A female cat of reproductive age who has not been spayed is called a queen. Queens will go into heat or estrus seasonally -- in the spring and fall. If not mated, queens will go into heat several times during each season because cats are induced ovulators, meaning they only ovulate when mated.
Cats do not always exhibit the same signs during each estrus cycle, and other factors such as hours of daylight and additional cats in their environment will influence cycles.
7 Signs That Your Cat Is in Heat
- Vocalizing or "calling" - Meowing and yowling, sometimes to the point of sounding as if she is in pain. A cat will frequently prowl around the house wailing or vocalizing. It can sound like a plaintive, distressed cry, or it can be loud and long enough to keep you up at night. However, if you cat is naturally vocal, then this isn't a definitive sign of being in heat.
- Excessive affection - Your cat may rub around your ankles so much that it becomes impossible to walk without tripping on her. She may also rub against furniture, door frames and the floor with her cheeks and chin as that's where her scent glands are located. Her scent changes whe she's in heat and she's trying to advertise that she's available for mating.
- Estrus posture - Her rump will rise in the air, and her hind feet may appear to "tread" the carpet.
- Deflection reflex - Your cat may move her tail to one side which is commonly seen along with the estrus posture. You can see this reaction if you rub her lower back, particularly over her pelvis and tail base. This reflex allows the male easier access to her for mating purposes.
- Wants to escape - An indoor cat that suddenly wants to be outdoors at every opportunity. However, this also may be related to changes in the behavior of housemate cats or new cats appearing in the neighborhood.
- Excessive licking of the genital area - You may notice that her vulva is swollen or has a slight discharge. Note: If you suspect urinary problems (also indicated by excessive licking of genital area or frequent trips to the litter box), it is important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- "Commando crawling" - A cat may flatten her front quarters close to the ground, stick her rear end in the air, and then crawl along the floor in this posture.
Cat's Complicated Reproductive Cycle
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If your female cat has not been spayed, it's wise to familiarize yourself with these common signs of heat before they occur. Because cats ovulate with each mating - be it with the same or different male cat - it often results in pregnancy. Spaying is the best way to prevent a litter of kittens.