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C2010-16

Dear Christopher Cat

Sassy, a cat we found last year when she was a kitten, has been behaving abnormally all spring. She rolls and rubs, and she treads with her hind legs.

She bends into strange postures with her behind salaciously up or down.

Worst of all, she sprays urine in the house, cries at the window and tries to sneak outside whenever someone opens the front door. Could she be in heat?

Christopher Responds

Absolutely. You describe the classical signs of feline estrus.

The girls in my house are spayed, but I’ve witnessed heat behavior by watching the feral cats outside my window.

Female cats go into heat during late winter as the days lengthen. Each heat cycle lasts about a week, and cycles repeat themselves almost immediately, so it seems as though female cats, called queens, are continually in heat throughout spring and summer.

The veterinary term is seasonally polyestrous, meaning queens have many heat cycles during the seasons with the longest daylight. Mom uses a more graphic term that reflects the frustration humans feel when living with a cat in heat.

Sassy’s heat behavior can be “cured” easily: Call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment to have her spayed. Not only will her obnoxious behavior end, but you won’t have to worry about her surprising you with unwanted kittens.

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