Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Healthy Cats

Font Size

Heat (Estrus) Cycle in Cats

Estrus continued...

As the urge to mate becomes pronounced, her cries become alarming-sounding like those of an animal in pain. This call attracts toms from near and far.

Young cats having their first heat have been described by unknowing owners as “rabid,” due to the dramatic changes in behavior. It is at this time that many families decide spaying is a good option.

To determine if your queen is receptive to mating, hold her by the scruff of the neck and stroke her down the back toward the base of her tail. If she is in estrus, she will raise her hindquarters, move her tail to the side, and tread up and down with her hind feet.

This estrus period generally lasts 4 to 10 days.

Interestrus

The third stage lasts 7 to 14 days. During this stage, the queen refuses to mate and aggressively rejects the male if mating is attempted.

What happens during interestrus depends on what happened during estrus: If a mating did not occur, the queen will remain in interestrus for 7 to 14 days and then start a new cycle beginning with proestrus and proceeding to estrus. If sexual intercourse induced ovulation but the queen did not conceive, she will enter a period of pseudopregnancy lasting approximately 36 days. If sexual intercourse resulted in a pregnancy, her kittens will be delivered in about 63 days.

Anestrus

The fourth stage of the estrus cycle is reproductive rest. In the northern hemisphere, this is a 90-day period from November through January. This term may also be used for older female cats who no longer cycle.

1|2

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

Today on WebMD

kitten with onions
Slideshow
Night stalking cat
Slideshow
 
Young woman holding Papillon
Slideshow
Kitten playing
Quiz
 
cat on couch
Evaluator
Kitten using litter box
Quiz
 
sleeping kitten
Slideshow
sad kitten looking at milk glass
Slideshow
 
Cat looking at fish
Slideshow
muddy dog on white sofa
Quiz
 
Maine Coon cat breed
Article
Pets: Behavior Problems in Cats
Slideshow