Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I rescued my cat not too long ago. She is half Siamese, half Persian, and is just starting to go into heat. But I thought that cats mainly go into heat during the warmer months. Is it possible for it to be reversed with certain breeds or could something else be wrong? What can I do to calm her down a bit?
Thomas: Well, Michelle, there are a couple of factors at play here. First of all, Siamese cats tend to go into heat earlier than other breeds — in fact, a Siamese cat can go into heat as early as four months old!
Bella: Oh, that’s awful! Can you imagine? Kittens having kittens … what a sad thing. *sniffle*
Thomas: You’re right, Bella: Four months is way too young to get pregnant, even if a cat’s body says it’s time.
Bella: The other thing is that even though cats in the northern hemisphere can go into heat from January through late fall, but there are a lot of places in the world where the warmer months are all the time!
Thomas: In places like the southern U.S., for example, “kitten season” never really stops because it never gets so cold that kitties’ bodies instinctively tell their brains that it’s a bad time to have babies.
Bella: Also, cats that live in warm houses can go into heat any time of the year.
Thomas: Each heat generally lasts a few days — it can be as short as one day or as long as a week. If a cat isn’t mated during that time, she’ll stop behaving like she’s in heat for a week or two, and then go back into full heat again.
Bella: But if a cat continues not to be mated, the heat cycles can get shorter and shorter until she’s almost constantly in heat. That’s very stressful for both the cat and for the humans who care for her!
Thomas: Male cats can mate any time of the year, so don’t think that a female cat is safe from getting pregnant in the winter months.
Bella: You mean all it takes is for a boy cat to smell a girl cat in heat and he’s ready to go?
Thomas: Well, yes.
Bella: Oh, my goodness!
Thomas: As for what you can do about it? The obvious thing is to make an appointment with your vet to have your baby spayed as soon as possible.
Bella: She’s not too young to be spayed. In fact, shelters often have kittens spayed as young as 8 weeks.
Thomas: As long as the kitten weighs 2 pounds or more, shelter vets are willing to spay or neuter.
Bella: And for small creatures like cats, there don’t seem to be any long-term health issues.
Thomas: They’ve been spaying and neutering kittens long enough to have a very good research base for long-term health issues, too.
Bella: In the meantime, don’t let her sneak out of the house. Cats in heat can be great escape artists.
Thomas: That’s right. When a cat is in heat, the urge to mate is so strong that she’ll do whatever it takes to find a randy male cat.
Bella: You’re not randy, are you?
Thomas: No, I’m Thomas!
Bella: You know what I mean!
Thomas: No, Bella, I’m not randy. I don’t think I’ve ever been randy. I got neutered while I was still a kitten.
Bella: What a smart First Daddy you had!
Thomas: Your First Mama was pretty smart, too. She adopted you from a shelter, and they had you spayed before you even left.
Bella: We don’t think there’s something weird that’s wrong with your cat. We think that what’s happening is perfectly natural.
Thomas: We know that having a cat spayed can be pretty expensive, so if finances are a concern, we suggest you call your local shelter or rescue and see if they know of any low-cost spay/neuter services in your area. They’re getting more and more common, after all.
Bella: Another great resource for locating low-cost spay/neuter clinics is SpayUSA. There, you can fill in a referral form and get resources by state, for every state in the U.S.
Thomas: Save.ca has some resources for Canadian pet caretakers looking for low-cost spay/neuter services.
Bella: Do you other readers know of low-cost spay/neuter resources? We’re particularly interested in services outside of the U.S.
Thomas: We know we have readers in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout Europe. Some of you are even reading from Asian countries . How awesome is that?
Bella: We’d love your help to help our other non-U.S. readers find low-cost spay/neuter services.
Thomas: Also, have you other readers had a cat that went into heat really early? What did you do about it? How did you keep your cat from getting pregnant before you had her spayed? Or did she get pregnant — and what happened when she did?
Bella: Please share your stories and your links for spay/neuter services in the comments!