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Feline Reproductive Cycle – Do Cats Have Periods and Bleed?

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As a cat owner, you might wonder, do cats have periods and bleed? The answer is a bit complicated. To understand why, let’s define periods in the human context.

Humans experience menstruation approximately every month in women who aren’t pregnant. During this period, the lining of the uterus is shed, preparing the body for a possible pregnancy. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, the lining is released as blood flow. But when it comes to our purring companions, their reproductive cycle is pretty different from ours.

The Feline Estrous Cycle


If humans experience a menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy, cats have an estrous cycle, otherwise known as being “in heat.” Their bodies release hormones that thicken their uterine lining and make eggs mature. If pregnancy doesn’t happen, their bodies reabsorb the lining, saving them energy.

Cats are what vets call seasonally polyestrous, which means they have multiple heat cycles throughout the breeding season, which spans from early spring to late fall. This contrasts with humans’ monestrous phase, in which women have one menstrual period a month.

The estrous cycle has four stages: proestrus, estrus, interestrus, and anestrus. Let’s discuss each phase:


It is the warm-up stage, which lasts about a day or two. During proestrus, female cats may attract males but aren’t ready to mate yet. However, their bodies are starting to rev up. There’s an increased production of estrogen, preparing them for a possible pregnancy. You might not notice any behavior changes or warning signs, but certain discreet changes might occur. Their scent glands might be more active, and they might be more affectionate towards their humans.


It’s when the feline is “in heat” and ready to mate. This phase can last four to six days or more than a week. Cats undergoing this stage become more flirty. Female cats arch their backs and rub their bodies on anything they see. You’ll also hear lots of meowing and yowling. 

These signs are female felines’ ways of telling male cats they’re ready to mate. It’s also the only time they can get pregnant, and their bodies can release eggs. However, they won’t release eggs during this phase if mating doesn’t happen.


A female cat enters this phase if mating hasn’t occurred or doesn’t get pregnant. It’s a period of relative calm that lasts for a couple of weeks. The estrogen level returns to normal during this phase, and the body prepares for another heat cycle unless…


This is the final stage in the estrous cycle. It occurs during colder months with shorter daylight hours. Cats enter this phase, in which their reproductive period is inactive and can last several months.

However, some female cats show signs of pregnancy during this phase, even if they don’t mate. This stage is called pseudopregnancy and can last for a few weeks. They might feel motherly toward plush cat toys or other stuffed animals. They might carry them around and feed them like their kittens. Sometimes, they might even produce milk! But don’t fret—they won’t have any kittens.

Do Cats Get Periods and Bleed During the Cycle?


Since cats absorb the lining of their uterus, they don’t experience menstrual bleeding like us. However, there’s a slight chance you might see some spotting or bleeding during the estrus phase. It’s completely normal, so you have nothing to worry about.

However, if excessive bleeding occurs or you just want to ensure your cat’s health, it’s better to consult a vet nearby. They can assess your cat’s condition and give any needed treatment or advice to ensure your cat’s welfare.

When Is Bleeding a Concern?


While occasional spotting during the “in heat” period is possible, there are instances wherein vaginal bleeding in cats requires veterinary attention. Here are some common health conditions that can cause bleeding unrelated to the estrous cycle.

Uterine Infections

It occurs when a cat’s womb swells, even if she didn’t mate during the estrous cycle or isn’t pregnant. The swelling is caused by her uterus filling with pus. As a result, your cat will feel uncomfortable and may have a smelly discharge.


Just like how we get hurt and bleed if we get injured, your cat can experience it, too. Its private part could bleed if it falls or gets into a fight with another cat.

Urinary Tract Infections

Cats can also get Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). This infection not only makes their tummy ache but also affects the bladder. The bladder becomes irritated, causing bloody urine. That’s why it’s easy to get confused and think the blood comes out of its vagina when in fact, it’s from her bladder.


Sometimes, cats can get lumps in their reproductive organs. These growths aren’t always life-threatening but can cause bleeding.

Schedule a vet visit immediately if you notice any unusual or excessive bleeding. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for your cat’s health.

Benefits and Impact of Spaying on the Heat Cycle


Spaying or ovariohysterectomy is a medical procedure that removes a cat’s ovaries and uterus. It effectively stops heat cycles and prevents pregnancy. As a responsible cat owner, spaying your female cat is vital for its health, especially if you’re not planning to breed. Here’s why you should consider spaying your feline buddy:

  • Keeps Your Cat Calm – As explained above, a female cat experiences many behavioral and hormonal changes. These mood swings can be frustrating to deal with. If you spay your cat, you eliminate those hormonal and behavioral problems, keeping your cat calm, cool, and collected.
  • Reduces Health Risks – Spaying your cat before the first estrous cycle begins can reduce the risks of ovarian, cervical, and mammary cancer. Since their ovaries are removed, it reduces hormones in their bodies, thus eliminating the risk of tumor growth.
  • Reduces Risk of Roaming – When female cats are in heat, their hormones and desire push them to look for mates. They’ll try to escape with every chance they get to find one. That said, they’ll risk being injured as they cross roads and highways to seek mates. If your cat is spayed, you’ll reduce this wanderlust and find them happy and comfy curled up on your lap.
  • Helps Control Cat Population – Many stray cats are trying to survive. Spaying your cat means you won’t add to the problem, and you’re also helping animal shelters and rescue groups from getting too crowded.

Spaying is a safe procedure performed by vets. It ensures your cat’s health and well-being.

What If I Don’t Spay My Cat?


If you don’t want to spay your cat, that’s okay. Maybe you’re a responsible breeder, or there’s another reason why you want to keep her unspayed. What it is, it’s crucial to know what to do when the heat cycle comes because—let’s face it—it can get pretty annoying. So, here’s what you need to do when the “heat wave” occurs.

Supervise Your Cat During Heat Cycles

Keep a watchful eye on your cat when you open the door, and ensure the windows are completely shut. Also, consider giving her a temporary enclosure like a spare room or large crate. This will give her space while minimizing the risk of an escape.

Manage the Noise

As mentioned earlier, cats can be boisterous during heat cycles. Manage their yowls and meows by keeping them engaged in play. Give them cat trees, tunnels, or feather wands to work off that pent-up energy. If they’re tired, they’d rather sleep than yowl.

If your cat keeps yowling, especially at night, take it to a quiet, comfortable space away from your bedroom. Again, just be sure the door and windows are closed so it doesn’t get out in the middle of the night while you’re asleep.

Remove the Scent Caused by Urine Spraying

Cats spray their pee around the house to attract potential mates. To remove the scent, provide them with clean litter boxes. Get at least two litter boxes per cat and scoop them daily. This should do the trick to get rid of the scent.

If your cat sprays its urine outside the litter box, use an enzymatic cleaner formulated for pet messes. This cleaning agent removes all traces of urine from the spot where your kitty sprayed.

Key Takeaways

Cats don’t experience menstruation like humans. However, they have a unique reproductive cycle called the estrous or “in heat” cycle. Knowing the differences between a human’s menstrual cycle and a cat’s estrous cycle is crucial for proper pet care. Also, consider spaying your cat before the first estrous cycle begins. Not only will it benefit its health, but it will also help control the pet population.

But if you don’t want to spay your cat, be a responsible owner or breeder. Supervise your cat during heat cycles by keeping it indoors, engaging it in playtime, and removing all traces of scent in and out of your cat’s litter box.

Contact the vet immediately if you have concerns about your cat’s reproductive health or notice any unusual or excessive bleeding. Early diagnosis and treatment ensure your cat lives long and happy.


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