Many pet owners (and non-pet owners who live close to a community cat hangout spot) are surprised by the behavioral changes of cats in heat. The howling of a female cat in heat can be a particularly disturbing noise, especially if you are trying to sleep.
If you are the owner of a female cat that has not yet been spayed, you may be wondering what to do when your cat is in heat and when to consider sterilization. You also may be asking the natural follow-up question, will vets spay a cat in heat? First of all, there isn’t any logical reason for you to breed your cat. Your community is already challenged with an abundance of unwanted kittens. Whatever your situation, we’ve collected some valuable information that can help you decide when to consider surgery and what to do when your cat is in heat.
Things You Should Consider Prior to Your Cat Coming into Heat & How You Can Help a Cat in Heat
Plan ahead and talk with a veterinarian about sterilization of your cat. Female cats can reach maturity at four months of age. In 2017, The AVMA endorsed a task force recommendation approving the sterilization of felines prior to five months of age.
Living with a cat in heat can be incredibly difficult. And thanks to the polyestrous nature of cats, unspayed females can go into heat multiple times per year until they find a mate, beginning at five months of age. If your cat has not yet been spayed, these five tips will help you and your pet cope until you can make an appointment at a veterinarian’s office.
- Give your cat space.
Whether it’s a cat tree, a favorite drawer or a comfortable closet shelf with a heating pad, make sure your cat has a secluded getaway. Many cats in heat often prefer to be left alone in as comfortable an environment as possible.
- But also…extra attention can help.
When your cat in heat does not want to hide away in a nook, she may be looking for more attention than usual to help alleviate stress levels. This can come in the form of extra petting, brushing or more frequent playtime. You might want to stock up on some new toys that you don’t mind being shredded to bits. They can help satisfy your cat’s instinct to hunt.
- Don’t let your cat escape.
Cats in heat should always be kept indoors. Cats are already highly skilled escape artists, but they really step up their game during heat when there is no male cat around. That’s why it’s important to lock doors and windows, as well as secure any opening on the perimeter of your home that your cat might be able to wiggle through, such as a doggie door or a window screen.
- Keep the litter box clean.
Cats in heat can feel the urge to mark their territory more often than usual when they are in heat. Keeping the litter box clean can help ensure that your cat continues to mark the litter box, rather than a carpeted floor or your favorite couch. Note: don’t use ammonia cleaners, which can encourage this behavior.
- Be patient.
It can be noisy. Your cat may be aggressive. She may find ways out of your house you never knew existed. All of this behavior can be extremely annoying. But the bottom line is that your cat can’t control being in heat. Cut your cat some slack, and try to help your pet through it by relieving her stress.
Will Vets Spay a Cat in Heat?
Although you now know what to do when your cat is in heat, there is only one way to ensure that it never happens again. Most veterinarians will tell you that it’s possible to spay a cat in heat. However, the chances of procedural complications increase under these circumstances. Know that there may be additional costs that come with spaying your cat while she is in heat or if she has recently been bred. That’s why it’s best to spay cats before they reach their first heat cycle. It will prevent a lot of stress and frustration (for both you and your cat). And it will prevent the possibility of an unwanted litter of kittens showing up when you don’t have the time, money or energy to raise and find good homes for them.
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Our mission here at Florida Animal Friend is to help save the lives of countless homeless cats and dogs by supporting organizations that offer free or low-cost spay and neuter services across Florida. Purchase one of our Florida specialty license plates or donate today to help us reduce animal overpopulation across the state!