When kitty calls…


One thing that tends to get overlooked in cats during their heat period is ‘calling’. Female cats keep calling in varying pitched meows when they are on heat, but pet parents don’t understand the reason for it. Here’s more on what ‘calling’ in cats is and how is it related to a cat’s heat period.

Kritika Manchanda

Estrus or estrus related calling in cats means that the cat is on heat. This indicates that the female cat is fertile and would be receptive to mating. The stage is defined according to the female cat’s sexual behaviour.

Dogs have two mating cycles a year whereas for cats there are several mating cycles in a year. The female cat would come into heat under the effect of increasing day length (also known as photoperiod) once she reaches puberty. The heat cycle usually begins when they reach the age of six months.
Calling in cats is a part of their heat cycle. There are four phases of a cat’s heat cycle –

  • Pre-estrus
  • Estrus
  • Met estrus
  • Di estrus

Calling usually happens during the estrus phase. This phase lasts for 7-10 days. If your cat doesn’t get pregnant within this duration, the phase would repeat every 14-21 days until she becomes pregnant. It is recommended that you keep your cat indoors when she is on heat.

According to Dr Gautam Anand, “Cats are induced ovulators – it means that mating stimulates them to release (ovulate) her eggs.” This simply means that if the ‘queen’ (a female cat) mates with a male, she becomes pregnant or else the phase would just end.
“Usually a female cat would not stop calling until she is bred. In fact, there are high chances that even after mating she would still be in estrus period. In simple words it means that she would still be on heat,” said Dr Gautam.
Some of the main symptoms that indicate your cat is in heat include –

Calling during the day and night

  • Loss of appetite
  • Behavioural changes
  • Increased affection
  • Rubbing against people/ furniture
  • Pronounced (husky) meowing
  • Varied pitch in meows
  • Rolling on the floor
  • Spraying on vertical surfaces (table legs, chairs, sofas etc.)

Some of the cats may be silent callers. So instead of calling out loudly they would howl or squirm around.

“Spaying and neutering are effective treatment options,” said Dr Gautam. It is essential that when neutering is done both the ovaries are removed as the cat would still have heat cycles with a single ovary as well. Consult your vet for the same.
Apart from these surgical procedures, the other treatment method is a suppressive injection. “This particular injection suppresses the heat cycle in cats for up to 6 months,” shared Dr Gautam.
Calling in shrill meows can sometimes be irritating for the pet parent, but you need to understand the cause and get proper treatment. You must understand that your pet undergoes various hormonal changes during heat. Therefore be a little more patient and loving.

(With inputs from Dr Gautam Anand of Dr Anand’s Pet Clinic, Delhi)