Going to the male to mate your female often feels like an obvious and easy thing to do. Right up to the day when it’s suddenly time to go.

Many newcomers are often in a hurry, they do not have the experience to read their female, they are worried about missing the "window", even old experienced breeders, who have been doing this for 20 years or more can feel unsafe in this situation if we have a new female we do not know.

Some females got very long heat, ie they will be in heat for many days in a row, these you really have to wait out, I had one that used to be in heat for 21 days with a short dip in the middle, she was in heat only 1-2 times a year but she could not go on day 3 which so often used as a benchmark, she had to wait and go until she was somewhere around 7-9 days into the heat.

Others are in heat for a super short time, their heat lasts only for 2-3 days, if you wait until day 3 the female is on her way out of the heat, here goes the opposite, be quick in the turns.

So when should you go? Well, if you have a new female, it is always a good thing to never go on the first heat, in most cases they will start before all tests are done which means we get the chance to make notes about maybe both 1 and 2 heats before the tests are ready and it's time to mate her. But in some cases, the female may mature later and gets into heat the first time well after the 1st birthday, and since we do not know how often she gets into heat or how quick we may need to be to get her to the male.

Keep an eye on her and when she is in “high heat”, wait and go the second day, then you have time to observe her for a whole day and see she’s really in heat. And then just hope for the best.

Then the question, how can we see that the female is in high heat (not sure if this is the correct translation), well, here we might run into problems. Many are very clear and easy to read, they roll, they scream, roar, eel around the flat on their belly with their back up and tail sideways, they back up to legs, feet, sofas everything that comes in their way.

These lovely ladies are easy, though not so pleasant to deal with as they are in heat. Some give us notice before they get into heat by start with marking territory, in their point of view fantastic places, for us not so fantastic, these ladies announce their upcoming heat very clearly and we can prepare. But then we have these quiet little ladies who do not show any clear signs of being in heat at all. I had such a lady myself, she was so unclear that I had to let one of my own studs meet her when I suspected she was in heat just to be safe if he tried to climb her (which he NEVER did when she was not in heat), Then I knew now was the time. Her only sign of heat was that she walked by the front door once in a while with that typical Maine coon sound not loud at all just a small sound from time to time.

In these ladies cases, one must be aware of changes, though never so small, is she extraordinarily cuddly? Does she talk a little more than usual?

I usually check these by grabbing them by the neck and then scratching them a little on the side at the hind legs if they go down flat on their stomach and put the tail aside and “trampling” with the hind legs, it is a sign that she is in heat.

Many new breeders or pet owners make the mistake thinking that if you scratch her on the back and she pushes her back against your hand then she is in heat. In fact, this has nothing to do with heat, the cat has scent glands on their back if you stroke a cat even if it’s neutered on that spot they will react the same. So the cat should not be up in the air but down to the floor.

At the male:
And then all this with the male, there is a lot to keep in mind regarding the male and the date with the male also.
Not all males/females actually like each other, not even at a heat. Some males are really rough and almost rape all that gets in their way, while others are more of a gentleman and waiting for the female to invite them. Some of them are tricky and will get the female where they want by fooling them :) 
Some males and females who are growing up together do not always want to mate with each other when they become adults. But most often they are pretty promiscuous which can make a mess for us when they manage to open doors and mate someone we absolutely not planned for.

Other times they can be the perfect match but they just do not want to mate each other to our great despair, in those cases, it can help to separate them for a longer period of time.
Males that are extremely friendly and timid can be frightened if their first female to mate is a real bitch, and it can be so bad that the male never dares to mate again. So a good idea is to mate a beginner with an older experienced no matter if it’s a male or a female.

If you got a female that is a bit tougher it's often a good idea to mate her to a male that is a bit tough breeding wise and not choose the most cautious boy.

By: Malin Sundqvist