Even if you feel like your kitten will forever be your little baby, the truth is that many furry felines reach reproductive maturity in the blink of an eye -- often around 6 months. Understand what it means for a cat to experience heat and how you can spot it.
All female cats experience their first heat cycle at different times. It simply is impossible to predict, no matter how cat savvy you may believe you are. On the premature side, some kittens go into heat at a mere 4 months old. At the opposite end of the spectrum, other kittens experience it much later on -- at 10 months or older.
Your sweet kitten's specific breed may be able to help you determine whether or not she will go into heat prematurely. For example, Burmese and Siamese cats often reach sexual maturity faster than other breeds. It is definitely not unusual for female kittens of these breeds to go into heat at around 4 months old.
If you suspect that kitty is too young to be in heat but are still uncertain, it helps to know exactly what to expect from the whole thing. When a female cat is in heat, you'll likely be able to quickly tell, from the super affectionate rubbing behavior and the piercing nighttime yowling, to the restless wandering around and the drastic appetite loss. If you spot any of these behaviors, then there's a good chance your little kitten is now a grown-up!
No matter what the age, a cat being in heat is a sign that she is sexually mature and ready to reproduce. As a pet owner, it is very important to understand the possible consequences of your cat breeding. If she goes outdoors a lot, she could very quickly end up with a litter of fuzzy little kittens -- which are now your responsibility. Unless you are prepared to deal with more cats -- as cute as they are -- get your cat spayed as soon as possible. She can be spayed as young as 4 months.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images