The feline mating season is often considered one of the noisiest times of the year. How often have you been awakened by the incessant yowling of cats outside your window? You may be able to cope by putting on headphones or burying your head under the pillow to get rid of the noises if the cat is a stray or your neighbor’s, but what if the cat is right next to you? It will be your responsibility to figure out how to get a cat out of heat.
If you do not intend to keep the cat for breeding purposes, you will definitely benefit from learning how to get a cat out of the heat. Not only will the noise pollution finally stop, but you will also breathe easier since your cat won’t try to run away from home anymore in search of a mate. While estrus is a natural phenomenon and there’s not much you can do to prevent it save from outright spaying your cat, there are things you can do to get your cat out of it quicker.
To ensure that you won’t lose your sanity to the noise, this guide will give you a detailed step-by-step guide on how to get a cat out of the heat. But before we provide the solutions, let’s take a moment to gain a deeper understanding of what a cat’s heat really is and when it usually happens so you can prepare for it.
Basic Information about a Cat’s Heat
If your feline is a female, she will experience heat cycles or feline estrus cycles which are seasonal or hormonally-driven. When a cat enters her heat cycle, it basically means that she’s mature, fertile, and ready to mate.
When Does It All Start?
The age at which cats get into puberty greatly varies from cat to cat depending on the environment or the breed.
Estrus can occur early when a cat is only around 4 to 5 months old (happens more often with certain breeds such as the Siamese), but in most cases, it happens when a cat is around ten months or older.
How Often Will It Happen?
You see, cats are polyestrous breeders—meaning they experience several estrus/heat cycles in a given year. To be particular, queens usually experience as many as five heat cycles in a calendar year. Although queens usually go into heat during the spring and the fall (seasons when food is in abundance in the wild, so kittens have better chances of surviving), there are other factors such as your cat’s overall health, age, and the number of mates available that may greatly influence or affect when she gets into estrus.
How Does It Work?
The factor that influences a cat’s heat period the most is increased day length (i.e., when days are longer than nights).
This mostly occurs in late winter and during the months of summer, spring, and autumn. Here’s how it works:
- These changes in photoperiod are recorded by a special part of the cat’s brain known as the pineal gland.
- This part of the brain produces a hormone known as melatonin which is responsible for the seasonal fluctuations of your cat’s heat cycle.
- The melatonin hormone is mostly produced at night. Now, what happens when days are longer than nights is that this hormone will be reduced—thus affecting the hypothalamus (a region responsible for your cat’s heat cycle).
- Due to a scarcity of the melatonin hormone, the hypothalamus is forced to release a hormone known as GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone), which travels via the blood to the pituitary gland.
- Finally, this region of the brain releases two hormones: FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinising Hormone), which travel via the bloodstream to your cat’s ovaries and uterus to cause heat cycles.
Now, following the above explanation, it’s now clear that cats get into heat when the days are longer than nights. As we have mentioned, since cats are polyestrous (unlike dogs which are diestrous), your cat may experience more than one heat cycle in a year especially when she’s not pregnant.
How to Calm a Cat in Heat
Now, you might wonder why you should try to calm a cat in heat from the first place. After all, it’s a perfectly natural phenomenon—shouldn’t it stop eventually on its own? Yes, it will stop on its own, but not soon enough.
Other than the fact that having to go through the noise for a week or two (yes, it can last for 14 days) up to five times a year could drive you crazy, estrus can also be bad for your cat. Some reasons as to why you’ll need to calm your queen down when she’s on estrus include:
- To avoid unwanted pregnancy.
- To ensure a purebred pedigree. Here, cat owners may prefer to breed their cats with particular male breeds.
- To prevent transmission of diseases such as leukemia.
- To keep the cat from running away in search of a mate. Cats that are usually kept indoors may meet with unwanted accidents if she suddenly finds herself outdoors.
With that being said, we will now give a detailed how-to procedure on calming your queen down when she’s in heat.
Step One: Make Sure the Cat is in Heat
Sometimes symptoms of estrus may be similar to those of pain or sickness. Therefore, the first step you need to take is to rule out any possibility of illnesses and be certain that your cat is actually in heat. Cats are induced ovulators—meaning they only ovulate when mated. At this time, it’s pretty easy to recognize behavioral changes and unusual signs even when you’re not used to felines.
Sign #1: Increased Affection
When your cat is in heat, she becomes more affectionate than she typically would be. She will repeatedly rub around your ankles persistently, making it impossible for you to even walk around.
She may also rub against the wall, the furniture, door frames, or against other animals in the house with her cheeks and chin. Since a cat’s scent glands are located on the cheeks and chin, your feline will repeatedly rub against anything as a way of advertising herself to potential males.
Sign #2: Excess Vocalizing
Another sign of a cat in heat is increased or persistent vocalization. This is one of the most common signs. What happens is that a female cat becomes vocal and will persistently meow/yowl as she goes around the house. The wailing or rather plaintive distressed cry might even keep you awake all night as it’s the only way for indoor cats to call potential mates to them since they can’t go out to hunt for males themselves.
Sign #3: Commando Crawling
This is another common sign. What happens is that your cat tends to flatten her front legs close to the ground while sticking her rear into the air as a way of preparing for mating.
Another sign that goes hand in hand with this one is the regular tail deflection reflex. When your cat is in commando position, she tends to move her tail to the side—exposing her vulva and getting ready to mate.
Sign #4: Excessive Leaking of the Genitals
Another sign you’ll notice when your cat is in heat is prolonged leaking of the genitals. You see, when a cat is in heat, her vulva automatically swells—causing a lot of discomforts. You may notice her washing the area more frequently.
Sign #5: Frequent Disappearance
Another sign that tells you a cat is in heat is frequent disappearance or attempts to dash out of the house whenever the doors are open. What really happens is that your cat will attempt to go out in a bid to find a mate.
If you don’t want your cat to get pregnant at the moment, it’s advisable that you lock her indoors and forbid her from going out until the heat is over.
Sign #6: Rolling
Finally, some female cats in heat will tend to roll back and forth on the floor or exhibit restless pacing while wailing. Some cat owners who are not used to cats might think the cat is in pain, but that’s not the case. She’s just in heat.
Step Two: Isolate Your Queen from Male Cats
Now that you’re certain your queen is in heat, it’s time to isolate her from all male cats to avoid mating. Here, you’ll need to keep your cat indoors so she wouldn’t get mated outside the house. Don’t forget to lock the doors and windows so no male cat could come into the house from outside.
If by any chance you have a male cat, if possible, leave him at a friend’s house during the mating season to avoid any contact with your queen. Remember that when a queen is in heat, the affection could drive her to the point of mating with her mature kittens.
Step Three: Keep Her Warm at All Times
Since cats are always restless when in heat, giving them something warm to sit on may soothe them enough to make them calm down. Consider placing a warm blanket, a towel, or a heat pack to keep her still and calm.
Here, we would also like to recommend a product to every cat owner out there which will prove handy during this delicate period. Although there are many options one can consider to help calm their cats down during the estrus cycle, one painless and relatively comfortable method is by using a microwave heating pad, such as the Snuggle Safe Pet Bed Microwave Heating Pad.
A plate-sized pad made from a non-toxic thermal compound, this heating pad offers your cat up to 10 hours of uninterrupted warmth and comfort during her estrus cycle. This safe pet bed is compact and doesn’t feature any wires. Pet owners are required to heat up the pad in their microwaves for a few minutes then place it on the cat’s pet bed for maximum comfort and consistent warmth.
When it comes to cleaning, there’s nothing to worry about. Using a damp cloth, simply wipe this heating pad or simply spray a disinfectant before wiping it dry. For effective performance, you’ll be advised to let this pad cool down completely before reheating once more.
Step Four: Give Your Cat Some Attention
This is one of the most effective methods of calming your cat down when she’s in heat. Here, you may opt to give your cat some stimulating toys to play with, or you can simply pet her, massage her, or brush her hair to make her feel loved. By doing this, you will distract her mind and make her forget about her mental discomforts and desire to mate.
Step Five: Try Herbal Remedies
Some cat owners have reported success in using herbal remedies while others have not. This means that herbal remedies are variable and may or may not work on your cat depending on their physiology as well as what the remedy is made of.
Since there are many types available, it’s recommended that you buy many small samples and try them out to see which one works well for your cat. Each herbal remedy has its own terms of usage; therefore, it’s advisable that you follow the instructions on the labels to avoid messing up. The most popular herbal remedy you should consider is the Rescue Remedy for pets.
Step Six: Keep the Litter Box Clean
Earlier in this post, we mentioned that one notable sign of a cat in heat is scent marking. Your queen is likely to scent-mark as a way of attracting male cats to them. Keep her litter box clean to ensure that your queen won’t get the desire to mark the entire house with urine. Some cat parents think that only male cats spray, but that’s not true.
Step Seven: Consider Spaying the Cat
The last nail in the estrus coffin is considering a major surgery to end the estrus/heat cycle once and for all. This method doesn’t calm your queen down when she’s in heat, but it definitely stops her from going into heat or getting pregnant ever again.
Spaying is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of your cat’s ovaries and the uterus. According to professional vets, this procedure is not recommended when the cat is already in heat as it can cause excessive bleeding which can kill the cat. Therefore, it’s advisable to get it done before or after the cat gets to her estrus or heat cycle.
Step Eight: Use Hormonal Therapy
Finally, we have hormonal therapy which can be considered if spay surgery is not available. Hormones such as prostaglandin and estrogen can be considered as a way of ending your cat’s estrus cycle.
Although this method is effective, there are serious health risks involved such as tumors or uterine infections. Therefore, before deciding on which method to go with, it’s advisable that you first consult your vet to learn more about what to expect from each method.
Spaying your cat is recommended; not only will it nip your problem in the bud once and for all, but your cat will also benefit from it. Spayed cats are known to be healthier and happier as they can focus on things other than mating.
However, if for some reason spaying your cat is out of the question, we believe the second most effective method of calming a cat down is by exercising patience and trying to keep your cat as comfortable as possible using heat pads and whatnot during her estrus. This method is natural and it doesn’t expose your cat to pains or dangers the way hormonal therapy may.
Just to note, cat owners keeping cats for breeding purposes should be very careful when determining how fast or slow the growth rate of a cat is. For instance, Siamese cats get into puberty when they’re still kittens. Such cats should be separated from toms until they’re at least one year old and mature enough to handle the instincts and emotions that come with motherhood.
Will you consider spaying your cat? Or would you prefer using one of the other methods explained above to keep your cat calm during estrus? For those cat owners who have given these methods a try, we encourage you to share your experience in the comment box below. If you have anything extra to add, please don’t feel shy to mention it in your comment.