How long do female cats stay in heat?

How long is your cat in heat already? For most cat owners, if they don’t control the heat cycle of their pet, it seems like an eternity. But do cats stay in heat for so long?

Normally cats stay in heat for 4 to 10 days, which occurs repeatedly during the mating season since the cat reaches her sexual maturity. However, the mating season asks for more detailed description.

Cat in heat for a long time
Being in heat for a long time can be boring to a cat

Cats are seasonal breeders, which basically means, they can go in heat only if the daylight is present for more than 12 hours. Normally, this means cats can go in heat for a period of six months between early spring and early autumn in the most part of the world.

However, not all cats obey this. First, it may be breed dependent, as many short haired cats go in heat all year round, while long haired cats, for example, Persians, tend to stop going in heat during winter more commonly. Also, artificial lighting may have influence on this as well.

How long is each part of the heat in cats?

During the mating season, which can last from six to nine months, cats come in heat periodically, and normally cats stay in heat for four to six days, unless ovulation, pregnancy or pseudo-pregnancy occurs.

The regular heat cycle consists of three parts:

  1. Proestrus. It’s a period of one to two days, in which cat’s body is preparing to come in heat. Usually early symptoms may be present. You can read more about symptoms of cats in heat here.
  2. Estrus. It’s when your cat is responsive to mating and can ovulate and conceive. This period usually lasts four to ten days and is when the cat is said to be “in heat”.
  3. Interestrus. It’s when a cat is not in heat, and her body is resting for the next heat cycle. Cat cannot conceive during this time, as well as symptoms of the heat usually cease. This interval lasts seven to 14 days.

HOWEVER, during the mating season, some cats may show significant signs of being in heat during the interestrus interval, therefore, resulting in a belief that the cat is in the heat ALL the time. While this is not true, it indeed makes no difference to you, if your cat is meowing, screaming and rolling on a floor.

If you think this is too long for a cat to say in heat, follow our series about heat cycle of cats.