Do cats have menopause? Discover the mystery here.
As the weather becomes a bit warmer and the days start to lengthen, you will notice that female cats begin to come on call. This is known as a season of coming on heat.
For most cat owners, this activity is not unusual, but it is hard to understand. Many questions may arise, such as what the reasons are, how long does it happen, and so on. On top of that, “Do cats have menopause?” could be one of the most interesting questions that you may ask.
This article will provide you with the basic knowledge that you need to answer your questions to comprehend how the heat cycle works and how it compares to human fertility.
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Cat’s heat cycles
When the heat cycle happens, cats’ behavior can be quite alarming to those who have not seen a female cat on heat previously. Thus, they can mistake it for an illness or injury. For example, they may think it is the symptom of broken back or a behavioral issue. If you are not sure whether your female cat is in season or not, the next part will be such a clue for you.
What triggers feline heat?
You might see a surge in pregnant cats during warmer and brighter days of spring and summer. It is not an accident, there is a reason for this phenomenon.
Cats come into heat since there is a decline in the melatonin hormone. This kind of hormone is secreted every night by a gland in female cats’ brains. Therefore, when the day and the night become longer and shorter, respectively, the production of melatonin decreases.
As a result, the hypothalamus or an area of a cat’s brain manages the heat cycle. In this stage, the hypothalamus releases a reproductive hormone that goes to her pituitary gland, then releases two other reproductive hormones that go along with her bloodstream to the ovaries where the eggs await fertilization.
When does heat happen in cats?
The estrous cycle begins whenever female cats reach their puberty. A 4 months old cat experiences her very first heat cycle, though she is still a kitten. In fact, most cats have their first heat cycle around 6 months old.
There are some reasons to determine the exact time of the heat cycle. They include the female cat’s health, weight, age, and breed. Furthermore, the weather is also a factor for this activity. Nevertheless, you should remember that cats can produce kittens as long as the situation is right, no matter what time in the year.
How often do female cats come on heat?
Unlike dogs that are diestrous species and only enter heat two times a year, cats are polyestrous species. This means female cats come on heat multiple times throughout the calendar year (they can have kittens up to five times a year).
The heat can happen every 2 to 3 weeks and last for 7 to 10 days. Usually, it begins in the early days of spring, and in the late days of autumn, when the daylight decrease (cats will need more than 12 hours of daylight). In case a cat doesn’t mate, its body still repeats the heat cycle. This can only be ended when she mates or she is spayed.
If your cat is an indoor one and exposes to artificial light all year, it may experience constant hormonal activity. Thus, your female cat has more periods of heat.
Read More: How long does a cat stay in heat?
Stages of the heat cycle
First of all, the proestrus stage lasts for two days. Female cats are attracted by a male, but they are not willing to mate yet. In this stage, a cat may start becoming talkative and raise the hind.
Secondly, the estrous stage appears when a female cat’s body is receptive to sexual activities. Her behavior will be more and more affectionate and increasingly vocal. This estrous lasts from 3 to 16 days, and 7 days is the average for this stage.
The ovulation can only occur if a female cat mates. This means if there is no ovulation takes place, a female cat’s body will go into interestrous (a period between estrous periods before backing to the proestrus stage).
Assuming the ovulation succeeds, the following stage is diestrus. If a female cat is pregnant, her body will secrete progesterone hormone. This stage is the longest one, which lasts around 60 days. In contrast, if a cat is not pregnant, the diestrus is considered a false pregnancy, which lasts for 40 days.
Lastly, when the fertility cycle decreases, generally in late autumn and winter, the female cat’s body is in the anestrus period. We can consider this stage as a pause because there is no heat activity during this time.
What are the symptoms of the heat?
When she is in heat, the very first clear sign is the increase in vocalization. It can be described as a yowl, and it is way louder than the cat’s normal meow. Sometimes, you may be confused with this behavior with an expression of anxiety or pain. You might be wrong if you think that way because, in fact, she is telling male cats that she is ready to mate. Moreover, be prepared that she will roam your sweet home yowling and creating a lot of noise. This is really a frustrating situation, as you might think.
You may notice the increase in affection in her towards cats or humans. She will rub her face against or weave between chairs, tables, or even yourself, an extremely friendly action. She can also roll around on the floor in a funny way. When you stroke her along the back, she will raise the bottom in the air as well as lower the front half. At the same time, she treads her paws and moves her tail from side to side.
One more sign that can be seen is the change in her mannerisms. She will have more attention to her genital region, for example, licking it. Besides, you will see a decline in her appetite compared to the usual days. She can also spray urine on surfaces to attract male cats. Of course, your female cat will go outside more often rather than stay at home.
On the contrary, in some situations, female cats become more aggressive towards everything, including other cats and their owners. She can even do harm to you, so you should not annoy her at this time.
How many kittens can a female cat have?
There is no fixed number of kittens for this question since it varies from pregnancy to pregnancy and depends on some factors such as mating opportunity, health, or veterinary care. However, the average in one litter is four kittens.
Read More: How many kittens can a cat have?
Do cats have menopause?
You might think that cats would go through menopause, and you just need her to get older and stop going into heat. However, the answer is more interesting. She can get pregnant for the entire life of a female cat even though she is old.
In other words, cats don’t undergo menopause, and as long as they are not spayed, they will continue to produce kittens. Likewise, the estrous cycle will continue for the whole life. Nevertheless, as she gets older, her litters become smaller, and her health is not so well. It makes the pregnancy harder and brings about higher risk if she produces kittens.
Getting her spayed
Health issues because of pregnancy can result in a poor quality of life in old female cats. Even professional cat breeders only allow their cats to mate until the age of five. Therefore, it is recommended that you get her spayed after this time. The procedure will release her from suffering the stress of pregnancy or go into heat. Furthermore, it can reduce the chance of getting breast cancer (with 90 percent result in death), so she can enjoy a longer and healthier life.
Bonus: Check out our article on cat drooling!
You should ask your vet when to do the procedure and any relevant questions before conducting it. If your female friend comes into estrus before you have a chance to spay her, try keeping her inside and separating any male cats. If she manages to escape and mate, you also ought to ask for advice.
In conclusion, cats do not have menopause since they are polyestrous species. The heat cycle will continue throughout her life, and she will produce kittens from time to time. Understand the heat cycle in cats is quite complicated, and it requires a lot of time researching.
Nevertheless, with our basic information, you now have many answers about cat’s estrous and some symptoms that can be used to predict it, so that you can have better judgment. Ultimately, it is crucial to consider spaying your female cats for the sake of her health and well-being.