season for cats is actually year-round, starting in February at the earliest and December at the latest, but in the Western Hemisphere, March to September is generally considered the breeding season.

Rescuers are terrified of “kitten season,” because it means that in kill shelters, a new crop of kittens will eliminate any chance of older cats being adopted, including last year’s kittens. If nothing else, this alone is a sufficient reason to spay and neuter a pet cat.

Thermal cycling

Cats are said to be “polyestrous,” which means they periodically enter a thermal cycle during fertilization.These heat cycles may begin as early as the fourth or fifth month of a kitten’s life and will continue until she is bred or spayed. For this reason, many veterinarians now practice early sterilization and neutering. A cat’s heat cycle lasts from a few days to two weeks or more, repeating every two to three weeks. As you can see, a female cat always seems to be in heat.

No one can accurately say that heat cycling is painful for cats. However, judging by the calling (loud howling) and other symptoms they exhibit, they appear to be very uncomfortable. Cats in heat are usually very noticeable. After all, a female cat’s main goal is to attract attention, and with all the calling, it’s hard to miss.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can give your pet the best advice.