Do female cats have periods?

Cats do not have periods like a woman does. Cats do not menstruate; instead they have estrous cycle or otherwise known as covert menstruation. This happens in most placental mammals. Cats do not bleed because they reabsorb the blood into their body rather than shedding it as humans do.

Cats are polyestrous breeders, meaning they can go through multiple heat periods in a year. This is the time when the female cat is fertile and ready to mate. It is the period when female cats are receptive to male cats. Estrous cycle is similar and easily mistaken as a period, but it is not the same thing. Female cats are sexually active at the age of 4 to 6 months. This is the time during which the cats’ reproductive organ produces a viable egg and the female cat is open to mating.

The female cats’ estrus cycle is extraordinary among domestic animals. This feline estrous cycle consists of 5 phases: proestrus, estrus, interestrus, diestrus, and anestrus. Proestrus is the stage in which the female cats attract male cats but are not sexually receptive to them. This phase lasts from 1 to 3 days. During this stage the female cat may produce a long, loud howl or otherwise known as the “calling”. This is the most obvious sign of a cat in heat. This is to let the male cats know that she is in heat. The female cat also spends her time rolling on the floor; she may be more affectionate this time, rubbing itself on any object to leave her scent. Estrus is the phase of sexual receptivity and last from 4 to 7 days. The cats’ vulva tends to become slightly swollen as the serum level of estradiol is increased. Vaginal discharge is scant, but because cats are known as meticulous groomers, this is rarely seen. Occasionally, female cats in this stage spray urine on objects to leave their scent. This urine has much more stronger odor than her normal urine due to increased estrogen levels. Interestrus is the period when the female refuses to mate, a period of rest. The female cat will behave aggressively towards the male cat. If ovulation occurs during estrus, Diestrus will follow. Anestrus is the period in which the female cat is sexually inactive. They may hiss or strike at male cats making sexual advances. If the female cat does not mate, heat cycles will occur every 2 to 3 weeks. This heat cycle may be stressful for cats. Your cat may sleep and eat less.

Cats are induced ovulators. They do not release eggs from the ovary unless they have a sexual contact. If the female cat does not mate, its hormonal levels drop off. Estrus will cease and resume after 2 or 3 weeks.

A cat in heat should not be left alone. Her master should be at her side. The best way to calm your cat is to give her attention. Cuddle, pet and stroke her. Extra attention of any kind can help her mind take off her distress. Cats can also be soothed by music and it may help her calm down. When a cat is in heat, it has a lot of extra energy. It will find ways to meet a male cat. So it is best to distract your cat. Make sure to keep windows and doors locked. This is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Enjoy the affection of your cat, most cats’ want to be petted and touched when they are in heat.

The best way to prevent a cat from coming in heat is to get her spayed. Not only this prevents unwanted pregnancy but also it reduces the risk of your cat on acquiring diseases. Spayed cats will not come in heat.