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How to Calm Your Cat in Heat – 8 Possible Ways

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

tortie cat resting on heated bed

If you’ve ever been around a cat that’s in heat, you know how annoying they can be. Don’t get us wrong, we love our pets no matter what, but after a week of dealing with a cat in heat, you’re ready to do just about anything to provide them with some relief while simultaneously allowing yourself to keep your sanity. 

Lucky for you, there are some things that you can do as the owner of an unspayed female cat to provide them with some calming relief during their heat cycles. Keep reading to learn eight ways to calm your cat when they’re in heat.

The 8 Ways to Calm Your Cat in Heat

1. Isolate Her from Male Cats

male gray tabby cat mounting on a female calico cat
Image Credit: Attapol Yiemsiriwut, Shutterstock

The first and most essential step when you know your cat is in heat is to isolate her from the male cats of the household. Not only will this prevent pregnancy, but it will stop your female kitty from getting excitable in the presence of a male tom cat. 

If you have a friend or family member who can housesit your male cat until your female is out of heat, that is highly recommended. You should also consider closing the blinds or curtains to prevent your female from spotting tomcats out of the windows in your home. 

It would help if you also kept her indoors when you notice the initial heat symptoms begin.

2. Provide a Warm Spot to Sit

Some cats in heat find comfort and calmness in warmth. Though this isn’t always true for all cats, it is worth a shot.

Try warming up a microwavable heating pad and put it close to your cat’s favorite sleeping spot. You can also use an electric heating pad or blanket, but these are less safe as they can pose a fire hazard. Microwavable heat packs are the best as they will lose their heat over time, and you can simply pop them back into the microwave to reheat them.

3. Try Natural Remedies

dried chamomile in a bowl
Image Credit: Sea Wave, Shutterstock

There are many different herbal remedies on the market that may or may not calm your kitty when she’s in heat. It’s important to note that these remedies don’t work on all cats, so we don’t recommend spending hundreds of dollars on products unless you have the means or already know that they work well for your kitty.

Valerian is a herb that’s not dissimilar to catnip. After the initial “high” wears off, valerian will not only keep your kitty calm but promote sleep as well. This herb is often used by humans to treat insomnia and will have a similar effect on your cat. 

Dried chamomile flowers are another potential calming herb that could help provide stress relief for your in-heat cat. 

Bach Rescue Remedy is a flower essence combination that can relieve stress and anxiety in pets. It’s not a herb, but it’s made from five natural flower essences. These calming drops work fast and are easy to administer in your pet’s food or water as needed.

4. Provide Enrichment Activities

Distraction is a great way to calm your female when she’s in heat.  

Giving your kitty the chance to play and act on their natural predatory behavior can produce a temporary calming effect on your in-heat cat. Try giving them their meals in a puzzle feeder to promote mental stimulation and to give them a chance to flex their predator muscles. Play will also provide a positive outlet for all of your pet’s pent-up energy. 

You can also provide enrichment by just spending time with her. Snuggle her and give her a lot of love and attention.

5. Give Catnip a Shot

Dried green catnip for cats spilling from container
Image Credit: gvictori, Shutterstock

Every cat responds to catnip differently. Some get crazy, others mellow out, and some don’t respond at all. You know your cat best. If your kitty tends to get relaxed and quiet when offered catnip, giving them a small dose once or twice a day will give you a couple of hours of peace and quiet.

6. Use Feliway

Feliway is a synthetic feline hormone that can comfort and reassure cats. It works by emulating natural pheromones that mothers release to calm their kittens. The pheromone is not dissimilar to what your cat rubs onto your furniture with their head butts. 

The Feliway diffuser plugs into any outlet in your home and provides a drug-free solution to stressed-out and anxious cats. If your cat is not spayed, you might want to keep a diffuser plugged in at the beginning of spring, a cat’s natural breeding season. This will allow the Feliway to build up in their system all season long.

7. Stay on Top of Your Litter Box Duties

cat sniffing on the litter box
Image Credit: cheyennezj, Shutterstock

Female cats sometimes scent mark with urine to attract mates while they’re in heat. If your litter box is clean all the time, it might persuade your kitty to use it instead of spray marking in other places around your home. 

If they scent mark anyway, you need to get to work cleaning and deodorizing the area as soon as possible. The faster you are at cleaning up the mess, the less likely it is that the smell will linger and encourage further marking or urinating. 

An enzymatic cleaner is your best fight against urine smells. You can make them at home for cheap with supplies you probably already have at your disposal.

Get Them Spayed

The only way you can provide permanent relief from heat-related stress is through spaying. 

When a female cat gets spayed, the surgeon removes its ovaries and womb, which then removes the hormones that cause any unwanted heat-related behavior. 

Not only does spaying stop your cat from going into heat, but it will also reduce their chance of developing certain health conditions.

Spaying can reduce the likelihood of your cat developing certain types of cancers. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in unspayed females. If you have your cat spayed before it goes into heat for the first time, there is less than a 0.5% chance of her later developing breast cancer. With every heat cycle that happens, the risk of developing this type of cancer increases. 

The sooner you get your cat spayed, the better, too. After around 2.5 years of age, the spaying procedure will offer no protection against developing breast cancer. 

Female cats who are not spayed are also at risk of developing pyometra. Pyometra is a serious and life-threatening uterine infection. 

How Long Will My Cat Be In Heat For?

A cat in heat is very persistent, loud, and annoying. So, if you’re dealing with a cat amid a heat cycle, you might be wondering how much longer you’ll have to put up with your pet’s nonstop vocalization or urine spraying. 

Cats have multiple heat cycles during their breeding season, which will vary by your geographic location and other environmental factors like temperature and hours of daylight. In the Northern Hemisphere, most cats will cycle from the start of the new year until the late fall. Cats who find themselves in a tropical region or are mainly kept indoors can cycle all year round.

Each heat cycle will last several days, but most are over within a week. That said, it is not unusual for a cycle to last as few as two days or as many as 19. The cycle often repeats itself every two to three weeks, especially if you’re living in an area with extended daylight hours.

Final Thoughts

If your cat is in heat, you’re probably counting down the days until the cycle ends. The incessant vocalization can drive a person crazy.

The problem with not spaying your pet is that the heat cycles will continue forever. The best and only way to ensure your cat is calm during breeding season is to get them spayed. You’ll not only be providing much-needed relief for your pet, but you’ll be lowering their risk of certain types of cancers and ensuring you keep your sanity a little longer, too. 


Featured Image Credit: Tina Talley, Shutterstock

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