Home Cat Knowledge How long does a cat stay in heat?

How long does a cat stay in heat?

Cat heat cycle is also known as the estrous cycle is the normal cycle of reproduction that occurs in an unspayed female. Spaying is the common form used to describe the surgical procedure known as an ovariohysterectomy.

In this procedure, the ovaries and uterus are removed completely in order to sterilize a female cat. Unspayed female cats of the reproductive age are called queens. These are the stages of heat cycles includes:


In the proestrus stage, the queen may attract unneutered males but unwilling to mate yet. Queen shows no outward signs. This phase is often unobserved and is seen in only 16% of estrous cycles. This period lasts for 1 to 2 days.


After proestrus comes to the estrus. This stage lasts for about a week. In this stage, queens are receptive to mating, if the queen mates during this stage, it will induce ovulation. Queens needs to mate for four to six times before it can get pregnant. Queens can make several males and give birth to a litter of kittens with different fathers.


This stage is for queens that couldn’t get pregnant during the estrus stage. In this stage, her estrogen levels drop therefore won’t exhibit any signs. After about two to three weeks, she will go back to heat. The cycle of proestrus, estrus in interetus will continue throughout the mating season until she gets pregnant.


This is the queen’s dormant period. Here, the reproductive hormone is not active because she is not in the mating season. Mating season occurs during mid-January to mid-October. This is because the queen’s hormone is stimulated by the light of longer days.


The number of daylight hours has the largest impact on when the cat will reach sexual maturity. Cats normally go into heat when there are 14 – 16 hours of daylight. A cat will usually go into heat in the spring and autumn. A cat usually has her first heat at around six months of age but some can have it as early as 4 months old.


The most notable signs are behavioral, it is not common to observe vaginal bleeding from a cat in heat.  Most cats become very affectionate and want attention more, they consistently rub their body against inanimate objects.

They also become very vocal. Some female cats will urinate more frequently or may even spray urine on markings when they are in heat. This urine contains both pheromones and hormones which signals the male cats that she’s ready for making. These behavioral changes often become annoying to the owners.


Your cat’s yowling and odd behavior may have you wondering how long a cat stay in heat? Cats stay in heat from 4 to 10 days and the cycle happens at sexual maturity depending on the breed. If the queen is not mated during estrus, she will go out of the heat for a short period.

Cats are polyestrous which means that they can have multiple cycles during the breeding season. Heat cycles in cats repeat every two to three weeks until the cat is spayed or becomes pregnant. If you have a cat and wish to prevent her from going into heat, the best solution is to have her spayed as early as your vet thinks is safe likely around four months of age.


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