Do cats go through menopause? If you recently adopted an older female feline, you might be wondering if your pet is experiencing “the change” like you. According to experts, cat menopause is a myth, so you can’t exactly bond with your kitty over the annoyances of hot flashes and the dreaded insomnia (sorry). That said, older female cats do experience a change as they get older — it’s just different from ours.
According to Animal Planet, there is no kitty equivalent of menopause because cats don’t menstruate like we do. Unspayed female cats, who are known as “queens” — what an appropriate term! — have the ability to conceive as soon as they’re about six months old.
Although queens don’t have a menstrual cycle, they do have an estrous cycle. Known as “going into heat,” the estrous cycle is characterized by a cat’s receptiveness to mating, according to Catster. While a cat can mate anytime throughout the year, it’s most common for her to experience an estrous cycle during the spring and summer months. According to Mercury News, this is because the estrous cycle is linked to the production of melatonin, which slows down when the nights are shorter.
A female cat going into heat will often become more vocal, rub up against you and other animals in the house, pace restlessly, and even spray urine in an effort to mark her territory. This is her way of letting male cats know that she’s ready to mate. Cats in heat can be in that phase for about a week to 10 days. If she isn’t able to mate in that time, she may go into heat yet again about three weeks later. It’s also worth remembering that kitties who aren’t fixed will be able to reproduce for the rest of their lives.
That said, it’s an unspayed cat’s fertility might decline over time. As an unspayed cat gets older, she may produce smaller litters of kittens. If she’s coping with health issues related to aging while trying to mother her cats, she could end up having a poorer quality of life. That’s why many breeders only allow their queens to mate until they’re about five years old.
So, if you’re wondering whether it’s still worth your time to spay your cat if she’s older, the answer is yes — unless you want to risk having a litter of kittens running around!
Next, see some two-faced cats that’ll make you do a double-take in the video below: