When Do Unspayed Female Cats Usually Go into Heat?

Queen cats can reach sexual maturity as young as 4 months.
i George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

When you bring a bouncy little kitten into your home, it may seem at first that she'll be a baby one forever.The reality is that kitties mature startlingly quickly. Unless you have her spayed, your wee pal could have her first heat cycle at 5 months, or even younger.

First Heat Cycle

Kittens reach their version of the "rebellious teen years" around 5 or 6 months. In certain Asian breeds such as the Siamese, this stage comes even quicker, usually around 4 months. Some other cat breeds are late bloomers. Persian cats often don't begin their heat cycles until they're almost a year old. To be safe, though, expect that if you don't get your kitten spayed, she'll probably go into her first estrus at 4 months. The sooner she's spayed, the better for her and for you.


The heat cycle in cats typically lasts about a week. Cats normally get about a two- or three-week break between cycles. All of this means unspayed female cats have many opportunities to get pregnant -- definitely not a good thing for the goal of preventing cat overpopulation and homelessness.

Mating Season

The mating season for cats starts around February or March and continues until the beginning of the autumn. While this is the general season, cats can become pregnant at any time of year.


The symptoms of the heat cycle in cats can be frustrating, both for your unhappy kitty and for the ears and sanity of the people she lives with. When your fluffy friend is in heat, she may display unusually affectionate behavior -- which may sound wonderful, but you'll also have to endure yowling, meowing and constant attempts to escape your home in search of male cats. Urine spraying is another "perk" of the heat cycle. The only way to regain peace and sanity for all is to have Kitty spayed. Now you've done your part toward preventing feline overpopulation, your kitty is spared the frustration of the heat cycles, and you no longer have to endure the behavior -- definitely a huge bonus.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest