Do cats have periods ? Cats are also mammals just like human beings. They are far smaller in size to human beings. So, do cats also experience or undergo the same biological phenomena, just like us?
For instance, do cats have periods, similar to human females? Do they also bleed like humans? If not, what really happens?I’m sure most of you are curious just like myself!
Let’s find out about this particular occurrence and how it impacts both cats as well as their human counterparts.
- Do cats get periods?
- What is the estrus cycle?
- When do cats have heat cycles?
- Do cats bleed during their periods?
- Cat period symptoms
- Symptoms of cat pregnancy
- What to do when a cat is in heat?
- What happens if a cat is not spayed?
Do cats get periods ?
Female cats do undergo a certain monthly cycle. However, it is different to that experienced by human females.
Generally, female humans and other close mammalian species to humans such as primates, have menstrual cycles where the uterine lining is removed from the body once every 28 – 35 days. They bleed out during these days.
A female cat who is not spayed undergoes something different known as estrus cycle. Here, the old womb-lining is reabsorbed rather than bled out. This is commonly known as being in heat. A female cat can become pregnant during this time.
What is the estrus cycle ?
A cat’s reproductive cycle is known as the estrus or heat cycle. Female cats are able to mate, ovulate and give birth to kittens during this period.
There are several stages in each cycle. Proestrus, estrus, postestrus (diestrus) and anestrus are the 4 phases of a cat’s reproductive cycle. When a female cat is sexually receptive or in heat, it is the stage known as estrus.
Cats are seasonally polyestrous. This means they can have several cycles during the breeding season. The breeding season can vary according to geographic and environmental factors such as temperature and the number of daylight hours.
Each cycle can last for several days, six days being the average length. If an unsprayed female cat does not mate during estrus, she will go out of heat for a short period.
The complete estrus cycle of a cat can range from one to six weeks. Three weeks is the average cycle length.
The act of breeding in cats, stimulates the release of eggs from the ovaries. Thus cats are known as induced ovulators. Three to four matings within 24-hour period are required in most female cats for ovulation to occur.
An unsprayed female cat or queen can breed at any time when in heat. Two cats take only a minute or two to mate. They can also mate several times in a short period of time.
Queens can mate with several different male cats during this period. Thus a litter of kittens can have several different fathers! The queen will go out of heat within a day or two when ovulation occurs.
Female cats can be pregnant for an average of nine weeks or 63 days. This can last up to 71 days. Pregnant cats are not receptive to male cats until two weeks after birth of kittens.
When do cats have heat cycles ?
- The first estrus cycle in a cat occurs when they reach puberty.
- Puberty or sexual maturity first occurs when a cat is about six months old.
- However, this can vary slightly by time of the year as well as the breed.
- Some cats can reach puberty between four months and a year.
- Cats in the Northernhemisphere have their cycle from January to late fall.
- Cats in more tropical regions or indoor cats who get artificial lighting, can have their cycle all year round.
Do cats bleed during their periods ?
- Fortunately for cat owners, female cats do not normally bleed when they are in heat.
- If you do see your cat bleeding, contact your vet immediately.
- This can be due to some other illness such as vaginitis or if your cat is pregnant, she may be undergoing a miscarriage.
- Most symptoms of estrus in cats are behavioral.
Cat period symptoms
- Generally, a female cat in heat will show several behaviors which are not found in normal cats.
- They will become extra vocal and start calling loudly. This can sound like a yowl and the cat is actually calling for her mates to come and mate with her.
- She might also start to roll on the ground more than usual.
- A cat in heat can become more friendly towards people and tolerate their petting more than usual.
- They can also raise their tail and rear end when stroked.
- She will also lower her front legs and raise the rear end in the presence of a male cat. This is known as lordosis.
- The most annoying symptom is the urination!
- They will urinate everywhere, on sofas, carpets, beddings etc. as a means of marking or release their pheromones for male cats to know they are in heat.
- Thus make sure to find the best method to clean up their mess!
Symptoms of cat pregnancy
- A cat pregnancy will be apparent several weeks after getting pregnant.
- Sometimes, some cats will experience morning sickness, early in their pregnancy.
- They will vomit occasionally and be less interested in food.
- When the pregnancy progresses, they will be more interested in food.
- Their behavior can become more affectionate.
- They will also sleep more.
- The nipples will become swollen and rose colored around 18-21 weeks.
- The belly will be noticeable by 3 weeks.
- The mammary glands will start producing milk towards the end of the pregnancy.
- During the later stages of pregnancy, the mother will start to look for a home where she can deliver safely.
- This is most likely a cupboard or some other warm quiet spot.
What to do when a cat is in heat ?
- If you are a breeder, you can allow your cat to breed till they are about 5 years old.
- Female cats who are not spayed can get pregnant throughout their life.
- However, the quality and number of kittens decrease with increasing age of the mother cat.
- You can also keep your cat away from male cats which can be rather difficult with the constant yowling and marking!
- She can also work her tension by shredding toys such as something stuffed with catnip.
- The best solution is spaying.
- This means surgical sterilization which is also known as ovariohysterectomy.
- It can be done when the kitten is six months or even before that since some can go into heat at four months.
- Some people believe that if a cat becomes pregnant at least once before getting spayed, she will be more affectionate and sociable.
- This is not true.
- The affectionate nature of a cat will not be influenced by pregnancy.
- The procedure of neutering a cat can take several hours.
- After being spayed, cats will no longer experience the hormone flux that occurs during heat cycles.
- She will be quieter and also not be able to breed.
What happens if a cat is not spayed ?
- Apart from having a brood of kittens running all over your house, female cats who are not spayed can run into serious health issues.
- Several heat cycles that do not end in pregnancy can cause a life threatening condition in cats.
- This is called pyometra.
- A female cat releases eggs and the lining of the uterus develops.
- An infection in the lining of the uterus can develop in cats who have had many ovulations.
- There are two types of pyometra known as open and closed.
- In open pyometra a discharge leaves through the open cervix and out of the vagina.
- The pus does not escape in cats with closed pyometra.
- Symptoms of pyometra are loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, fever, abdominal pain, panting, dehydration, excessive thirst and urination.
- Contact your vet immediately if your cat shows these symptoms.
- Treatment is to surgically remove the infected uterus.
Female cats undergo a heat cycle or estrus cycle which is different to the menstrual cycle in human females. Do cats have periods ? Not quite like humans!
Human females tend to bleed due to the breakdown and removal of uterine lining from the body. Female cats who are not spayed, have the uterine lining reabsorbed.
Hence cats do not bleed out during their heat cycles but show several behavioral changes such as yowling or calling for mates, more friendly behavior towards humans, rolling, urinating all over the place to mark their presence to male cats.
Cats who undergo the estrus cycle can become pregnant with kittens sired by different fathers. They start the heat cycle at puberty which is four months to a year in cats, depending on the breed.
The best option is to have your cat spayed by about four months to stop it from getting pregnant and giving you a whole cat family!
Contact your vet for more information and also if your cat shows any unnatural behavior.
Click here if your interested in tiger names for cats.