As the days get longer, the behavior of the queen changes. You are looking for a partner willing to mate. The spring fever of the cats is unmistakable – and lasts into autumn.
They roll on the ground, rub against objects, stretch their buttocks in the air, scratch at the window, call, meow, even scream and set scent marks: instead of exploring the area on quiet paws, the queens behave suddenly with the beginning of spring loud and theatrical. No wonder, after all, they want to attract the attention of the opposite sex because the light of the longer days ensures that the urge to mate is activated. Say: The sexually mature females are in heat.
These phases each last five to ten days, with the animals really being ready to mate on four days. “The cat clearly takes on the active role,” says Andrea Heiniger, a veterinarian and behavioral doctor from Wermatswil ZH. “Pens don’t go into heat, they just respond to the scent and behavior of the kitten no matter the time of year.” Nevertheless, they also make themselves feel: “You can hear them in the quarters because they then fight loudly among themselves for the female cats who are willing to mate,” says Heiniger.
Autumn Busses are Not Weaker
But the spring fever doesn’t go away with the end of spring. “As long as the days are long enough, the queens will always be in heat,” explains Heiniger. If they are not mated in one phase, it takes about 14 days before they show themselves to be ready to mate again. The situation is different when they are actually mated. “They then give birth to the young and wait until they are big enough. They can get back into heat around six to eight weeks after the litter. Mostly when they are no longer nursing the young animals.”
So it is possible that litter will also occur in autumn. It is often spoken of autumn bushes. There is also a rumor that these are weaker than those from spring litters. According to Heiniger, another factor is more important than the time of birth. “If the mother cat has a good home and is well fed, there is no difference in the constitution between spring and autumn cats,” says the behavioral doctor. In the case of wildcats, the food situation tends to be tied to the season, which can lead to the fall buffalo being weaker.
Castration Avoids Stress
On the other hand, there is a big difference in heat between outdoor or wild cats and indoor cats. “The seasons don’t have such a big impact on indoor cats because they usually get the same amount of light,” says Heiniger. “They can get into heat all year round.”
One way to prevent heat is castration. As a result, the cats no longer produce sex hormones. The association Katzenfreunde Schweiz recommends this step if the cat is not going to be mated anyway. Every heat is associated with great stress, he writes on his website. If you observe the behavior of the cats in such a phase, it is easy to get the impression that they are in pain. If mating is not successful for a long period of time, the cat can also end up in constant heat, which is very stressful. With each phase, the risk of uterine inflammation and other hormone-related diseases increases. And in the case of indoor cats, being in heat could even lead to an unexpected escape from familiar surroundings – in the worst case, straight into traffic.
According to Katenfreunde Schweiz, the ideal time for castration is not after, but before the first heat or sexual maturity. This can also reduce the risk of mostly malignant mammary tumors, says Heiniger. Sexual maturity can occur between four and nine months of age, depending on the breed. For cats that have not been neutered, on the other hand, the motto is still loud and fragrant to woo their partner.