By Emma Stenhouse
Updated on Jan 16, 2022
If you’re curious whether female cats have menstrual periods, we’re here to answer this question! The short answer is that yes, they do have period cycles, but you won’t always notice an actual period. A female cat’s monthly cycle is usually referred to as them being in “heat.” There are a few other differences, including that their menstruation cycle tends to be seasonal.
When do female cats start estrus?
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Menstrual cycles in cats are referred to as estrus, or being in heat.
A female cat will usually become sexually mature at around 4-6 months. This means that from this point on, they could have kittens. To prevent unplanned litters, speak to your vet about getting your female kitten spayed at an appropriate age. Keep her away from unneutered male cats too!
Cats are polyestrous
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Female cats are classified as seasonally polyestrous, meaning they have multiple heat cycles throughout the year.
Most cats will come into heat toward the end of winter or the start of spring, as the days get longer. Increased hours of daylight are usually needed to kick a cat’s estrus cycle into action, which corresponds with the start of “kitten season” in wild or feral cats.
Female cats do have a period in the sense that their bodies follow a monthly cycle for most of the year, but their periods are quite different from those seen in humans or dogs.
In cats, the lining of the uterus is mostly reabsorbed rather than being bled out. You may see a small amount of blood spotting. If your cat hasn’t been spayed and you know that she’s come into heat, then a little blood at this time in her cycle is completely normal. It’s also completely normal not to see any blood while your cat is in heat.
If any blood doesn’t correspond with your cat’s regular cycle or she has been spayed, speak to your vet for advice.
Signs your female cat is in heat
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A cat’s estrus cycle is usually around 3 weeks, with each heat lasting roughly 6 days. Signs that your cat is in heat include:
Last updated: January 17, 2020
As an experienced cat owner, friends who look to adopt a kitten often go to me for advice on how to go about adopting one, which cat food they should buy, and how they can take care of their future cat. Although they would have several questions at once, I don’t usually mind answering all of them and reassure them of how wonderful it is to have a cat of your own to love and to hold. After all, it is quite an exciting moment for them and for me as well, since the thought of a cat getting adopted into a loving family can really warm one’s heart.
When the time finally comes for them to decide whether they should take a female or male cat, they would tend to gravitate towards asking, “Do female cats have periods?” Others might find that choosing the gender of their pet is just a matter of preference, but knowing the differences and even the similarities between the two genders can really help prospective parents to decide which cat they want to adopt. Initially common sense would dictate that female mammals such as cats would obviously have their periods much like female humans do. Although, that thought has some merit to it, the cycle of a female cat is quite different from what female humans experience every month.
What is Heat?
Instead of having what is called a menstrual cycle every month for female humans, female cats go through a heat cycle or what is called, estrus for cats. Unlike female humans who would only get their periods when they are in their pre-teen years, female cats can be in heat as early as when they are 5 or 6 months old. However, just like with humans this depends for each cat. Not every cat starts to get their cycle in the same age. It is perfectly normal for some cats to get theirs only after they are a year-old.
When in Heat
The best way to understand what a female cat goes through during their heat cycle is to compare it to a female human’s menstrual cycle. There are a lot of physical differences, but both of them go through major hormonal changes during this time of the month. While the natural response of the a female human’s body to her menstrual cycle is to have vaginal bleeding for a number of days coupled with unbearable abdominal cramps, and not to mention bloating in her belly, as well as drastic mood swings female cats however, go through a whole different episode when they are in heat.
Female cats when in heat are a menace to be with. Their raging hormones can sometimes be too much to deal with. During their heat cycle, felines are notorious for what I call, “meowling” which is an ear-splitting combination of them meowing and yowling all through the night. Although, they are the noisiest at night, a female cat in heat can continue meowling day in and day out. Needless to say, this is only one of the many things that felines and their owners go through during their dreaded heat cycle. They can also be uncharacteristically affectionate and would often rub themselves on things around the house and even on their owners. They would also tend to spray more during this time and lift their behind as in a mating position more frequently than they would have done during normal days when they are not in heat.
Duration of Heat Cycle
I remember when my female cat, Ginger, first started her heat cycle. She was uncontrollably meowling while everyone tried to sleep during the nights, and even in the mornings when everyone tried to work. Let’s just say that it was a very traumatic and unproductive week for all of us at the house. I even ended up sleeping in the office during the day, because I did not get even a wink of sleep during the night. This is also left our house reeking with urine smell for weeks on end.
The heat cycle of a cat can last for as short as 1 day to as long as 7 days, and during this time female cats can become restless and highly irritable at the same time. When a female cat is in heat they are basically looking for a male cat to copulate with and breed little kittens of their own, if not, the female cat would continue to exhibit such behaviors until her heat dies down. However, when mating does not happen in that cycle, she will continue to go in and out of her heat every 1 to 2 weeks. The heat cycle of a female cat therefore is completed every 3 weeks, unlike female humans whose cycles last for 28 days or more.
Although it makes sense for female cats to also experience vaginal bleeding during their heat cycle, it is simply not the case as it is it for female humans. When female cats do have vaginal bleeding during their heat cycle, it is a cause for alarm and not a natural part of changes in their hormones. It is best to have a female cat checked out by the local veterinarian if vaginal bleeding does occur, as this could be a sign of a possible miscarriage of the litter she has been carrying.
As you now know, female cats do not get periods as female humans do, some would say, that they’ve got it worse due to the extreme events that felines have to go through when they are in heat. Aside from cat population control, most owners opt to have their female cats spayed by their local veterinarian. This would save them and their feline a lot of uncomfortable, sleepless days, and save them both from the trouble of the endless meowling and the constant urge to go outside to find a mate.
Spaying is a paid surgical procedure that will remove a female cat’s uterus or ovaries and sometimes both. This procedure is the most effective birth control for pets such as cats and dogs to help curb the ever-increasing dog and cat population. Female cat owners can have their felines spayed as early as when they are 6 months of age or soon after their heat cycle starts.
Although, female cats do not have periods, they also go through their own cycle every 3 weeks. This might be a trying time for an owner and their cat, but just like when female humans menstruate, this is actually a time when a feline needs its owner’s love and care the most. Being extra patient and understanding the female cat when they are in heat will help make things a little bit easier for the cat and its owner. Showing a female cat extra attention and petting the more than usual during this time would strengthen the bond between a feline and her owner, leaving both happy and in good spirits.
Hi! I’m a certified cat lover and an unapologetic writer! That’s why I created SweetieKitty! Born in Connecticut, one sunny day of April, during the most interesting decade of past century! Nowadays I live in South Carolina, with my three tomcats! I’d love to read your comments on my article!
If you’re a new pet parent, you may wonder, “Do cats have periods?” or “Why is my cat bleeding?”
Female cats do, in fact, go through a monthly cycle, but their “periods” are quite different from human menstruation. Read on to find out what your cat in heat is feeling and what you can do to help.
Mammals and Menstruation
Female humans and their closest mammalian relatives have menstrual cycles during which the uterine lining sheds outside the body once every 28 to 38 days (there are always variations, of course). Other animals in this small group include the elephant shrew, bats and the spiny mouse.
Other female mammals of reproductive age have a period-like cycle, points out BBC Discover Wildlife, but they “reabsorb the old womb-lining rather than bleed it out.” This reproductive process, called estrus but more commonly referred to as being in “heat,” is what a cat undergoes in a monthly cycle when she isn’t spayed.
Cats are polyestrous breeders, explains Animal Planet, which means they go into heat multiple times a year. If a cat doesn’t mate, the heat cycle will repeat until she is spayed or becomes pregnant. Additionally, kitties that have all of their reproductive organs (which are necessary for going into heat in the first place) need a minimum of twelve hours of daylight for a normal cycle. But that doesn’t mean an indoor cat is safe— cats in a safe environment with artificial light have constant hormonal activity instead of for just half the year, notes Animal Planet. During the heaviest portion of her heat cycle your cat is at the mercy of her hormones, which are kicking into high gear.
Why Is My Cat Bleeding?
“When do cats have periods?” is an important question to consider, because knowing your kitty’s cycle will help you to identify why she is bleeding. Like humans, cats begin having an estrus cycle at the start of puberty, around the age of four to six months, and the cycle can last anywhere from seven to ten days. Unlike humans, who are fertile throughout the year, the prime time for cats to enter the estrus cycle is early spring to late fall.
In addition to your kitty’s howling and yelping, it’s at this time of the cycle that you may notice some light bleeding, which typically isn’t worrisome. Most likely, you’ll notice spots of blood on the floor or in her bedding. If you are familiar with your cat’s cycle and notice something out of the ordinary, contact your veterinarian right away in case there are other health concerns.
Cats are known for their oddball antics, but their weirdness will be amped up during their cycle. Along with making strange and unusual vocalizations, a cat in heat will exhibit unique behaviors, such as rolling on the floor, demanding more attention, rubbing against you or the furniture, spraying urine, or even trying to sneak outside, notes Petful.
Keeping Your Cat Healthy
The heat cycle can be difficult for cats, and the benefits of spaying your pet are numerous. For instance, cats are susceptible to diseases, such as ovarian, uterine and mammary cancer, but the chances of developing them are greatly reduced if your cat is spayed.
According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, your cat should be spayed before she goes into heat for the first time. The spaying procedure, performed at your vet’s office, consists of the removal of your cat’s reproductive organs, thereby eliminating her estrus cycle (she will no longer go into heat) and her possibility of becoming pregnant. Because cats can become pregnant during their very first reproductive cycle, it’s important to have her spayed in order to prevent feline overpopulation, emphasizes The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ® . Kittens are cute, but there just aren’t enough loving homes for all of them.
When you first adopt your cat, be sure to ask whether or not your cat is spayed. If you’re unsure, consult with your vet during your fur baby’s wellness appointment. This is also a good time to ask your vet for more information about your cat’s cycle and how to stop it from happening. While dealing with your cat during her estrus cycle may seem like a new challenge to understand, being educated and continuing to care for your cat the best you can is a great first step.
By Ashley Bates
Updated on Feb 3, 2022
We’ve all encountered a cat in heat—mainly because they aren’t quiet about it. Females in heat are highly vocal and exhibit a distinct set of behaviors. If you share your home with a female cat over six months of age, you probably know this all-too-well.
Usually, opting for a spay surgery is a surefire way to end these cycles permanently. But can cats still have these cycles even after they are fixed? Surprisingly, yes, there is always an underlying cause, and it’s usually vet-worthy.
What Exactly Happens During a Cat’s “Period”?
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When female cats reach sexual maturity, typically around the six-month marker, they enter their first heat cycle. Unlike humans and some other mammals, it’s very uncommon for a cat to bleed during this time.
Increase in Affectionate Behavior
When female cats enter a period called estrus, their behavior changes. They usually become overly affectionate—sometimes too affectionate and even demanding. You might observe them rubbing on the carpet, furniture, and even you.
Spraying or Urinating Outside of the Litter Box
Females in heat are usually highly vocal. Like their male counterparts, they can emit spray, which contains pheromones to attract potential suitors. So yes, some females, like males, can also spray, posing an even bigger issue.
Meowing for days—that’s what you’re going to hear. Cats in heat can keep you up all hours of the night and bother you during the day with their constant cries for attention.
A Change in Bodily Behaviors
You might notice your female rubbing themselves on literally everything. They go from being mild-tempered and relaxed to acting nervous, frantic, and moody. They might put their hind end in the air or rub their undercarriage on the carpet—all is normal and expected.
Your female might clean herself more than usual. You may observe her licking obsessively, even.
Trying to Escape Outside
In searching for a mate, your little lady might bolt for the door every time they get the chance. They are going to try really hard to answer the call of the wild, so you must have a cat in heat always contained to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
Spaying Your Cat: What Changes?
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When your cat is spayed, the veterinarian will remove her ovaries and uterus to stop heat cycles. The vet and technicians perform a surgery to remove the organs which, in turn, no longer sends signals to the body to reproduce.
When the ovaries are gone, the body no longer produces estrogen and therefore, they stop heat cycles from that point forward.
Signs of Heat After Spay
A cat exhibiting signs of heat after they have been spayed is never normal. Since spaying removes the ovaries, it eliminates the emission of hormones that trigger your cat’s cycles. If your cat keeps cycling, it’s time to call your vet without hesitation.
If you notice, at any point, that your cat is acting the same as an unaltered young female, it’s vital to check hormone levels and potentially have more testing to pinpoint what might be causing the behavior change.
Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
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Ovarian remnant syndrome is typically to blame for heat in spayed cats. When your cat is spayed, leftover ovarian tissue might not be properly removed, which causes the body to continue producing estrogen.
Also, it can happen when a small piece of tissue breaks away from the ovary and establishes a blood supply; it will continue producing hormones. If this is the case, your cat may return to seasonal heat cycles.
However, it can be months or even years before you see signs developing with ovarian remnant syndrome. Signs and symptoms of ovarian remnant syndrome mimic regular heat in cats, which we discussed earlier in the article.
Vaginal Cytology: A swab sampling of the vaginal area is taken during suspected heat to examine cells further microscopically. Baseline Hormone Level Checks:While high or abnormal hormone levels indicate ovarian remains, normal hormone levels do not rule out the possibility of it. Hormone Stimulation: This is the most accurate test. Synthetic stimulating hormones are administered to the cat and the progesterone is measured seven days later to confirm or rule out the presence of ovarian tissue. Ultrasound: This infrequently used method might show the small bits of tissue left in the body, however, is unreliable due to the many variants including the size, the stage of the cycle, and the skills of the veterinarian or technician performing the test.
Taking Your Cat to the Vet
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If you notice recurring signs of heat after your cat is spayed, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. It’s a time-sensitive issue and needs to be addressed immediately. Your vet will run the proper testing so you can get to the bottom of the problem.
Usually, your vet will run bloodwork first to check your cat’s hormone levels. If there is an influx of estrogen and progesterone post-surgery, it will require further examination.
Suppose your vet verifies that your cat indeed has ovarian remnant syndrome. In that case, they will surgically remove the remaining tissue to correct the problem—truly ending heat cycles and normalizing your cat’s bodily functions.
So, the real answer is, no, cats do not have periods if they have had a successful spay surgery. Ovarian remnant syndrome is a rare but real condition requiring additional surgery to remove the remaining tissue.
If you suspect your spayed cat is going into heat cycles, make an appointment with your vet right away to check hormones levels. If our cat is not yet spayed, know that spaying takes care of behavioral issues associated with heat in almost all cases.
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People with depression experience persistent feelings of sadness and a lack of interest in life. When it comes to cats, it’s impossible to know if they experience the mental state of sadness, but we can observe their behaviors to determine whether they experience a lack of interest in life and may be suffering from depression.
Here’s some helpful info and signs to watch for to help you understand your cat’s mental state.
Can a Cat Be Depressed?
Yes, your cat can get depressed. Some possible situations that lead to depressive signs in cats include:
Loss of a family member
Moving to a new house
A change in the family’s schedule
A change in physical health
Loss of a Family Member
Many people still think of cats as solitary in nature. However, cats can be more or less social, depending on their experiences and living situations, and they can experience loss and grief similar to people.
When a family member moves out of the house or passes away, the family cat will experience a loss if they had a social connection to that person. It is also not uncommon for cats to grieve when a feline or canine housemate leaves or dies.
Moving to a New House
A change from the current living environment to something new can be stressful to both pet and pet guardian.
Aside from the stress of the move itself, moving from a large house to a smaller house or apartment would cut down the amount of space a cat has to explore and may restrict their level of activity, leading to depression.
In addition, when a cat that is used to having access to the outdoors moves to an apartment where they can’t go outside, they can become depressed.
Changes in the Family’s Schedule
When your work schedule changes and you’re absent for longer periods of time, your cat’s mental state may be affected. Also, when you go away on vacation and your cat is either left with a pet sitter or sent to a boarding place, your cat has no way of knowing that you will come back for them, so they may experience depression.
Changes in Physical Health
If an active cat starts to develop arthritis and can no longer jump up to their comfy spot on the couch, bed, or window, it can be depressing and lead to a loss of enrichment. As a result, your cat can become depressed.
In situations when a cat experiences a sudden loss of a limb or an eye, or they start losing their sight, that would totally affect how they navigate in the world. Some cats may adjust really well, but an older cat may take longer to adjust and may become depressed.
How Can You Tell if a Cat Is Depressed?
Some depressed cats may exhibit very obvious changes in behavior, whereas other cats may only exhibit subtle signs that you need to carefully look for.
Cats experiencing depression may show:
Loss of interest in playing with their toys
Less interest in interacting with feline/canine housemates or family members
Decreased interest in going outside (if allowed outdoor access)
An increase in the amount of time spent sleeping
A decreased in the amount of time spent grooming (they have an unkept coat or mats)
Increased frequency of urination in the litter box
House soiling or not consistently using their litter box. Whenever a cat does not consistently use the litter box, take your cat to your vet to be examined.
Some of these signs can also be exhibited by a cat if they have an underlying health problem. Cats are predators to small creatures but prey to larger predators. As prey animals, cats have learned to hide the signs of any physical illness really well. Therefore, it is always important to have your cat examined by your veterinarian and diagnostic tests performed to rule out any underlying medical problems.
Do Indoor Cats Get Depressed?
It is easier to determine if an indoor cat is depressed because you see them more often. But outdoor cats can also experience depression.
Remember that depression in cats is a state of mind that is reflected by an overall decrease in activity. Your cat is no longer engaging in activities they once enjoyed, and they are sleeping more and more. So instead of exploring the yard or neighborhood, your cat may stay in one area of the yard or may not even go out at all.
How Do You Cheer Up a Cat That’s Depressed?
Although cats can experience depression, there are many things you can do to help them improve their mental health.
Spend Quality Time With Your Cat
To help your depressed cat, you can spend more time with them. Just sitting with them and petting them can soothe to a depressed cat. Some cats may enjoy ear rubs, scratches on the side of their face or under the chin, or even being brushed.
Introduce New Toys and Games
You can also try to spark your cat’s interest in life again by engaging your cat in more activities or offering them new toys of different sizes, textures, and colors.
Actively participate in playing, using fishing pole–type toys to entice your cat. You can also offer puzzle toys to encourage your cat to work for tasty treats, or provide toys that move around the floor in unusual patterns or make interesting noises. Download games made for cats to your mobile devices to engage your cat or subscribe to cat TV.
Offer New Types of Food
Some cats may show interest in different flavors or brands of food, or even human food such as boiled or roasted chicken, yogurt, or cheese. Other cats may respond well to meat-based baby food. Before feeding your cat human food, have your vet okay the type and amount of food.
Play Calming Music
There is soothing music designed specifically for cats that you can find on YouTube, such as a channel called “Music for Cats” that some cats may enjoy. The music contains underlying tracks of cats purring and other frequencies of sound that cats can hear.
There are natural supplements that contain l-theanine and l-tryptophan that can increase serotonin in a cat’s brain to help combat depression. Serotonin is sometimes known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, and higher levels are connected to feelings of calm and happiness.
Use Pheromones and Invigorating Scents
Feline pheromones may be calming to cats. You can also offer your cats different scents, such as mint, catnip, and rosemary to waken their senses.
Consider Adopting Another Cat
Some cats may enjoy the companionship of another cat. However, careful consideration is needed. Even if your cat was very social with a previous feline housemate who passed away, getting another cat may not be the right answer. Your resident cat may not want a replacement for their recently departed housemate.
Get Professional Help
You can also speak to your regular veterinarian regarding psychoactive medication for your cat. Ask for a recommendation for a veterinary behaviorist for a customized treatment plan and pharmaceuticals to help your cat.