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

How to Stop a Cat in Heat from Meowing and Yowling

Cats in heat display a range of behavioral changes. They tend to undergo mood swings, grow determined to leave the house, and are extremely vocal. A female cat yowling all day and night is likely in estrus. She is announcing her availability to local tomcats.

Be sympathetic to your cat during her heat cycle. She has a biological drive to mate, and her inability to do so defies her instincts. Distract your cat with additional play and activities. Do whatever you can to keep your cat calm, too. Scents and music can be beneficial. Above all, do not deviate from routine as cats in heat can be easily distressed.

The only ways to cease a cat’s heat cycle are spaying or simulating mating. If you choose not to do this, vocalization is something you’ll need to tolerate. Do what you can to make your cat more comfortable during these hormonal surges. This, in turn, will reduce the noise that your cat makes.

Why Is My Cat Meowing Non-Stop All of a Sudden?

Cats meow for a number of reasons. If your cat is constantly verbalizing, it is trying to tell you something. The cat may be hungry or stressed. An unspayed female cat will likely be in heat, though.

This constant vocalizing is an attempt to attract intact males. If you are unsure as to whether your cat is in heat, look for these sign:

  • Mood swings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constant marking
  • Excessive grooming of the genitals
  • Inability to settle
  • Desperation to escape the home

A cat in heat must be kept indoors. It does not take long to find a tom and mate, which often results in pregnancy. Unfortunately for owners, this means a prolonged period of meowing and yowling.

Why Do Cats Make Weird Noises at Night?

A cat in heat will be particularly vocal after dark. Your cat will make loud, ear-piercing wails. To the untrained ear, it sounds like your cat is in pain. This yowling sound is known as caterwauling.

Caterwauling is an unmistakable message to local tomcats. Your cat is announcing that she is available to anybody seeking a mate. Caterwauling takes place at night as the streets are largely quiet and empty then. There are minimal distractions from the communication.

Caterwauling is not a one-way communication. Male cats will respond, meowing loudly in return. This may make you unpopular with neighbors. Your street will quickly become the scene of a multi-cat chorus.

cat in heat sounds like baby crying

My Cat is in Heat and Won’t Shut Up

If your cat is in heat, she will be noisy. There is no way around this. Do not scold or punish your cat for being loud at this time. She is merely acting upon instinct. Verbalizing is as natural as breathing to a cat in heat.

Brace yourself for some sleepless nights. Play with your cat as much as possible. A cat in heat can display bursts of affection. This means she may be more playful. Use this to your advantage. Tire your cat out before bed to give yourself a fighting chance of a quiet night.

In addition, there are steps you can take to quieten your cat down. The aim is to keep your cat as calm and comfortable as possible. Don’t expect silence. These techniques will potentially reduce vocalization, though.

Stick to Routine

A reliable, dependable routine is pivotal for all cats. This goes double for a cat in heat, though. During estrus, a cat’s hormones are firing on all cylinders. This means that she will be easily distressed or upset.

While your cat is in heat, feed and play with her at expected times. Your cat may show no interest. That’s fine. Just ensure she knows that nothing has changed. Do not give a cat any reason to grow anxious. This will result in constant meowing as she seeks reassurance.

Be particularly vigilant about keeping your cat clean, too. That includes the litter box. Unsanitary conditions are a key stressor in felines. Stay on top of your essential duties, or your cat will likely howl the house down.


A cat in heat only has one thing on her mind. You will need to do what you can to distract your cat. Just be aware that food or treats may not be as effective. Cats in heat have reduced appetite and are less interested in eating.

Use play to distract your cat. This will offer multiple advantages. It will tire your cat out and give it a focus. This will prevent pacing, especially at night. If your cat sleeping, she also cannot try to attract a mate with calling.

Puzzles may redirect a cat’s mental focus. Do not be surprised if your cat shows no interest. A cat in heat can have a short attention span. The idea of a reward can be a powerful motivator, though. While your cat is thinking about this, she will be quiet and focused.

Cats in heat can also have bouts of aggression and frustration. Playing with toys gives your cat an outlet for this. Left ignored, this aggression may be turned on you. To protect your bond – and ankles – prevent your cat from uniting and swiping at you.

Catnip can also be effective. This will provide your cat with a welcome sense of bliss. That offers short-term relief from hormonal imbalance of estrus. This may also be helpful to curb a bout of aggression. Your cat will quietly and calmly spend time in her own mind.

Distract your cat with affection. Do not go too far as the cat will already be agitated, and excessive, unwanted handling can cause upset. If you strike the right balance, the only noise you should hear is contented purring.

Lean into any enhanced affection with petting, grooming and strokes though. Make the most of any uncharacteristic desire to cuddle. It’s likely to be temporary.

Calming Music and Scents

You should also focus on keeping your cat as calm as possible. The first step to achieving this is through music. The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery recommends cat-specific music. This acts as a lullaby for a tense, frustrated feline, reducing the desire to verbalize.

You can also appeal to your cat’s sense of smell. Feliway is available from any reputable pet store and has proven calming properties. Essential oils and scented candles can also aid in soothing a cat’s soul. Frankincense and lavender are most effective.

Take a safety-first approach with these products. A cat in heat will be restless and is likely to pace. Do not place flammable objects or potentially toxic oils within reach. You may find these items knocked over. Your cat will then cry and yowl to attact your attention.

How to Stop a Cat’s Heat Cycle

There is no such thing as a cat in heat remedy. No pills, supplements of herbal treatments will end the sequence. Only two things will end your cat’s heat cycle – mating or spaying. Spaying a Cat

When to spay a cat is matter of much debate. Companion Animal recommends spaying before a cat enters puberty. The Journal of the American Veterinary Association agrees, claiming that early spaying boasts health benefits.

Naturally, if your cat has entered heat, that ship has sailed. You can buy time by delaying your cat’s first season, though. The feline heat cycle is governed by circadian rhythms. Your cat’s body will detect the onset of spring due to prolonged spells of natural light.

This will encourage the cat to enter heat. Outdoor cats see more sunshine, and this typically enter estrus earlier than indoor pets.

Keeping your cat inside, ideally in a room with limited light, delays the onset of estrus. This is good practice for keeping your cat in while she’s in heat, too. It’s not a sustainable, long-term solution though.

You can spay a cat that is in heat. Many vets just prefer not to and will advise you to wait out the cycle. This is because a cat in heat has a swollen, enlarged uterus. This makes the surgery more difficult and increases the risk of complications or errors.

If you find a vet willing to spay a cat in heat, expect to pay a premium. The delicate nature of the procedure means it takes longer. A larger team of nurses and more equipment will also be needed. Upon receiving a quote, you may prefer to tolerate noise for a little longer.

Simulating Mating

A female cat in heat has a pressure point in her genitals. Once stimulated, this convinces the cat that she has mated. As a result, her heat cycle will cease. Estrus will recommence after giving birth or when the next scheduled cycle begins.

You could attempt to trick your cat into thinking she has mated. This will buy you a little time – and, more importantly, some peace. Only adopt this technique if you are confident, though. Do not take any risks with your cat’s health. If you wish to simulate mating in your cat, follow these instructions:

  • Pick up a Q-Tip and put on a pair of gloves
  • Sterilize the Q-Tip and add a little lubricant (Vaseline is fine)
  • Place your cat on the ground
  • Soothe your cat, getting her completely relaxed
  • Stay with your cat until she starts to crouch and present to instigate mating
  • Gently ease the lubricated Q-Tip inside the vagina of the cat
  • If necessary, scruff the cat around the neck. This simulates the actions of a tomcat, who would bite the neck to prevent escape
  • Slowly rotate the Q-Tip in a clockwise direction or pull it in and out

Complete these actions for a minute or two. Eventually, your cat will let out a howl. She will then pull away from the Q-Tip and start to roll around on the floor. As far as she is concerned, mating has occurred.

Another alternative is to arrange a ‘date’ with a male that has had a vasectomy. Such a cat will remain sexually active and thus embark on mating. The end result will be the same as the Q-Tip method. This, in theory, will cease your cat’s verbalizing in the short-term. Be mindful of signs of a phantom pregnancy as a result, though.

Phantom Pregnancy in Cats

Phantom pregnancy (aka pseudopregnancy) is more common in other animals. It can impact cats, though. Pseudopregnancy arises when a cat ovulates but does not fall pregnant. The cat’s hormones make her believe she is pregnant.

When this occurs, the cat will undergo the same behavioral changes as a genuine pregnancy. Your cat will be more affectionate and will display nesting instincts. She may also reject the company of male cats, regardless of innocent intentions.

If you believe that your cat has a phantom pregnancy, consult a professional. One-off pseudopregnancies are not painful or dangerous. You should be certain that your cat is not actually pregnant, though.

No medication or treatment will be needed. Your cat’s behavior will return to normal after about three weeks. Regular phantom pregnancies can take an emotional toll on a cat, though. To this end, constantly simulating mating is inadvisable. If you need to conduct this exercise during every heat cycle, investigate spaying instead.

how to help my cat in heat feel better

Will My Cat Stop Meowing After Mating?

In theory, a cat will stop verbalizing after mating. At the very least, she will stop caterwauling. Your cat is no longer attempting to attract a mate. In fact, she will likely behave aggressively toward intact males.

While the cessation of noise will be welcome, prepare yourself. If your cat mated, she may be pregnant. Not every interaction with a tomcat will lead to pregnancy. It remains likely, though. Signs that a cat is pregnant include:

  • Increased hunger
  • Greater affection toward owners and other humans
  • Swollen belly
  • Bright, visible nipples (known as, “pinking up”)
  • Nesting behaviors – creating a soft bed for impending kittens

A pregnant cat will birth a litter in around sixty days. The average litter is around four but can number as many as twelve. That must be factored into your decision-making. Kittens are fun, but they’re a lot of work.

Kittens cannot be separated from their mother for eight weeks. They need to be fed, entertained and protected from danger throughout this period. Only take on this responsibility if you have the time and patience.

Is My Male Cat in Heat?

Male cats do not enter heat cycles. A male cat is meowing and yowling constantly cannot be attributed to estrus. It may be related to a desire to mate, though. Intact male cats never lose the urge to procreate. If your cat scents a female in heat, it will go crazy.

As you can probably imagine, this can be frustrating for an intact tomcat. Unless you plan to breed a male, neutering is recommended. It’s not an act of cruelty. Quite the opposite. A cat cannot miss what it does not desire.

There are also advantages to neutering male cats. Most males become considerably calmer and less territorial after this procedure. This means your cat is less likely to roam for miles, potentially getting lost or hurt.

It also makes a cat more sociable. Any two intact males will invariably come into conflict. The felines will view each other as competition for the affections of a female in heat. As explained by Animals, neutered males are likelier to peacefully co-exist.

The key reason for neutering remains the lack of mating, though. Male cats are not fussy when their blood is up. Your cat may approach feral or stray felines. These other animals could be carrying parasites or disease, which can impact upon your pet.

Even if your cat mates with a neighborhood female, it can be problematic. You do not know the circumstances of the other cat. Owners may have taken every attempt to keep her home, but she escaped for a moment. Suddenly, they have an unplanned litter of kittens to manage.

If your cat is in heat, she will be vocal. This is something that you will need to live with. Spaying is the only permanent fix. If that is not option, make your cat as comfortable as you can and distract her. The season will end eventually and provide you with some respite.