If your cat is in heat, it can be pretty obvious. Constant calling, rolling around, rubbing against things, and waiting for the slightest opportunity to break out of the house.
So, can you put an end to their heat by getting them spayed? And when is the best time to do it? We have all the information you will need.
If your four-legged friend is of the canine variety, check out our article about how long dogs are in heat.
Can You Spay a Cat in Heat?
Although it’s ideal to avoid having your cat spayed when they’re in heat, there are situations where the vet chooses to go ahead. This may be because the heat are so close together that the opportunity to proceed with the surgery has been missed a few times.
Similarly, if a cat is becoming very difficult to keep inside and so there is a substantial risk of an accidental mating, it might be deemed appropriate to go ahead.
How Long After Heat is Best to Spay Your Cat?
If you can wait, it’s best not to spay your cat while they’re in heat. To minimize the risks it’s best to wait a couple of weeks for everything to settle down.
However, this is sometimes difficult because female cats can come into heat again just a few days after their previous heat ended, so it’s easy to miss the opportunity to spay her, depending on the length of her cycles.
If you’re struggling to get the timing right when it comes to spaying, make an appointment with one of our team to discuss your options.
How Can You Spot a Heat in a Cat and How Long Does it Last?
Every cat is different, but a cat’s heat or heat tends to last somewhere between a few days and a week.
During this time, you’ll probably notice them vocalizing, known as yowling or caterwauling. These noises are essentially their way of calling for a mate. They will also rub against furniture or your legs more than usual, and they might roll around on the floor.
This odd behavior, combined with their crying, often convinces owners that they are in pain rather than in heat. One giveaway sign of a cat’s heat is the lordosis position.
This is where the cat crouches down with their rear end elevated, in what looks like a praying position. As they raise their bottom in the air, they often hold their tail to one side. This display is intended to attract a male.
Why is Spaying Your Cat Recommended?
There are multiple benefits to spaying your cat. If you choose not to spay your cat, not only will they continue to come into heat repeatedly, but you'll risk them getting pregnant.
Cat heats are triggered by longer days, so most young cats will come into heat for the first time during early spring.
If they don’t mate and become pregnant during that heat, they will come back into heat within a week or two. This cycle can repeat until the inevitable pregnancy occurs.
Of course, every time a cat does mate, there is a risk of transmission of diseases. There is also a risk of unneutered female cats developing a uterine infection, known as a pyometra. This is very uncommon compared to dogs, though, likely because most female cats are spayed when they are young. Therefore, if you’re not planning on breeding your female cat, it’s best to get her spayed.
You can find out more about how to keep your pet healthy by reading Everything You Need to Know About Your Pet’s Health Care.
What Does Spaying a Cat Involve?
A cat spay operation is known scientifically as an ovariohysterectomy. During the procedure, the cat's uterus (womb) and ovaries are surgically removed. Depending on whether the cat is pregnant, or complications are anticipated, the surgical wound may be on the flank or the midline of the belly.
After spaying, your cat will take around 10-14 days to heal and recover, and until then will need to be monitored closely. They will usually need to wear a cone collar or body suit to prevent them from licking the wound or pulling the stitches out.
What are the Risks of Spaying a Cat in Heat?
When your cat is in heat, the blood vessels surrounding their ovaries and uterus are larger and more fragile. Similarly, the uterus itself will be engorged. This can mean that the risk of excessive bleeding and other complications during the surgical procedure is higher.
In summary, getting your cat spayed is the best and most responsible choice any pet parent can make if they are not intending to breed from them. While it can be costly, it lowers your cat’s risk of some deadly viral diseases and prevents unwanted litters of kittens. If you can, it’s best to avoid having them spayed while they’re in heat, but if you’re struggling to find a time when they aren’t in heat, speak to your veterinarian about the options available.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long After a Heat Can a Cat be Spayed?
Cats can be spayed during their heat, however, there is a greater risk of complications. Therefore, it’s safer to spay them a week or two after their heat, if possible.
How Can I Get My Cat Out of Heat?
There are hormonal treatments available that can delay heat, although these aren’t without risks. You can’t, however, bring your cat out of the heat, the heat has to end naturally.
Is it Risky to Spay a Cat in Heat?
There are some greater risks associated with spaying a cat while they’re in heat. This primarily the risk of excessive blood loss. However, in-heat spays are still performed relatively regularly and the complication rate is low.
How Much Does it Cost to Spay a Cat in Heat?
The cost to have your cat spayed will depend on your location and the practice you choose. There could also be supplementary charges if the surgery is more complicated due to your cat being in heat.