Cats, in general, are known to be very sassy and less interested in mingling with their human.
But when a cat gets too attached out of nowhere and surprises you with her new “madly in love with you” avatar and refuses to get you out of her sight, it’s possible that she’s in heat.
Now, there is a very frequent question that comes in every cat-mom or cat dad’s mind, and that is:
Are cats in heat in pain? No, cats are not evidently in pain when they’re in heat. There is no scientific evidence which confirms that cats that go into the heat cycle, experience pain. Why you assume that she is in pain is mostly because of her restlessness and hyperactivity, which could be a sign of her urge to mate and inability of finding a mate-partner.
Of course, we all know that no matter how cool cats are, they can’t date like us humans, but hey wait there, they have their own weird rituals and natural dating app like processes, which you would find quite odd but interesting.
Spoiler alert: No cats don’t use tinder.
Well, here we will get a bit serious, and tell you how you could help your cat when she is in heat. But first, we’d explain what heat really is!
The process of cats going through heat is also known as polyestrous.
Many people mistake the male cats to be in heat, just like female cats.
However, it is always the female cats who go through the heat cycle.
When a female cat goes through the heat cycle, it is that time when she is ready to mate, and the mating is not as natural as it may sound, because the male cat often has to go through several fights with other male cats, who are also interested in mating with the female cat in heat.
The male cat that wins and gets successful in keeping the cats away from the female is the one that the female cat in heat mates with.
However, while the female cat is in heat, she secretes some fluid, which can also be termed as “vaginal secretions”, which indicates the sign that the female cat is ready to mate.
The male cats are attracted towards the smell of that fluid as the female cat sprays it wherever she passes from to aware male cats of her being in heat.
Cats in Heat Symptoms
Cats that go through the process of heat cycle (technically known as estrus) can experience the following symptoms:
The female cat will feel very restless during her heat cycle as she will exhibit very hyperactive behavior. She will be in a constant search for a partner to mate with.
2. Sour and Swollen Genitals
If the cat is in heat for a very long period and hasn’t mated yet, her genitals would swell.
Due to this swelling, your cat will feel a sense of sharp irritability in her genitals and will start licking them in order to reduce the amount of sourness and irritability.
Cats lick sour areas as saliva is known to have antiseptic and healing capabilities.
3. Loss of appetite
Is your cat eating less than she has before?
No, she’s neither on diet and nor preparing for her summer beach body.
The cats will reduce the consumption of food and gradually their food intake will reduce to a very significant level when they are in heat as compared to their regular diet or food intake.
4. Being more attached to her favorite caregiver (her human)
The cat will show an increased amount of affection to her human (caretaker), which could be overwhelming and astonishing for you because cats (specifically female cats) are infamous for not exhibiting love for their owners.
In contrast to which, when the cat is in heat, she will demand more attention and will begin showing love for her human by rubbing her body against her owner’s feet and demanding to be petted on the head and scratched under the chin gently.
5. Loud meowing
It is another sign that indicates that there are chances that the female cat is in heat, as it is sporadic of the female cats to meow except when they are hungry.
So when the cat starts meowing aloud with a sharp pitch, it could be one of the many signs that she is in search of a partner and is ready to mate and conceive.
6. Trying to go outdoors
This is one of the major “cat in heat” symptoms.
While it is comparatively challenging for a domestic cat to find a partner as she is under constant care of her human and it is tough for a domestic cat to interact with other cats.
The chances of the cat’s mating are also reduced because when the female cat sprays (urinates on objects) in the house. Cats do so as a symbol of showing their readiness to mate.
The smell gets limited within the home, due to which the male cats are unable to be attracted towards the domestic cat.
Although there are no significant shreds of evidence found on cats being in pain when they go through the heat cycle, however, it cannot be denied entirely that there is a possibility that at some point of their heat cycle, they could feel pain.
When the cat is in the heat for a very long period, her uterus gets swollen due to which she feels a constant sense of irritability in her genitals.
Apart from it, there are also some other factors that show the cat to be highly uncomfortable and hyperactive or disturbed.
These factors include:
Confusion (if it’s the first time the cat is in heat)
Having an urge of escaping if she is a domestic cat
Demanding constant attention, which contradicts a female cat’s normal behavior
How can I help my cat when it is in pain?
The heat cycle is an entirely natural process.
But if the cat is in constant heat without mating, then it can pose severe threats to the life of the cat.
You can follow the given instructions stated below to overcome their concerns regarding their cat’s heat cycles.
1. Identify if the cat is actually in heat
Many people who don’t have the necessary experience or expertise have higher chances of confusing the cat’s condition of being in heat.
In order to help your cat in heat, you should identify if your cat is actually in heat.
There might as well be some other health problem in the cat, which can easily be recognized by observing the change in your cat’s usual behavior.
These changes include:
The swelling of genitals
Loss of appetite or other relevant response as stated in paragraphs mentioned above.
2. Herbal Remedies for cats in heat
The effect of herbal remedies may differ from one cat to another.
Most of the times, the owners use catnip to calm their cats, but the over usage of catnip can also cause aggression in cats.
That’s why most of the vets don’t advise home remedies to cure the heat in cats unless it is the last option.
3. Taking Extra Care of Your Cat
Your cat deserves your extra attention when she goes through the process of heat cycle (estrus).
She may need your extra attention when she shows more affection than usual.
The cats should be interacted with when they are in heat rather than keeping them alone or encaged while they are in heat as it may only worsen the cat’s situation.
The cat should be given extra time and extra care.
The owner can pet, scratch or brush the cat in an attempt to provide comfort to the cat. Giving cat her favorite toys to play with or playing with her using her favorite toys can divert her focus from irritation and restlessness or anxiety that she might be experiencing in heat.
Keeping her litter box clean and hygienic can mitigate the chances of the cat having an infection in the swollen genitals resulted by the heat cycle. The owners are advised to maintain their patience level when dealing with the cat in heat.
4. Consulting an experienced or trusted veterinary doctor for spaying the cat
If the owners are unable to get their cats mated or are unwilling to look after kittens or allowing their cats to be impregnated can opt for the spaying services provided by an experienced veterinary doctor at a well-known and trusted animal hospital or clinic.
The owners can also choose to consult their regular vets based on their preferences and trust level.
Spaying in cats can be defined as the process or a small surgery in which the cat is given anesthesia, after which her uterus or ovary is removed.
The removal of these organs does not cause any damage to the health of cats however their behavior might change and become healthy as the removal of ovaries and uteruses, or only ovaries prevents the cat from going in heat again.
The swollen genitals and the irritation in them can also be cured after the surgery.
My two cents
To put it in a nutshell, being in heat is a natural process in female cats.
There is no solid piece of evidence to accept or deny that the cats in heat experience pain.
However, if the cat experiences irritation or goes through some physical changes or exhibits unusual behavior, then the owners could also take preventative measurements to cure the restlessness, anxiety or hyper activities in cats.