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Do Female Cats Have Periods? Facts & FAQ

If you are a proud cat owner working diligently to create a perfect environment for your cat only to find your cat stressed at specific times, you may wonder why this happens. Female cats, just like most other mammals, experience having their period during heat, but this experience is different than in humans. You likely won’t notice any blood and if you do, it will be in very small traces. Cats being extremely clean will usually prevent this situation from happening.

If you want to know how exactly cats experience periods, read our article below.


Do Female Cats Have Periods?

While female cats experience having periods during an estrus cycle, their experience is much different than in humans. You may notice only a small amount of blood when your cat is in heat, which she will usually lick away. You can see your cat grooming herself more often during this period, which is why it is uncommon to find blood spots around your house. If you notice excessive bleeding, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible, as this is not a typical occurrence.

cat in heat bends in an arm chair
Image Credit: iwciagr, Shutterstock

Estrous Cycle in Cats

An estrous cycle is a physiological change that occurs in certain species of female mammals, most commonly observed among feline and canine species. Estrous cycles begin when the female reaches sexual maturity. A feline estrous cycle consists of several stages and starts when they reach sexual maturity—at around 6 months old. During this stage a female cat will emit specific pheromones and hormones, telling the males that they are ready to mate. When a female cat is sexually receptive, we refer to it as being in heat.

Each estrous cycle lasts around 7 days, sometimes up to 21 days. The period between each heat lasts between 2 and 19 days, and if the cat doesn’t mate during estrus, she will go out of the heat cycle for a shorter period.

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When Do Cats Go into Heat?

A female cat that hasn’t been spayed will probably experience its first heat at around 6 months of age, although this change can come earlier or later, depending on certain factors. The times of heat also depend on environmental factors such as the location and specific temperature. Cats that live in warmer and tropical regions, or indoor cats, tend to go into heat cycles throughout the year because of the prolonged daylight. Female cats in the northern hemisphere will typically go into heat only between January and late fall.

female of Lilac point Siamese cat
Image Credit: tovsla, Shutterstock

Signs Your Cat Is in Heat

Unlike with female dogs, spotting a female cat in heat can be challenging. The changes in behavior tend to be subtle, especially during the first few seasons. One of the most noticeable personality changes is a more affectionate nature towards you and even strangers. She may also exhibit aggressive behavior and alternate between moods quickly. If your cat spends most of the time indoors, you will probably notice her trying to leave the house and even becoming much more vocal to try and attract a male. Keeping her inside is a good idea to prevent her from having an unwanted litter. Because the cat’s urine contains pheromones and hormones, you may notice your cat marking her scent. Signs include:

  • Excessive vocalization
  • Seeking attention from you or other family members
  • Rubbing themselves against you or against furniture
  • Marking their territory more often
  • Male cats visiting your yard frequently
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Taking Care of Your Cat During Heat

Since heat can be a stressful time for cats that don’t mate, there are several things you can do to keep her calm and happy. The most important thing is to give her a lot of attention, especially to play with her more during this time. You can introduce catnip to make her more content and focus her attention elsewhere. While its effect won’t last very long, it can make heat much more bearable for your cat.

An additional sense of comfort can be accomplished by providing your cat with a heating pad, and a blanket can have a similar effect.

cat meowing
Image Credit: Stanimir G.Stoev, Shutterstock

When You Should Spay Your Cat?

Depending on whether you want a litter of kittens from your cat or not, there are several things you can do to keep her healthy. If you don’t want your cat to have a litter, your best and safest option is spaying.

Because a heat cycle can be difficult for a cat, many owners opt for spaying their female felines. If you are not looking to have a litter, this can be the safest and most effective solution. Spaying can significantly improve your cat’s health by reducing the risk of many health issues. Unspayed cats are susceptible to various medical conditions such as ovarian, mammary, and uterine cancer, which is an avoidable risk by spaying them.


Final Thoughts

Female cats experience a physiological change in their bodies known as a “heat”. While in a sense cats do experience having periods, this is entirely different from a human’s experience. A cat’s womb lining gets absorbed rather than it bleeding out, so you shouldn’t expect to find any blood in your home. Too much blood during the heat is a cause for concern, so you should take your cat to the veterinarian if this occurs.

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Featured Image Credit Sergey Nivens, Shutterstock