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Feline Estrous Cycle

Estrous cycle or cat breeding cycle is the changing hormones cycle in the cats’ reproductive system. It is composed of four phases called proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus.


Proestrus

The first phase of the feline estrous cycle is the proestrus. Your queen may be exhibiting her first proestrus behavior as early as four months of age! So watch out if your queen is beginning to come into heat (another term for estrus, we’ll get to that soon).

This proestrus phase lasts only for a day or two but it is sometimes unbearable for the owner. This phase is what breeders often refers to ‘calling’. Wanna know why? Your queen won’t go unnoticed in this period. Here are the common signs of proestrus:

Excessively friendly

especially towards men. Yeah, I know. But somehow mamalian hormones are kinda similar in structure so it can act across species. So your queen may be just flirting with your men. Or you men. But bear in mind that this signs usually is obvious towards reserved female.

Always trying to escape

She will watch for ANY opportunity to dart through open door and almost escaping. Or she may claw the door demanding to be let out. Or she might jump at the door knob trying to open the door herself! These are useful indicators of proestrus if they are not the usual behavior of your queen.

Yowling

Oh you can live without this one. She will stand in the window and started to ‘call’ in a loud vocal ocurring in bursts that’ll build in crescendo, then dies away. But this depends on the individual, particularly in different breed. Some queen will all emit but a few squeaks. Some, (Siamese are famous for this) are so noisy that you and even your neighbour won’t be able to sleep!

Rolling, rubbing

She will roll around the floor, her behind lifted, rubbing head on furniture and people. Well, this is kinda normal, but she will do it more often than usual.

Strange posture

She will assume mating posture when you hold her in the scruff anf pat her lightly under the tail. Extended licking on her genital area, squatting with her chest on the floor and her behind lifted up and sometimes her back feet treading the floor. These are all mating postures.

Copulating (or mating) does not occur during this stage. Male cats are certainly very attracted to queens at this phase but she won’t allow any toms to mount her. Yet. She’ll usually fold her tail between her hind legs to prevent this.


Estrus

In this stage of estrous cycle, will only your queen accept the stud. This stage can lasts up to ten days if she is not mated. But if coitus happens, it lasts about 3-4 days. If you allow your queen to roam about in this phase she might mate with several toms and conceive kittens sired by different toms.

Cats are induced ovulators. That means your queen will only ovulate (release female eggs in her womb) when coitus is accomplished. Copulation initiates the release of lutenizing hormone (LH) that will stimulate ovulation. However, the level of LH varies with different queen and the frequency of the mating. Some queens get sufficient stimulation by a single mating but others may take several mating to induce ovulation.

Estrus terminates shortly after breeding. So to ensure your success to get your queen pregnant it is wise to leave your queen and the stud together for as long as she will periodically allow the stud to mount her.


Diestrus

In the third phase of estrous cycle, diestrus, she will reject any toms approaching her and her behavior will return to normal. If she is bred this phase will lasts all throughout the pregnancy (about nine weeks). But if she’s not bred it will only lasts about one or two weeks before she went into the next phase.

False pregnancy (pseudo-pregnancy) can often occurs if ovulation takes place without any conception. In this case diestrus will last for about a month, or six weeks or sometimes longer. The only difference between this stage and the next is the elevated level of progesterone hormone in her body.


Anestrus

This is the last phase of the estrous cycle. It is the resting and recuperative stage that occurs in unmated queen before the next proestrus starts. This short period of reproductive inactivity is similar of that spayed female.

During this time their attitude are stable, will reject any male advances and their activities are normal. Sometimes you can stretch this time in your queen by regulating her light exposure. This will be further explained in fertility management.



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