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What Sounds Does a Cat in Heat Make? Vet-Reviewed Noises Explained

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By Misty Layne

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Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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This article has been fact-checked by a qualified veterinarian using information available at the time of review. Veterinary medicine is continually evolving and changing. Cat owners are urged to discuss their cat’s care with their veterinarian and this article should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice for your pet.

If you have a female cat around four to six months of age who has yet to be spayed, she will eventually go into heat. Heat is also sometimes called going into season or by its scientific name estrus. It is the time when a female cat becomes ready for mating.  A cat in heat can be a bit overwhelming the first time you witness it for various reasons, not the least of which is the sounds a cat in heat makes. Cats in heat are loud, which is one of the main ways you can tell a feline is experiencing going into heat.

But why do cats in heat make these sounds? What do these sounds mean? We’re looking closer at cats in heat sounds to discover why your cat makes them. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about the sounds a cat makes while in heat!

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What Sounds Does a Cat in Heat Make?

There are really only two main sounds a female cat will make due to being a heat—caterwauling and purring.

Caterwauling is your kitty’s primary vocalization during a heat; this will sound like a drawn-out, whining sort of yowl. It can be a bit disturbing the first time you hear it because it may sound like your cat is in distress.

Purring is a typical feline sound, but purring will be softer and constant during a heat. Your cat will likely also be quite affectionate towards you and others while making this sound.

Why Does My Cat Make These Sounds?

So why is your cat caterwauling and purring like mad? Caterwauling is so loud and done so often because it’s the way your cat lets any males lingering in the vicinity know that she is ready to mate. So, unless you want kittens running around, it’s imperative that you keep your kitty in the house when they’re making this noise. Otherwise, every male cat in the area will fight to get to them, and you could have kittens on your hands!

The constant soft purring your cat will do while in heat is likely done simply because your kitty feels more affectionate than usual.

Why does your cat know when to start caterwauling to attract a mate? Blame hormones! Vocalizations during heats are triggered by changes in hormones, specifically in estrogen and progesterone. While these hormones play a role in preparing your cat’s body for pregnancy, they also play a role in the kitty’s behavior, like the need for loud noise.

It’s important to note that a caterwauling feline may continue these vocalizations for days. However, it’s also important to know that not every feline will make sounds when in heat.

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How Can I Tell if My Cat is In Heat or Just Vocalizing?

Sometimes, cats simply vocalize. They may want your attention, see a squirrel outside the window that excites them, or be annoyed. So, how can you tell the difference between your kitty’s regular vocalizations and heat vocalizations?

cat in heat bends in an arm chair
Image Credit: iwciagr, Shutterstock

Behavior

Their behavior will be the major indicator of whether a cat is engaging in regular vocalization or heat vocalization. Felines in heat become restless, try to escape the house, rub their body against things constantly, and occasionally assume the mating position. Cats who are vocalizing for other reasons won’t show those behaviors. Learning to read your kitty’s body language is one of the best ways to communicate with them!

Pitch and Tone

When a cat in heat is caterwauling, the pitch and tone may be higher than normal. So, if your cat is yowling in a high-pitched tone, it could be because they’re in heat.

Duration and Frequency

A cat in heat makes a lot of sound! This could be constant sound or long periods of sound interspersed with silence. And these sounds can go on for days. If your pet only makes noise a time or two as opposed to constantly, they’re likely not in heat.

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Benefits of Spaying Your Cat

Of course, if you want to avoid the whole heat vocalization thing (as well as the other behaviors that come with it), having your cat spayed is the way to go. While there are always some concerns when it comes to surgery for our pets, spaying a cat offers many health benefits (and not only the benefit of avoiding an unplanned pregnancy).

Did you know that having your pet fixed can actually lengthen their lifespan? In one study, it was found that female cats who were spayed lived approximately 39% longer than those who were unspayed!

Then, there’s the benefit of preventing your cat from engaging in hormonal behaviors. While you may picture urine marking as a trait of male cats (and it is more common in them), female felines can engage in this behavior, too. However, having the cat spayed can reduce or negate hormonal urine marking.

Plus, getting your cat fixed can reduce the risk of (or keep them safe from) certain illnesses. Specifically, the spaying of females can eliminate the risk of uterine infections and mammary tumors.

So, seriously consider getting your pet spayed!

spayed cat wearing cone
Image Credit: Elwynn, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Female cats in heat can be loud! But there’s a reason for that; the loud vocalizations kitty makes during heat are meant to attract any males in the area. Essentially, it’s a mating call. You may also find your cat emitting a soft, constant purr during heat. This sound is likely made because of how affectionate the kitty is feeling.

If you’d rather skip the experience of heat vocalizations, you should consider having your cat spayed. Not only will this prevent pregnancy, but it has many health benefits!


Featured Image Credit: Faroe, Shutterstock

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