Female cats that are not spayed will eventually come into heat (technically called estrus (or oestrus), and the signs are unambiguous, once you know what to look for. While the cats' estrus levels rise, causing her to come into heat, since we have no easy way to measure those levels at home, we have to observe her changes in behavior Here are some behavioral symptoms to watch for if you suspect your diva is in heat.
Time Required: Varies
- Immediately preceding oestrus, your female cat may become unusually affectionate, by sidling up and rubbing her hind quarters against furniture, stuffed toys, and other cats. She is not particular, and may even pick one or more of her favorite humans.
- She may spend excessive time licking her genital area. Note: Lacking the other behavioral traits on this list, genital licking can be a symptom of a urinary tract disorder, which can be serious if not treated promptly.
- The Queen (name for female cats of breeding age) will vocalize loudly. This "calling" may go on for several days, unless she mates.
- She will assume a mating position: head down, forelegs bent, rear quarters raised to expose the perineum (this raised posture is called lordosis), with the tail raised and held to the side of the body. Her rear legs will tread rhythmically, as if walking in place.
- Queenie may also spray vertical surfaces with a strongly scented fluid. She will accomplish this by backing up to the surface and raising her tail high. The tail may quiver, and she may perform the rhythmic treading described in step four.
- If your female cat does not mate, she will go into oestrus as often as every two to three weeks, for several months each year, until she either mates or is spayed.
"But I Can't Afford to Spay Her!"
Believe me, you can't afford NOT to spay your female cat. What happens when she finds a mate and gives birth to kittens nine weeks later? Can you afford to care for a litter of kittens? Check out this article on the cost of raising one cat. You already have an idea since you're waffling over the cost of spaying your girl. Fortunately, there are some available alternatives, possibly in your community. Some animal welfare groups will provide coupons for certain veterinary offices to provide low-cost spays. There are also low-cost clinics in some areas.
- Unless she is a qualified pedigreed breeder, your female cat should be spayed. It will not only cease the uncomfortable heat cycles but prevent certain serious medical problems.
- Your veterinarian may be able to give your female cat hormones to stop the oestrus if spaying is not immediately possible.
- Female cats as young as four months can go into oestrus.