Do Cats Bleed When In Heat? Cat’s Heat Cycle & Bleeding Explained
When it’s that time of the month, it’s normal for women of age to get a visit from Aunt Flo. And so we wonder if the same applies to female cats. Do cats bleed when in heat? Is there such a thing as having a period in the cat world?
If you’re among the many pet parents who have a queen that bleeds when in heat, you’ve come to the right page.
Here at Feline Living, you’ll discover whether the bloody discharge is normal in the feline realm. Besides that, you’ll also learn what goes on when your cat is in heat, what to do about it, and more.
Do Cats Bleed When In Heat?
Unlike most female mammals (think humans and other animals like dogs, bats, and elephant shrews) that shed their uterus lining and bleed it out after a certain period, cats reabsorb the old womb lining. As such, bleeding rarely happens in most cats when they’re in heat.
However, there are exemptions to this rule. There are a few cats that show some signs of spotting. When they do, it’s often just a “thin, light ooze.” So if you notice a few drops of blood, there’s no need to visit your vet just yet. You can consider this harmless and part of your pet cat’s heat cycle.
When To Call Your Vet
As mentioned, cats rarely cry code red and when they do, they only show some light vaginal discharge. If your female cats are bleeding heavily, then you can consider this a red flag. You’d want to contact your vet immediately if this happens.
Possible Reasons Behind Your Female Cats’ Bloody Discharge
Since cats are less likely to get that crimson wave when they’re in heat, the bleeding is often caused by an internal problem. Among the most common are:
Urinary Tract Problems. Often linked to infection, urinary stones, or urethral blockage, this is characterized by having blood in the urine and difficulty urinating. Since this condition can be painful, a vet visit is highly recommended.
Vaginitis Or Vaginal Inflammation. UTI or vaginal tumors can result in vaginal inflammation, aka “vaginitis. ” which can cause vaginal bleeding. Like UTI, this condition also warrants a visit to the vet.
Miscarriage. Bloody discharge in queens may mean that your female cat's pregnancy has gone wrong. She may be pregnant but she miscarried her litter of kittens.
What You Need To Know About A Female Cat’s Heat Cycle
A female’s body goes through various physical changes when it prepares itself for fertilization or pregnancy. For female humans, this happens each month and it’s called a menstrual cycle.
Female cats, on the one hand, also go through a reproductive cycle. Instead of a menstrual cycle, a female cat’s reproductive cycle is called the estrous cycle. Several stages make up the feline version of the estrous cycle. Estrus refers to the stage where a female will actively look for a mate to breed, commonly referred to as “being in heat.”
Puberty, in the realm of cats, happens at around 4 to 6 months. It is during this time when a female cat starts to have their first estrus cycle. And since she-cats are polyestrous, she's going to have multiple cycles when breeding season kicks in.
How Long Do Heat Cycles Last In Cats?
Breeding season is dependent on two things, namely geographic and environmental factors. Generally, a queen will start her estrus cycle during the warmer months when daylight hours are longer.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you can expect your kitty to undergo estrus from January until late fall. Queens that live in warmer regions (like tropical countries) may go into heat cycles all year round. A cat that lives indoors may also go into heat all year because of the presence of artificial light.
So, how long does a cat go in heat?
This varies for each individual cat. The average length, though, is six to eight days. When a queen doesn’t get pregnant, a cat's heat goes away for a short period. Heat cycles, however, repeat every two weeks to three weeks.
How To Know If Your Queen Is Ready To Mate
Since a cat is not like a dog that can cry shark week, how will you know if your cat is in heat? Besides seeing several different tomcats visiting your house during this time, a cat in heat certainly shows noticeable changes in behavior. Here are most (if not all) of the notable signs of estrus in felines.
They’re Uber-ly Affectionate. When she’s ready to mate or breed, she will be overly affectionate, to the point of being clingy. Often, you’ll find them rubbing their bodies against you, other people, or even the furniture.
They Howl Or Vocalize Excessively. Since they want to attract males, a female cat will also make loud, unusual sounds when in heat.
They May Spray. A cat in heat may also spray urine in vertical surfaces (think walls and furniture) to lure male cats to your house.
Besides the above mentioned changes, a cat’s behaviour will also change in the following ways:
- Lack of appetite
- Frequent licking of their genital area
- Obsessed about going outdoors
- Assumes the mating position when you stroke their back
What You Can Do To Help A Cat That’s In Heat
First of all, as a fur parent you need to accept that everything that’s going on with your cat is normal. The changes in her behavior (the spraying, included) are all natural.
Now, if you don’t want your cat to breed, get pregnant, and have a litter of kittens, it’s better if you get your cat spayed (more about this later). But if you like kittens that much but think that it’s not yet the right time, you might want to keep your cat indoors for the time being and do the following:
- Keep your cat busy by playing with her or by giving her toys and pillows
- Calm her down by giving her catnip or cat-friendly stress-relieving herbs
- Signs of estrus can be suppressed by giving her vet-prescribed progesterone injections
Why You Should Consider Spaying Your Female Cat
If you don’t want your cat to get pregnant, you better get your cat spayed. And you know what? It’s better to do this when your cat is a couple weeks old or before your cat’s first heat cycle.
Besides reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancies, a spayed cat also enjoys the following benefits:
- Lowered risk of uterine infection and breast tumor
- Reduction in undesirable behavior, including roaming and spraying
A cat undergoes multiple reproductive cycles. However, contrary to popular belief, your female feline friends don’t have periods. So, if they’re showing a significant amount of bloody discharge, contact your vet right away.