When Do Cats Go into Heat?

Last Updated on April 13, 2020

While heat cycles don’t really have a set number of months, age and environmental factors play a huge role in when a cat will be ready to further the population. Is your cat about to go into heat?


Typically most cats will go into heat at about 6 months of age. This is based on house cats alone, not including strays. Strays tend to go into heat a lot sooner, as young as 3 months has been reported. While this does happen, it is not safe for a kitten under 10 months to become pregnant.


Female cats tend to enter heat at a slightly quicker rate as they smell male pheromones from as early as 3 months of age. These pheromones are detected in the male’s urine.

Males cats will only smell the pheromones from a female when she is already in heat. The male will have to smell them to become active in seeking his mate.


Indoor cats go into heat later than strays or indoor/outdoor cats because of the lack of pheromones. Many males and even some females can actually continue spraying after being fixed because of other cats doing so outdoors. Seasons also play a factor as well. If you live where it snows, you are less likely to see a pregnant female walking around in the winter but it still does happen. Warmer claimants, like Greece for example, have huge feline populations partially because it never becomes cold enough to mask the pheromones of the males or females.


Kittens who have an underlying disease are less likely to go into heat sooner, or the average 6 months of age. While some diseases and illnesses affect this, remember it takes two to tango so if the female is the sick one, a male in heat likely won’t care too much which can be bad for her.

Think your cat may already be pregnant?

Please check the signs and always visit a vet! Read Is My Cat Pregnant? for more information.

Plan on Breeding?

If you would like to experience this, there is nothing wrong with that! Birth is a beautiful thing but remember that the cat population is very large. Make sure you have homes prior to your cat becoming pregnant or plan on having enough room, money, and love to keep a few if they can’t find homes. Never allow your female to get pregnant prior to 10 months. Any age under 10 months comes with health risks for both the mamma cat and her kittens.

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