Female cats who have not been spayed are fertile and sexually active all their lives. Therefore they do not go through the menopause. That is the short answer. Dr Bruce Fogle makes an interesting point about this. He says that domestic cats compared to their wild card ancestor are living over twice as long as cats in the wild and that evolution did not plan for this. This is why, he says, female cats do not have a menopause. And because of the “unnatural” security of our homes unneutered elderly female cats continue to cycle but their heat periods are more erratic and there is a higher incidence of womb infection.
The spaying of female cats is called an ovariohysterectomy. It is a surgical procedure in which the uterus and ovaries are removed which stops subsequent oestrous symptoms in the female (going into heat). If oestrous symptoms continue it is because some ovarian tissue has not been removed during surgery. The remaining tissue secretes hormones allowing estrous behaviour to continue. It is called ‘Ovarian Remnant Syndrome In Cats’.
The menopause in humans is when a woman stops having periods and is therefore no longer able to become pregnant naturally. In the UK the average age for the menopause is 51 and most women experience menopausal symptoms, which can be quite severe and have an impact on day to day life.