How to Tell If Your Cat Is in Heat and Tips to Calm Her

Updated on May 30, 2017
Bridget F profile image

Bridget is a long-time cat owner, cat-sitter and cat lover with years of feline research and hands-on experience.

A Cat In Heat Is Not A Happy Camper!
A Cat In Heat Is Not A Happy Camper! | Source

Your Female Cat in Heat

  • The most important thing to know is that only females go into heat. Male cats, on the other hand, smell a female cat in heat and will fight over the right to mate with her. However, they do not go into heat themselves.
  • Heat also only occurs in un-spayed females who are mature (usually over five months old.)
  • Each period of heat lasts about one week and can involve significant behavior changes.
  • Typically, a house cat will go into heat a few times a year. Because house cats enjoy safe, healthy lives with plenty of available resources such as food and water, they are fertile and naturally go into heat more often (sometimes even as often as every few weeks).
  • Feral cats' bodies actually tend to go into heat about twice a year when the seasons change to spring and fall in colder climates and during the summer months in warmer climates.


Signs That Your Cat Is in Heat

There are a number of clear signs that your cat or kitten is in heat:

  • Restlessness
  • Increased vocalizations (meowing, yowling, moaning). This is called "calling" and your cat may become very loud, calling throughout the day or night.
  • Rubbing her head or bottom on furniture, people, or the floor much more than usual
  • Spraying- Yes! Female cats spray! Their urine will have a large estrogen component to attract males, and a cat in heat will often spray objects lying around the home. (Just remember: spraying is also a sign of a UTI, so if you aren't sure she's in heat, it's best to take your cat to the vet!)
  • Attempts to flee or get outside
  • Over-grooming the genital area, which may appear moist and swollen
  • Shaking
  • Pushing her buttocks into the air and "making biscuits" with her back feet (almost like marching). This is the mating position.
  • Rolling around on the ground

Is My Cat In Pain When in Heat?

There is not a clear answer to whether or not your cat in heat is experiencing pain or suffering, though it does seem obvious that she is very uncomfortable in the least!


My Cat Is in Heat! How Do I Calm Her?

There isn't a lot that you can do for your cat when she is in heat, other than making an appointment to get her spayed ASAP (though the vet/clinic will likely want to wait until she's out of heat to do the surgery.) Here are just a few ideas that may help, though.

  1. Offer your kitten or cat plenty of attention and physical contact when she is in heat. This will help to calm her down and ease some of her anxiety and restlessness.
  2. Similarly, playtime is important. Your kitten will be restless and uncomfortable while in heat, and the distraction and physical exertion during playtime may be just what she needs.
  3. Some people find that catnip is calming to their cat at this time. It's best to do a trial with just a bit to see if it helps.
  4. Some cats/kittens in heat like to sit on a warm, wet towel or washcloth, or a slightly warm heat pack. Just be careful and be sure that the temperature isn't too hot, and never leave a hot or plugged in heating pad under your cat. It can warm up gradually and cause burns.

The best method for making sure that your cat doesn't have to go into heat is to spay her! You'll save both your cat and yourself from a lot of stress!

Spaying Your Cat

It is so important to spay your kitten or cat before they reach the age when they go into heat. The youngest that they can usually be spayed is around 8-12 weeks, or she must weigh at least two pounds. Once spayed, she will not go into heat again.

If you've taken in an adult cat or have one who isn't spayed, it's not too late! There are low-cost spay and neuter clinics as well as regular veterinarians who will spay your cat for you!

Kittens are adorable but you could be surrounded by too many if your cat isn't spayed!
Kittens are adorable but you could be surrounded by too many if your cat isn't spayed! | Source


Watch the doors carefully. Naturally, your cat's desire to go outside to find a mate will be strong, so be very watchful when leaving or entering the house so she doesn't get outside.

A Great Example of a Kitten In Heat

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image


        9 days ago

        My Kitten is Only About Two Months Old, Can They Go into Heat This Early? Most of The Stuff in This Article She Does, Except for The Shaking and Pushing Her Butt in The Air. I Just Recently Got A Male Cat (he’s fixed) He’s A lot Older She Is (almost two years old) They Make These Weird Almost Like Purring Noises at Each Other, but I Have No Idea What it Means????

      • profile image

        ginny gibialante 

        4 weeks ago

        I have rescued several females in October. I assumed that two of them where spayed because they did not go in heat. However, this week my cat gabby was across the street with the neighbor cat and he was mounting her. No other signs that I saw. Got her spayed immediately and now she can be a safe and happy cat. Maybe she wont want to go outside as much.

      • profile image

        Tina Morgan 

        6 weeks ago

        My tiger lilly is 7 month old female, she lay down but her bottom up and her tail bent other

      • profile image


        8 weeks ago

        thank u a big help she's on heat lol

      • profile image


        2 months ago

        I see

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        You are spot on ma'am. I had the feeling she was in heat, but you confirmed it right down to the last detail. Awesome job and thanks

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        my cat get a lot of hairball what should I do

      • profile image


        5 months ago

        So its tecnicaly puberty but for cats

      • profile image

        Margaret Rose Ash 

        6 months ago

        Where can I get them spayed?

      • Bridget F profile imageAUTHOR

        Bridget F 

        20 months ago from USA

        GalaxyRat- Thank you so much for stopping by!

      • profile image


        20 months ago

        Good information. Thanks for the Hub- will refer to.


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