Determining whether or not a cat is in estrous, commonly referred to as “in heat”, can be somewhat more difficult than in animals such as cats. This period of time in which cats go through can even lead owners to believe that the cat is ill- but have no worries, this period of time is in no way harmful to a pet despite constant howls or yells.
The only changes that can be noticed while a cat is in estrous are behavioural changes. This can be tough to spot, but the most common side effects are more frequent “yowls” or meowing. The pitch of the cat’s meow is often elevated as well. The cat will also most likely be much more affectionate, and seek to rub or purr much more than usual. At the climax of estrous, the cat may even engage in provocative stances to encourage other male cats to mate.
The interesting part of the cat’s heat cycle is that it may occur quite frequently. Every 6 months is the average time a cat will start another estrous cycle. Interestingly, if the cat doesn’t find a mate, the estrous cycle may begin much sooner than this. In fact, cats can cycle in and out of estrous until a mate is found. This is usually demanding on both the cat and the owner, so resolution of some sort is usually needed. Even more interesting is the fact that cats can have a fake sense of pregnancy induced on them, which makes the period of estrous delayed for around a month.
Another interesting point in the cat breeding cycle is that they have a breeding cycle based on daylight time. During breeding season, a cat will likely go through estrous several times. When fewer daylight hours are observed, most cats will stop their estrus period and go into a state of anestrous. Oddly enough, an indoor cat may have a year-long breeding cycle as a result of electrical lighting taking effect on the amount of “daylight” each day.
Lastly, pregnancy will often result from the breeding season. Pregnancy can be noticed when the cat behaves much like it has during estrous- which is to say, it will be much more affectionate and purr more often A veterinarian can either use an ultrasound machine, or palpate the possibly impregnated cat for signs of kittens. The nipples of the cat may also turn a darker shade of red during the pre-birth stages of pregnancy.
Estrous in cats can be difficult to spot at times since most changes are behavioural, but there are still several guidelines to go by. Knowing exactly when and how long these periods may or may not last is vital in determining when a cat may be expected to become pregnant. This can either help owners prepare for the pregnancy, or get the cat fixed to make pregnancy impossible. Either way, the signs of estrous are important to keep in mind when breeding season rolls around, and every cat in the neighbourhood is acting just a little more strange than usual.
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