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How Long & How Often Cats Are in Heat? – All About Signs, Phases & Duration

If you own a cat and you notice a couple of wild tomcats roaming around your house or trying to sneak in, it may be time to check whether your cat is on heat. This guide will cover everything you need about cats in heat, including signs, phases, and prevention methods. Let us know how long are cats in heat, its symptoms, and post care tips.

How Long are Cats in Heat?

Usually, a female cat stays in heat for about four to seven days. They can go into heat several times a year until they reproduce. If a pet cat that stays indoors is not neutered, it can go into heat every two to three weeks; each cycle lasts about four to seven days. Cats hit their first heat cycle, also known as oestrous, when they reach puberty. Female cats in heat can last as little as one day to as long as twenty days. The heat cycle keeps repeating until your cat is either neutered or she mates.

Stages of Heat Cycles in Cats

 There are many phases during a cat heat cycle. Find out more about how long are cats in heat and what these stages mean for your feline friend. There are five stages of heat cycle in cats.

#1 Proestrus

In this stage, a female cat called a queen attracts uncastrated male cats, also known as toms. She is still getting ready for mating. The proestrus stage usually lasts for a day or two.

#2 Estrus

In this stage, a female cat gets in the heat for about four to seven days. She will draw male cats’ attention and is now receptive to mating. In this stage, the queen is more vocal. During estrus in cats, they tend to rub their back on their owners and other furniture or surfaces. If the cat mates in estrus, it will induce ovulation. A female cat usually must mate about five to six times to get pregnant.

#3 Interestrus

If the queen does not breed or gets pregnant during anestrus, she will enter into interestrus. This is the time between heats. Her oestrogen level declines. After around two days to twenty-one days, she will enter the heat once more. Proestrus, estrus, and interestrus cycles will continue until the cat gets pregnant.

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#4 Metestrus

This is the time after mating. It typically lasts thirty-forty days. If the queen is pregnant, pregnancy will last sixty to sixty-four days.

#5 Anestrus

This is the period of inactivity. Which means her sexual hormones are inactive. It lasts two to three months.

Signs of a Cat in Heat

 A female cat hits its first heating cycle from 6-12 months old. Some common signs of a cat in heat are:

#1 Loudly vocal

Your cat will chant more loudly than usual. It is called a ‘cat mating call.’ It can go on for several days. These sounds can be depressive for us.

#2 Agitated/anxious

Your cat cannot get comfortable or be calm. Mating calls accompany this action.

#3 Redundant grooming

During this period, your cat will spend more time than usual licking and cleaning its genital area. Their genital area may get swollen up during heat, but it is not likely to bleed. If it is bleeding, then a visit to the vet is advised.

#4 Showcase affection

During a cat’s heating cycle, it will rub its back and sides on furniture and other surfaces or its owner’s feet and legs.

#5 Wants to escape

Your female or male cat in heat will eagerly want to be outside and attempt to attract a tom by mating calls. You should not be surprised if your pet cat runs away for over a week during the heat.

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How to Prevent a Cat from Going into Heat?

In order to stop a cat from going into heat, you need to give it sexual stimulation and block the hormones responsible for it. Learn some tips on how to prevent a cat from going into heat.

  • You should avoid letting your cat breed because pet overpopulation is a major problem.
  • Spaying or neutering a cat can prevent them from medical problems relevant to reproductive organs.
  • Owners must get their cats spayed because cats can get pregnant as much as 5 times a year, with 4 kittens each time on average, making it difficult for their owners to handle.
  • If your cat is male, get it neutered and spayed; if female, as soon as they are 6 months old.
  • Keep your cat away from the opposite gender (if the opposite gender cat is not neutered/spayed).
  • Keep your cat indoors all the time.
  • Give your female cat birth control pills megestrol acetate’; it prevents them from entering the heat cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the cat mating season?

In Northern Hemisphere, a cat goes into heat roughly from mid-January to mid-October. It depends on the number of daylight hours. For house cats, the entire year could be the breeding season.

Can my cat become pregnant before 1 year of age?

Cats hit their first heat cycle, known as oestrous, when they reach puberty, mostly when they are 6 months old. But it may start from 4 months of age in small-haired breeds. The average age for heat to start in long-haired breeds is about 18 months.

How frequently can my cat go into heat?

If the cat hasn’t successfully mated, it can go in heat every 14-18 days.

When can cats get pregnant?

Cats can get pregnant anytime they are in heat. The mating induces the release of the egg.

Is it important to let my cat have a litter or the first estrus cycle before spaying her?

No. Inbreeding is quite common in cats and is not healthy; the spaying process can help avoid these instances and other accidental pregnancies.


It is advisable to get your cat spayed to avoid unwanted pregnancies and a bunch of adorable litter that you wouldn’t be able to put the kittens up for adoption. Apart from this, if your cat is in heat and is demanding more attention than usual, do not be irritated. Treat them with love, affection, and care. In case they get pregnant, provide them with solicitude, a nutritious diet, and a comfortable place.