Do cats bleed when in heat ? This is a fairly logical question.
To give you a short answer – No, cats do not bleed when in heat.
There are extremely rare cases of female cats bleeding a little during their heat cycle , but any bleeding should be minimal.
Other than this, female cats should not bleed from their private areas for any reason!
There is a common misconception that cats bleed during their heat cycle the same way that female dogs or female humans do. However, this is not the case!
If you observe that your cat is bleeding or has bloody vaginal discharge, this is a sign that your cat is not healthy.
Continue reading to find out how the cat’s reproductive cycle works, potential reasons for your cat bleeding from her private area, and signs your cat is in heat.
Do Cats Bleed When In Heat?
It is possible for the female cat to bleed during her heat cycle . This bleeding can be attributed to other reasons, but not her heat cycle (estrous cycle).
This is because the endometrium (the epithelial layer that lines the uterus) does not shed in cats, therefore there is no bleeding!
In humans, the endometrium (the uterine lining) sheds and period bleeding is observed.
There are rare instances where cats do bleed while in their estrus cycle (otherwise known as the heat cycle). If your cat is one of the rare few, the amount of blood should be minimal. If this is the case, you don’t have to worry because it is normal!
What Is One Way That Cats’ Heat Cycles Are Different To People’s?
Female humans do not have “ heat cycles ”, but rather menstrual cycles.
Primates (such as humans) have a menstrual cycle, while non-primates (for example, dogs and cats) have an estrous cycle. Essentially, female humans have a menstrual cycle, while female cats have an estrous cycle. The menstrual cycle is more complex than the estrous cycle.
The main difference is the fact that the endometrium is reabsorbed by the walls of the uterus in the estrous cycle, while it is shed in the menstrual cycle.
The endometrium gets broken down if it is not needed (because the fertilized egg has not been implanted). In the menstrual cycle, it is shed as menstrual flow. In the estrous cycle, the broken down tissue is reabsorbed.
Therefore, bleeding happens only in primates (such as humans), and not in nonprimates (such as cats).
They are both cycles of female mammals that start occuring after the female has reached sexual maturity. Both cycles are induced by reproductive hormones and prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
Why Would A Female Cat Bleed? 4 Possible Reasons!
Some cat owners might notice their cats bleeding from their private area. The reason is, as we already know, not because they’re in heat.
So, if not the heat cycle, then why is your pet bleeding? Here are the 4 most probable reasons for it.
1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Feline UTI is caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli. It can be really painful for the cat and treatment should be started as soon as possible. Feline UTI is mostly observed in middle-aged cats.
Symptoms of feline UTI are:
• Urinating often, but passing only a small amount of urine
• Urinating outside of the litter box
• Excessive licking of the genital area
• Hesitation to urinate
• Painful urination
• Blood in urine
2. Infected Uterus (Pyometra)
Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. It happens when a cat has chronic thickening of the uterus without pregnancy occuring. This causes cysts to form and this can lead to bacteria multiplying rapidly, causing an infection.
Pyometra should be treated as soon as possible because it can be life-threatening!
Symptoms you might notice that point to your cat having pyometra are:
• Frequent urination
• Lack of appetite
• White or green-colored discharge
• Bloody, foul-smelling discharge
Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites. It is not always painful or dangerous, but if left untreated it can lead to more serious conditions such as an infection of the uterus.
Symptoms that point to your cat having vaginal inflammation are:
• Frequent urination
• Abnormal discharge
• Frequent licking of the vagina
• Red or swollen vaginal area
• Rubbing the hindquarters on surfaces
• Light blood spotting
Miscarriage is the loss of a fetus and symptoms of the loss depend on which stage of the pregnancy the cat is at. It can be caused by trauma, bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
Early loss of a fetus cannot always be detected. However, loss of the fetus later in the pregnancy does cause symptoms.
Most universal signs of a miscarriage are:
• Green, brown, or black vaginal discharge
• Abdominal pain
• Loss of appetite
• Bloody discharge
• Delivery of a stillborn
Of course, it should be noted that there are other reasons for a female cat to have vaginal bleeding, and it would be best if you spoke to a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) about it.
Cat “Bleeding In Heat” – Common Questions
There is a misconception that cats bleed in their heat cycle just like female humans bleed in their menstruation. This is because not a lot of people know about the reproductive system of cats, which is completely understandable as it is not common knowledge.
Because of this, a lot of people on Google ask about their cat’s cycle. Below, we provide some clear and simple answers to common queries.
How Often Do Cats Bleed When In Heat?
Cats are in heat during a period in their life when bleeding for other reasons can happen.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that cats should not bleed because they are in heat, but they may bleed for other reasons (such as a UTI).
How Long Does A Female Cat Bleed When They Are In Heat?
Again, cats should not bleed because they are in heat. The answer is 0 days.
On the other hand, if bleeding is due to other reasons, the length of the bleeding depends on the cause of the bleeding.
How Does A Cat’s Reproductive Cycle Work?
The first thing I must mention is that the estrus cycle or oestrus cycle is the correct term for the heat cycle! Do not be confused if these two terms are used interchangeably.
A female cat reaches her fertile period (her first heat ) as early as 4 months of age, but it can happen anywhere up to 10 months of age. The most common age for reaching sexual maturity is 6 months old.
A cat having her estrous cycles will happen only if the cat is not spayed (her ovaries and uterus have not been surgically removed).
Characteristics Of The Heat Cycle
Heat cycles repeat pretty quickly in female cats – usually every 2-3 weeks. There are really no rules when it comes to this because, for some cats, the cycle repeats every 6 weeks. Essentially, how often the cycle repeats depends on the individual cat.
If you’re wondering “How long are cats in heat?” the answer is around 6 days, but it can last 10 days too.
When in their cycle, the cat mates and can potentially get pregnant.
What you might not know is that a cat’s ovulation (the process where the ovary releases an egg in order to be fertilized) needs to be induced. This happens during mating. Female cats need to mate 3 or 4 times in a day in order for ovulation to take place.
If fertilization occurs and everything is in order, the cat pregnancy should last about 9 weeks.
4 Phases of the heat cycle!
One heat cycle has 4 phases: proestrus, estrus, metestrus, and diestrus.
During proestrus, the preovulatory follicle achieves its full growth. This is when female cats start showing affection and excessive vocalization . Tomcats will become attracted to the cat during this time. At this stage, the female cat is still not ready for mating.
In the next phase (estrus), female cats start exhibiting lordosis behavior with the tail turned to one side in order to present the vulva to potential suitors . At estrus, ovulation occurs.
The next two phases are metestrus and diestrus, where corpora lutea (the hormone-releasing structure needed to maintain a pregnancy) is developing and starting to function. There is no breeding activity at this stage and no odd behaviors can be observed.
How Many Kittens Can A Female Cat Have?
A litter of kittens usually consists of 2-5 kittens. First time pregnancies usually result in a smaller litter of kittens.
When a cat gives birth, it does not take long for her to go into heat again. That’s why it’s said that cats are “ fast breeders ”.
The maximum number of pregnancies a cat can have in a year is 5, but this would be an extremely rare case. Having a lot of pregnancies takes a toll on the cat’s health and creates a lot of kittens that need to be taken care of.
Even older cats go into heat and can get pregnant. For them, pregnancies are a huge health risk, and delivering the kittens is potentially dangerous.
When Is The Breeding Season?
Cats are seasonally polyestrous. That means their heat cycles are repeated every 2-3 weeks during a breeding season!
Cats go into heat only during their breeding season! When is a cat’s breeding season ? you may ask.
This depends on the climate you’re in. For cats that live in very warm climates where the days are long, the breeding season is the entire year. For other cats, the breeding season is when the weather is warmer such as from February until late fall for the Northern Hemisphere.
It is important that you keep an eye on your cat during the breeding season if your cat is not sterilized. Overpopulation of cats is a real issue and sterilization helps keep the cat population under control.
Neutering your male cat and spaying your female cat are highly recommended!
What Are The Signs Of A Cat In Heat? 6 Cues!
Reproductive hormones induce the estrous cycle (the heat cycle) in cats. These hormones are secreted by the ovaries, uterus, hypothalamus, and the anterior pituitary gland.
Considering you cannot measure the levels of reproductive hormones in your cat’s bloodstream in order to see whether your cat is in heat or not, you have to rely on noticing changes in your cat’s behavior.
These changes are pretty easy to observe, so continue reading to discover the tell-tale signs that your cat is in heat.
1. Excessive Grooming
You might observe your cat licking her genital area.
A quick tip: If you observe your cat licking her genital area, but there are no other signs she’s in heat, it might mean she has a urinary tract infection (UTI). If this is the case, we recommend going to the vet.
2. Becoming Affectionate
A cat in heat will constantly rub her head and neck against a human’s leg or objects such as furniture. You also might notice your cat rolling on the floor more than usual.
They also become more “needy” and demanding of your attention.
On the other hand, some cats can become very aggressive towards their owners and other cats. This is completely opposite to other cats which become affectionate.
3. Displaying Lordosis
Mammalian lordosis is a body posture that indicates that a female animal is ready for copulation.
This is a big sign that a female cat is in heat! In this position, the lower part of the back is pointed upwards, while the upper part of the back is lowered to the ground.
You can observe this when you pet your cat along its back – she will go into the lordosis position immediately!
4. Excessive Vocalization
Your cat will start meowing louder and more often than usual.
Some people don’t consider this to be a meow but rather a yowl. Those who do not notice the cat is in heat can mistake the yowling for the cat being in pain.
Most cat-owners (and everyone else in the household) may find this excessive vocalization annoying, but don’t worry as it will not last long!
5. Marking Surfaces By Urine
You might notice a female cat marking objects and surfaces with her urine. The reason behind this is simple – to attract tomcats (male cats capable of reproduction, that have not been neutered)!
A female cat’s urine contains pheromones; chemicals that signal, among other things, the sexual status of a cat.
If you observe your cat doing this, you might notice a few tomcats lurking around in your backyard. If any male cats manage to get to your cat, you can expect a litter of kittens soon!
6. Trying To Go Outside
When in heat, a cat is under the strong influence of reproductive hormones telling her “ Go mate right now! ”
This is why your indoor cat has the urge to go outside and find unneutered male cats (tomcats).
You may have heard another cat owner complaining that their cat has temporarily “run away from home”. One cat may be gone for a couple of hours, while another may stay out for a week.
Catnip might help calm your cat down and stop them trying to escape! Our best advice if you have an unspayed cat is to watch the doors and windows!
When a cat is “in heat”, it means she is in her fertile period. Cat’s heat cycles continue throughout adult life into old age.
You might be wondering “ Do cats bleed when in heat ? ”
Vaginal bleeding is not a symptom of a cat being in heat. Many people think it is because dogs and humans have vaginal bleeding during their cycle.
Cats bleeding due to the heat cycle can happen, but only in extremely rare cases.
Signs that a cat is in an estrous cycle include the cat being overly affectionate, yowling loudly, excessive licking of the genital area, displaying lordosis, marking surfaces with the urine, and even trying to run away in order to mate.
The only way to prevent your cat from going into heat is to have your cat spayed. Spaying is the process of removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. Without these reproductive organs, a cat cannot have kittens.
It is advisable to spay your cat in order to keep your female cat healthy (a lot of pregnancies are not healthy or safe) and prevent a lot of unwanted kittens in need of a home.
Suggested Read: Can You Spay A Cat In Heat? A Veterinarian Answers