How to Deal With a Female Cat in Heat

Two Methods:Dealing with Her BehaviorPreventing Pregnancy

An un-spayed female cat comes into heat every three to four weeks, and she's not usually quiet about it! This period, when she's most receptive to getting pregnant, can last for up to seven days. This means you might have a highly hormonal cat on your hands for one week out of every three. The best solution, if you don't want her to have kittens, is to get her spayed by a veterinarian. However, if you do want to breed her, you'll have to deal with the behaviors that go along with being in heat, like loud meowing and flirty antics. You also need to keep her from getting pregnant when you don't want her to.[1]

Method 1
Dealing with Her Behavior

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    Calm her loud meowing. When a cat’s in heat, she advertises the fact to increase her chances of finding a boyfriend and having kittens. One way she does this is by vocalizing incredibly loudly and constantly. To an inexperienced owner, it may seem like she’s in pain, but this is perfectly normal behavior. You can either choose to deal with the extra noise, or try to calm her down.
    • Try plugging in a Feliway diffuser before your cat comes into heat. This synthetic feline pheromone surrounds her with safe, familiar scents.[2] Pheromones are chemical messengers — a similar idea to the pheromones a female gives off to advertise she is in heat. But the ones in Feliway might have a calming, soothing effect on her.
    • It doesn't work immediately, but the pheromones build up the cat's sense of well-being over a couple of weeks. As such, it's best to plug the diffuser in early and leave it running constantly in the background, so she gets the benefit by the time she comes into heat.
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    Deal with scent marking. Not all female cats do this, but some mark their territory with urine. Urine has potent scent markers that she uses to attract mates. Again, there’s nothing you can do to stop this behavior without getting her spayed, so you just have to make do. A few things you can do to make life a little easier include:
    • Making sure she has a clean litter box at all times. Hopefully her house training will lead her to use the box instead of marking in the house.
    • De-odorizing immediately if she does mark. This will discourage her from returning to that spot to mark it again.
    • Use an "enzymatic" cleaner to completely remove the urine odor.[3] The enzymes in these products break cat urine down better than any other cleaner. Allow the product to air dry for best results.
    • A home-made alternative is to dilute some biological washing powder in water. Use this to clean the area, then rinse it with water. Clean again with a solution of bicarbonate of soda. Finish by rinsing one last time.
      • Always test cleaning products on a small, hidden patch of fabric before treating a marked patch for odor.
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    Be prepared for clingy behavior. Your cat goes on a massive hormonal roller-coaster which changes her behavior when she’s in heat. One difference is that her body language and social behavior might change quite a bit.
    • She might seek out company far more than usual.
    • She may demand that you rub her lower back. When you do, she might flirtatiously holds her tail to one side to better expose her genital area.
    • She may 'commando crawl' across the floor by flattening her front half against the floor, then crawling with her rear end pushed up in the air.
    • She is also likely to squirm and roll around enthusiastically. When combined with the loud crying, it might look like she’s in pain. Don’t worry — she’s just flirting.
    • There’s nothing to be done about this behavior. It’s perfectly normal, and as long as no males are able to reach her, she’ll be fine.
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    Give her extra attention. Tire her out with regular play sessions. This may lessen her energy and help her to settle down and sleep instead of writhing around and yowling. Some female cats enjoy an extra fuss or even a massage when they are in heat. But don't be surprised if she starts acting flirty with you and presents her backside!
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    Don’t change her feeding routine. Many female cats don't eat properly when they are in heat. This can cause them to lose weight and body condition, which worries their loving owners. But don't try to feed make up for her lack of appetite with higher calorie cat food. This will only supply her with even more energy to cry and call.
    • Instead, leave large amounts of her regular cat food available for free-feeding. She can snack whenever she feels like it.
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    Decrease the stress on your other cats. If you own more than one cat, think of how stressful it is for the others to have a calling female in their midst for one week out of every three. This can be unsettling for them. The Feliway diffuser you use to calm the behavior of the cat in heat will also make your other cats feel better.
    • Again, Feliway takes a couple of weeks to build up in your cats' systems, so plug in the diffuser before your female goes into heat.

Method 2
Preventing Pregnancy

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    Keep her indoors. If your cat is normally allowed to wander outdoors, you have to put a stop to it as soon as you realize she’s in heat. While she’s indoors, you can control whether or not male cats have access to her. While she’s outdoors, every male in the neighborhood is going to be drawn by her yowling and scent marking. She is very likely to get pregnant.
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    Isolate her from your male cats. If you own an un-neutered male cat, he will likely be drawn to her like a magnet when she’s in heat. You must keep all males away from her until her heat has passed.
    • Keep either the male(s) or female isolated in a separate room.
    • Spruce the room up so the isolated cat doesn’t grow anxious. Put a litter box in there, along with a comfortable bed, food, and plenty of toys to keep them occupied.
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    Lock your doors and windows. Even if you keep her inside, the neighborhood males will still be able to hear her yowling and smell her scent marking. You may notice a suspicious increase in tomcats lurking around your home.
    • Leaving doors or windows open, even with mosquito mesh acting as a barrier, can be dangerous. A determined male will claw through the mesh to reach your female, and she can get pregnant without even leaving the house.
    • Block off any cat flaps in your doors.
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    Consider neutering her. Rescue centers are over-flowing with unwanted kittens and cats. It's morally questionable to let your cat get pregnant for no good reason. Neutering female cats can be done at any stage in their hormonal cycle. If cost is an issue, many cat rescue or welfare societies offer vouchers towards the cost of surgery. Your local veterinary clinic will be able to point you in the right direction to make inquiries.


  • If you want to breed your cat, you may need a license and special equipment.
  • Remember that your cat will meow loudly at night and be more affectionate.


  • Take her to the veterinarian if she bleeds. Although you may be tempted to compare her heat to human menstruation, they’re very different processes. Cats should not bleed when they are in heat.

Sources and Citations

  1. Reproduction in the Dog and Cat. Christianseen. Publisher: Baillierie-Tindal

Article Info

Categories: Feline Health