As a Savanna owner it is important for you to know all the little details about your furry friend. When it comes to owning female that isn’t spayed, you may wonder if she will go into heat and how to handle it.
Savannah cats usually go into heat for the first time when they are around 6 months old. If they are kept indoors, they can go into heat at any time of the year, but they usually only do so 2 or 3 times per year.
As with most cat owners, it is usually a good idea to get your female Savannah cat spayed if you are not a breeder. We will go into more detail about this below, as well as more on when Savannah cats go into heat, and signs to look out for that they are.
When Do Savannah Cats Go Into Heat ForThe First Time?
Around 6 Months
In some cases, there has been evidence of Savannah cats going into heat for the first time as early as 4 months old. However, it is more common for the first heat cycle to occur at around 6 months of age. However, most breeders would not begin breeding their Savannahs at such a young age.
Most females do not reach full sexual maturity until about a year old, and in some cases even older depending on the generation. Because Savannahs are a hybrid species crossed with the wild Serval, their reproductive characteristics can vary from the average domestic cat. Early generations such as F1-F3 are known to have fewer heat cycles and very small litters (1-2 kittens).
Every 3 Weeks
Once in heat for the first time your female will continue going into heat every three weeks, over the course of a few months if she does not mate. Depending on the generation, this can cause your queen to go into heat for up to nine months or until she mates. This can become quite exhausting for an owner, and even more so for the Savannah female.
It is important as an owner to decide early on if you will be breeding your Savannah female. Otherwise, continuously going into heat can start to cause more serious health problems in her reproductive system. Each time she goes into heat her body is releasing large amounts of hormones into her systems, which can lead to bacterial infections such as pyometra.
Consider Having Her Spayed
Consider speaking with your female’s breeder and your vet to discuss the best options for your Savannah. If she has already entered her first 2-3 heat cycles it is time to either seek a mate or make an appointment to have her spayed. As her uterine lining increases, so does her risk of developing cysts or tumors.
When Do Savannah Cats Go Into Heat Every Year?
No Regular Heat Cycle
As discussed earlier, unlike dogsfemale cats do not necessarily have a regular heat cycle. Typically, felines will go into heat when the conditions of their environment are at an optimal level. This will include how long the days last, the temperature, the presence of other cats, whether they are male or female, etc. These conditions can be natural (outdoor) or artificially created (indoor).
Generally speaking,most cats will go into heat during late winter through early spring. During this time the temperatures outside are getting warmer and the days are getting longer, making it more ideal for mating. The queen will want to raise her litter during the late spring and summer when the weather conditions are the most ideal. Colder conditions pose more of a risk of losing the litter.
However, with Savannahs things are a bit different as they are a captive bred species, and their breeders control their mating environments. So, unless you are keeping your Savannah outside most of the time it is more likely your indoor conditions will be what affects their heat cycles. If your indoor conditions are consistent all year round, your female could go into heat anytime of the year.
As we touched on earlier your Savannah is more than likely going to go into heat 2-3 times per year depending on their generation. If you are breeding your female, it is likely even after having a litter that she can go into heat just a few weeks after birth. In this case, it is okay to let her go through the heat cycle with little worry. She will redirect her priorities to her kittens.
Too Many Litters
It is also common for breeders to allow a heat cycle to occur without the possibility of mating the queen. Sometimes breeders will skip a breeding cycle in order to give their queen a break, as too many litters in a year can also cause problems. Most breeders will spay and retire queens oncethey are 2-3 years of age.
Signs Of Heat In Savannah Cats
Technically speaking, the female heat cycle is referred to as the “Estrous Cycle” and has four different stages. These stages include: Anestrous, Proestrus, Estrus, and Metestrus. Depending on the stage you may not notice any difference in your queen’s behavior at all. However, it will not go unnoticed once she has entered her full heat cycle.
While in the anestrous stage you will notice no real changes in your Savannah, as this is the dormant stage of her heat cycle. As is the case with human females, they go through cycles where their bodies are not preparing for pregnancy. Meaning their ovaries, uterus, and reproductive hormones are not active. This is the stage where no desire to mate will be present.
Proestrus is the stage where your Savannah’s reproductive cycle will begin to prepare for the possibility of pregnancy. This portion of the cycle only lasts for a fewdays before full estrus takes over. However, you will still see some behavior changes in your queen including increases in appetite, thirst, an enlarged vulva, restlessness, etc. Her body is preparing but not yet ready to mate.
As your queen enters full blown estrus, you will notice significant changes in her behavior. Most noticeably will be her constant howling, which may even seem like screams of pain at times. She will likely roll around on her back, and begin rubbing herself on almost anything including you, furniture, stuffed toys, etc. Her urge to be affectionate will take over and may even try to escape outdoors.
Additionally, she will assume the mating position with her hind quarters in the air, and her front down towards the floor. This overly affectionate behavior and howling will continue until she has mated. Otherwise, she will continue to cycle back into estrus over the next few months.
Eventually, she will enter the metestrus stage and will no longer be willing to accept a mate at that time. However, if she did not mate during estrus, her metestrus stage will not last long and she will reenter the beginning of her heat cycle once more. This is why it is important to make a decision early on in your Savannahs life if she will be bred or spayed.
Continuously going through her heat cycle along with the health problems it will present can be very uncomfortable for her. It can be exhausting and torturous to your female to constantly be going through heat cycles. Her urges to mate will become painful and overwhelming. Not to mention it will become unbearable for the owner as well.
What To Do When Savannah Cats Go Into Heat
Give Her Attention
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do for your Savannah while she is in heat, other than to ride it out with her. If she does not have a mate, you will be the one she is going to be most affectionate to. Providing her with plenty of attention is one of the only things that you can do for her.
Ultimately, as a Savannah cat owner you must make the decision of whether or not you will be breeding your queen. If you do decide to breed your Savannah it is important that you reach out to her breederas well as a vet. The breeder you received your Savannah from will be able to help and guide you through the process and tell you whether or not she is healthy enough.
If your Savannah has started her heat cycles very young (4-6 months), you may still want to wait until she is a little older to breed her (1 year). Trying to breed her at such a young age can be detrimental to her health, and the health of her kittens. Allowing, 1-2 heat cycles will not be detrimental as long as you plan on mating her soon after the second cycle.
However, if you are not planning on breeding your queen it is very important that you consider spaying her. Spaying your Savannah will be the only way to ease her pain from constant heat cycles. More importantly, it will also prevent many health problems that she could encounter.
The more a female enters her heat cycle and does not mate, the more her uterine lining will build up. Unlike human females, felines do not menstruate if they do not get pregnant. In humans and some other mammals, menstruation is the way of removing the built-up uterine lining meant for feeding the new fetus if they become pregnant. In felines this lining continues to build.
It Can Get Expensive
As each heat cycle leaves a new layer of lining, it also increases the cat’s potential of developing bacterial infections, tumors, cysts, etc. This is why most veterinarians and other experts will recommend spaying your females. It is in the best interest of their health as well as the owner’s financial stability. Unfortunately, these health problems also come with large vet bills.
Savannah cats can enter heat around the age of 6 months, and they will continue to go through various cycles until they mate or until they are spayed. Letting your Savannah cat go through too many heat cycles without mating can be detrimental to her health, and so if you don’t plan to breed your Savannah cat, you should consider getting her spayed.