Sexual Maturity of Domestic Cats

It is important to know about your cat’s sexual maturity, especially if you are concerned about the possibility of your cat breeding.


Female cats usually become sexually mature around 6 months of age.  (Although, this depends on the breed, and can happen as early as 4 months, and in some breeds later than 6 months.) Once your female cat does mature, she will go into heat every few weeks (but some cats, even more frequently). “In heat” means that her body is in the portion of the reproductive cycle in which she is fertile and can get pregnant.  The frequency at which a cat goes on to heat is affected by the length of daylight, with the long days of spring and summer being the high frequency periods.

Signs that your female cat is in heat: They become more vocal, excessively so. In fact, she may yowl loudly throughout the night.  She will display more physical affection toward humans by rubbing against their legs. They will position themselves to receive the male. They may try to escape your house. Each time a cat goes into heat, it lasts from seven to ten days.

The domestic female cat has the biological capacity to give birth to up to three litters per year.  However, if you are breeding your female cat on purpose, it is recommended that it be done less frequently, perhaps twice in eighteen months..



Male cats can reach sexual maturity as early as 5 to 6 months of age.

While male cats don’t actually “go into heat” they do reach sexual maturity, and have strong sexual urges.

Perhaps the first sign of a male domestic cat sexually maturing is when their testes drop.  This can happen as young as four weeks. However, they do not reach full sexual maturity until later.

When male cats become sexually mature, they become more physically aggressive. They begin spraying.  This pungent spraying is his way of marking his territory, to simultaneously ward off other males and attract females.  Similar to female cats in heat, they may try to escape your home.  Since male cats do not go into heat, their attempt to escape is usually due to sensing a female in heat in the area.

What if you do not your cat to reproduce?  If you do not want your cat reproducing, you can have your male cat neutered or your female cat spayed. Talk to your cat’s veterinarian about when it is best to have the procedure done.

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