When you see cats in heat, it's happening because it's how they show they are vulnerable to pregnancy. The cat's reproductive cycle has developed enough to where it is capable of supporting a litter of kittens. Cats can go into heat as early as four months old but the average age is between six and eight months of age. It is a natural bodily cycle and an owner cannot force their cat into heat. The only way to prevent a cat from going into heat is to have it spayed by a veterinarian.
When a cat is spayed, the ovarian tissue is removed the body and the cat is unable to get pregnant. Cats in heat, called "queens," are very easy spot once a cat owner knows how to look. There are several behavioral symptoms that an owner can look for to monitor when their cat is biologically ready to mate:
- Immediately before going to heat, a cat will become overly affectionate with their owner. This is characterized by sliding up against toys, furniture, or the owner, themselves, and rubbing or displaying their backsides.
- Secondly, cats in heat spend excessive amounts of time licking their genital region. However, if the cat in question has been spayed, this could be symptomatic of a possible urinary tract infection and should be inspected by a veterinarian.
- Moreover, cats in heat will "call" or emit loud noises used to attract mates. This could potentially last for several days.
- Next, a queen will assume the mating position with its head down, bent forelegs, and raised backside. Their tails will be raised and kept to the side of their body as a means to expose their perineum. Her rear legs will tread as well, as if walking in place.
- Lastly, cats in heat spray vertical surfaces with a fluid. It is strongly scented and released with a raised tail and treading legs.
If a queen does not mate, heat cycles will occur every two to three weeks for the majority of the year, ending only when she mates or is spayed. Veterinarians generally recommend spaying a cat unless she is a qualified pedigreed breeder. It eliminates the cycles and prevents serious medical problems.