During estrus, or the heat cycle, a female cat exhibits behavioral changes such as persistent rubbing against furniture, objects and people, according to VCA Hospitals. A female becomes very affectionate and tends to seek out extra attention. She may yowl, become very vocal, roll on the floor and raise her hind quarters when stroked along her back. Vaginal bleeding may occur during the estrus cycle.
Cats experience the estrus cycle multiple times during a breeding season, which is based on the environment and geography she lives in, states VCA Hospitals. The first episode begins when a female reaches puberty at approximately 6 months of age. The complete cycle may last as long as two to three weeks; however, if the feline does not mate during the initial cycle, she may appear to go out of heat for a week or two. Additionally, the estrus cycle ends a day or two after the female has mated successfully and ovulation has occurred.
Female cats typically require between three and four matings within a 24-hour period in order to achieve ovulation, explains VCA Hospitals. Feline mating takes only a few minutes, and it's common for a female in heat to mate with several different male cats during the estrus cycle. Feline pregnancy lasts approximately nine weeks and can produce a litter of kittens from more than one father.