my cat is in heat and won't shut up
Behavioral Problems

How to Stop a Cat in Heat from Meowing and Yowling

When a female cat enters heat, the noise is unrelenting. A cat in heat sounds like a baby crying. The noise will continue throughout your pet’s season, unless they can mate.

How can you stop your cay yowling when in heat? The only safe option is to wait it out, and get your cat spayed. It’s safest to do this while your cat’s hormonal cycle is at rest. For immediate relief, simulate mating by gently inserting a Q-tip into the cat’s area. This is a form of acupressure, and will calm your pet for a few hours.

The meowing and yowling associated with felines in heat can be a problem for cat owners. It’s loud, it’s constant, and it’s horrible to listen to. Here are some other signs that your cat is in heat. Let’s explore your options for dealing with the noise both now and in the future.

My Cat is in Heat and Won’t Shut Up

If your cat has never entered heat before, it can almost seem fun at first. Cats become considerably more affectionate pets during this time. You may enjoy a previously aloof feline insisting on more attention, and rubbing themselves against you. Then the noise begins.

A cat in heat is a very noisy pet. Your feline will stand by the day and yowl, cry and wail constantly. In addition to this, they’ll become much more chatty. Your cat will follow your around the house, offering increasingly elongated and desperate meows.

The reason for this is simple – your cat is desperate to get outside. They will be aware that a long line of males is waiting to mate with them. An inability to act upon this is like a chronic itch that your cat cannot scratch. They are hoping that, if they harass you enough, you’ll cave and let them out.

You also need to bear in mind that your pet may be in pain during this time. Nobody can be quite sure how a cat in heat feels. Remember that they are experiencing a dramatic hormonal shift, though. This is certain to take a toll, both physically and emotionally. You should be patient and understanding with your cat. They have no more control over their reactions than a human baby.

My Cat is Yowling More at Night Than During the Day

Cats are nocturnal by nature. This means that cats will always be more active at night. Add to this the fact that you are trying to sleep. As far as your cat is concerned, you’re ignoring them. This means they are not distracted, and thus more determined than ever to find a mate.

The only way to calm this down is to exhaust your cat during the day. We have mentioned that a cat in heat will want more attention and playtime. This will not just benefit the cat – it may also help you get a better night’s sleep. Have your pet chasing laser pointers and taxing her gray matter with games all day. This will leave her ready to sleep it all off by the time the sun goes down.

If you also allow your cat to sleep with you, she may feel more secure. Just be consistent with this rule. Cats that get their way by yowling may start crying out of season, too. You’ll have to accept this, and make an all-or-nothing rule surrounding the bedroom.

My Neighbor’s Cat is Keeping Me Awake By Yowling

A yowling cat does not only inconvenience their owners. It’s quite possible – and very likely – that neighbors will be impacted too.

Sadly, there is nothing that can be done about this beyond a polite conversation. Failing to spay a cat is not considered to be animal cruelty, so you will have no legal recourse. In fact, should you take matters into your own hands, you may end up in trouble.

Speak to your neighbor, explaining that their cat’s yowling is detrimental to your quality of life. If you have children that are unable to sleep due to the noise, point this out. You’ll be at the mercy of their good nature, but a polite conversation can work wonders.

If that does not work, you may have grounds for a complaint with your local authority. You can explain that your neighbor’s cat is becoming a noise nuisance. This still may not get you very far, as technically it remains a civil matter. However, it’s always worth a try.

how to help my cat in heat feel better

Should I Let My Cat in Heat Go Outside to Keep Them Quiet?

You may be tempted to cave into your cat’s demands and let them out. After a few days of yowling, you’ll be prepared to accept anything for a quiet life. This is a bad idea for many reasons:

  • Kittens. The most obvious risk is an unplanned pregnancy. Cats are incredibly fertile while they are in heat. They could end up impregnated by the first male they encounter. This leaves you liable for vets’ bills during their pregnancy, and an eventual litter of kittens. This may sound adorable on paper, but it can soon become complex. Think about whether you have space, time and inclination to take care of kittens. Even if you plan to rehome them, they must stay with their mother for a minimum of eight weeks.
  • External Dangers. A cat in heat only has one thing on their mind, and it isn’t personal safety. If your cat scents a male, they’ll make their way to them with determination. This could involve crossing busy roads, and braving other obstacles without a second thought. Your cat will also encounter any number of rivals, all of who will be seeking a mate. Cats in heat – and unneutered males – can get very territorial. This may result in fights between felines, during which your cat could easily get hurt.
  • Personal Health. Another thing that you’ll need to consider is just who your cat is mating with. A feline in heat is not fussy, and will not demand to be wined and dined. They would even mate with a male sibling if available. This means that your pets could come into contact with any number of strange cats. They may be carrying fleas or parasites, or any number of diseases. Your cat could be putting themselves – and any potential kittens – at huge risk. They may even bring home a zoonotic disease, communicable to humans. Cornell University lists the most common examples of these conditions.

If your cat is in heat, it’s advisable to keep them indoors. This will try your patience right down to your last nerve, admittedly. It’s still better than many of the alternatives, though.

You will also need to be particularly vigilant about locking your home down during this time. Don’t be complacent just because your cat is lazy and content most of the time. During heat, any cat becomes incredibly determined to find even the smallest opening to escape through.

How to Help a Cat in Heat Feel Better

We are unsure if heat is painful for a cat, but it’s certainly a difficult time. A biological directive overrides everything else in their body and brain during your cat’s season. Despite this, but they’re unable to act upon it. Show a little empathy for your poor pet during this time.

To help calm your cat down, and hopefully cease some of their yowling, try these techniques:

  • Separate male cats. First thing’s first. If you have multiple cats, and any of them are unneutered males, keep these felines separate. Temporarily rehome the males with a friend if necessary. Two intact cats sharing the same space during heat will only end one way.
  • Give your cat attention. A cat in heat is seeking the attention of a fellow feline. However, if you’ve bonded with your cat, they see you as one of their species. This means that you’re the next best thing. Offer reassuring strokes and attention, and talk to your cat a lot.
  • Distract your cat. While your cat is in heat, they have something of a one-track mind. This means that you will need to think quite hard about how to distract them successfully. New toys may help, as the excitement of something different may provoke a reaction. Treat-dispensing games could also be a winner, as they require mental focus. Scratching posts are a must, as your cat will have a lot of pent-up frustration.
  • Catnip. If your pet enjoys catnip, this will provide some level of relief. When your cat ingests this plant, watch their reaction. Do they roll around on their backs, looking slightly dazed? This is identical behavior to a cat that has just mated. Some felines find that catnip releases an almost sexual release, so it’s worth a try. You may trick your cat’s brain into thinking they have mated, at least for a while.
  • Keep your cat calm. During their heat season, your cat will be particularly agitated. They’ll be restless, and seem to change their mind constantly. One moment they’ll want to be the center of attention, the next they’ll demand solitude. With this in mind, making one particular your cat’s domain while they’re in heat. Ensure they can be alone in this room. Fill it with calming scents, such as lavender. According to Care.com, you could even play some classical music to keep your pet relaxed.

Another way to offer almost immediate relief is through acupressure that simulates mating. This isn’t for everybody, but it will calm your cat down for a couple of hours.

Should I Treat My Cat in Heat with Acupressure?

Acupressure is a technique used to calm down stressed cats. Ordinarily, it involves applying gentle pressure to four key pressure points on a cat’s body:

  1. Stoke your cat on the nose, right between the eyes.
  2. Squeeze your cat’s leg, from the top to the paw.
  3. Apply light pressure just above the paw (your cat’s ankle, if you will.)
  4. Run your hand down your cat’s spine, rubbing and scratching just above the tail.

This technique, in itself, is enough to calm a cat down. It’s a very short-term solution, however, and your cat may reject it. Even though a cat in heat will be affectionate, they will also be restless. They may get up and wander off halfway through.

An alternative form of acupressure is to simulate mating using a Q-tip. This may not be for everybody, and should never be attempted out of heat. You may also want to consult a vet to ensure this is safe. If you decide to go ahead, however, follow these steps:

  1. Wait for your cat to assume the mating position. This will involve lowering their head and raising their hindquarters. You may find your cat holds this pose constantly while in heat.
  2. Insert the Q-tip very gently into your cat’s area.
  3. Roll and rotate the Q-tip, being careful to remain very gentle.
  4. After a short period, your cat will tense up, yowl and purr. This is because she is now experiencing the sensation of being mounted by a male.
  5. When you hear this sound, very slowly an gently remove the Q-tip. Make sure you throw it away.
  6. Your cat will now roll around on the floor in a moment of bliss. Do not attempt to engage your cat at this point. If a male cat approached, they would be attacked. Your hands will face the same fate.

This whole experience has tricked your cat’s brain into thinking they have mated. This will calm them down for anything from an hour to a few days. It’s not a permanent solution, but you will enjoy peace and quiet in the immediate aftermath.

cat in heat sounds like baby crying

Will Spaying My Cat Stop Their Yowling?

If you have your cat spayed, they will have their reproductive organs removed under general anesthetic. This means that they will no longer enter heat, which in turn means no more yowling. Your cat will also stop attracting male attention, ceasing noise from other local cats.

A cat can be spayed at any age, as long as they are healthy and weigh over two pounds. Most cats experience their first season within six months, so spaying as a kitten is advisable. This is especially important if you keep a litter of kittens together. Brothers and sisters can and will breed if in heat. This can cause health issues in their offspring.

There are also general health benefits to having your cat spayed before her first season. Chief among these is a drastic reduction in the risk of cancer. You may have heard that a cat should always have at least one season before spaying. This is a myth.

Can a Cat be Spayed While in Heat?

Spaying a cat in heat is an option, but not a desirable one. Many vets will prefer to wait, due to the health risks. If you can’t take anymore, ask around. You may find an animal surgeon willing to take on the task. It will take longer than usual, however, and will be a more delicate procedure. Naturally, this means that the bill will be higher.

The reason for this complexity is the presence of blood on in your cat’s reproductive organs. While in heat, blood will pool in your cat’s vulva. They do not shed any lining, meaning that that organ remains swollen. This means your vet will need to be extra careful while operating. They may also need more apparatus, and a larger team of nurses to assist. These individuals and equipment will need to be paid for.

There is no hard-and-fast rule about how long you should wait after a season to get your cat spayed. Some vets will be happy to operate in the immediate aftermath. Others prefer the cat’s cycle to be at rest for at least three weeks. Discuss the situation with your vet, getting a second opinion if necessary. The decision will ultimately rest with you. Find a solution that suits both you and your pet.

My Cat is Male, Why are They Yowling?

Male cats do not enter heat, so they will not be yowling for health and hormonal reasons. They will, however, hear the cries of a female in heat. Your male will then replicate this behavior as a way of acknowledging them.

An unneutered male can be every bit as noisy and destructive as a female in heat. There is a risk that they will be more so. These cats are extremely territorial, and can become very frustrated if they cannot mate.

Owners of male cats also have a responsibility to control the kitten population. If a male cat is allowed to wander, they will find females in heat. This could lead to more stray cats that become feral. Alternatively, it leaves the owner of a female responsible for vet bills and kitten care. This hardly seems fair.

If you have a male cat with no intention of breeding them, consider neutering. It’s a fast procedure, taking as little as two minutes, and only local anesthetic. If cost is a concern, check with the ASPCA for a cheap service in your area.

Stray and Feral Cats Keep Yowling Outside My Property

Unwelcome intrusions from stray or feral cats can be problematic. If you have this issue, consider the source. Is your own cat unspayed, and in heat? If so, this is to be expected. Every unneutered male cat in the area will answer her call for a mate.

If your cat is not unspayed – or female – these cats must be finding something else enticing. You will need to make your property unwelcoming to them, without being harmful. Try scattering citrus fruit peels around, as this scent will deter cats.

Also, look into whether you have a rodent infestation. Word spreads quickly among stray and feral colonies about reliable food sources. If cats have found that they can hunt and eat on your property, more will follow. While they’re there, they may notify others through yowling.

A cat that howls, yowls and caterwauls all day and night can be very frustrating. Be patient and empathetic, however. As exasperating as the noise is for you, it is considerably worse for your pet. They are going through a hormonal transition that they have no control over.

There is plenty to gain by spaying your female cat if you don’t plan to breed her. She will be happier and healthier in general – and much, much quieter. If this is not an option, grit your teeth and make heat as comfortable as possible.

Stay cool, and use the techniques outlined to calm her down. Additionally, embrace and love the quiet times that she is out of season. They may not seem to last long enough, but they will become something to treasure.