Owning a pet (or, rather, being owned by a pet) is a rewarding, fulfilling, satisfying experience – at most times, that is. Cleaning up after your pet’s accidents, whether it be vomit, bowel problems, or urinary accidents, can quickly become tiresome if you don’t have the right tools and know-how. One problem that many pet owners never think about before adopting an intact female dog or cat is period stains. What if your beloved female cat or female dog’s period stains get on your mattress? Removing period stains from materials such as mattresses can be difficult and may seem impossible, but it can be done, if you know what to do.
How Often Do Female Cats Go into Heat?
Intact female cats do not have regular heat cycles, unlike dogs. Their estrous cycles are more seasonally based. Environmental factors and hours of daylight play a large role in when your female cat will go into heat, and a female cat may go through several estrous cycles during a breeding season (also known as being “polyestrous”). In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, cats will usually cycle from January until late fall. An indoor cat can cycle all year long, however. Cats may come into heat every two to three weeks.
A cat’s first estrous cycle occurs at puberty, at about six months of age, and lasts six days, on average, but can last up to 14 days. You can’t always tell when your female cat has gone into heat, because vaginal bleeding doesn’t occur with all female cats as it does with female dogs. A cat in heat will become very affectionate and seek attention constantly. They may become more vocal, especially at night, and may urinate more or spray objects. It is unusual for them to have a “period,” but you may notice some spotting on the floor or in your cat’s bedding.
Why doesn’t a cat bleed during heat? The answer is that rather than shedding the old lining of the uterus, like humans do when they have a period, cats tend to reabsorb it. This is why bleeding in cats, or having a period during a heat cycle, is a rare side effect.
How Often Do Female Dogs Go into Heat?
Intact female dogs, on the other hand, can go into heat two times per year (typically every six months, but smaller dogs may have three heat cycles each year, and larger ones may have just one heat cycle per year). The first heat in an intact female dog will happen when the dog reaches puberty, which usually occurs at about six months of age. Like with cats, signs that your dog is in heat include increased affection towards any males, and towards humans of both genders. A dog’s heat cycle can last up to 30 days, and pregnancy can occur at any time during this estrous cycle.
The first signs that your dog has gone into heat are usually bleeding from the vaginal area. To prevent messes from occurring indoors, many dog owners will put special dog panties on their female dogs in heat. These panties are washable, and can also be lined with panty liners. Not only can these dog panties prevent accidents in the home, they can also help to deter male dogs in the neighborhood from smelling that your dog is in heat.
How Can I Remove Period Stains from My Mattress?
What if, even after taking the necessary precautions, you still find period stains on your mattress (either human or animal?) Luckily, this situation does not require you to throw out your mattress and buy a new one. There are things that you can do to salvage your mattress.
Treat the Period Stain Right Away
As soon as you notice a period stain on your mattress, the key is to treat it right away. Treating the stain immediately upon noticing it will increase the likelihood that you will be able to eliminate it totally. Here are some tried and true methods for removing period stains from your mattress.
- Soak a cloth in cold water and dab at the stain. Cold water will dissolve blood, while hot water can lock it into the fabric, so make sure that the water you use is cold! If cold water alone will not get the stain out, try any of the following methods.
- Mix a tablespoon of meat tenderizer with two teaspoons of cold water into a paste. Rub that paste into the period stain on your mattress. Let this sit for an hour to do its work, then remove the paste with a cloth soaked in cold water.
- Enzyme cleaners are also available for purchase to break down period stains. Make sure you buy a cleaner that has protease enzymes, as these break down proteins in blood. Pour a bit of enzyme cleaner onto a cloth and pat the stained area, then let it dry. This may be repeated as many times as necessary.
- Another method to remove a period stain from a mattress is to put some hydrogen peroxide on the stain and let it bubble up. Then dab at the stain with a cloth that has been soaked in cold water. This can be repeated a few times if it seems to be working.
- Baking soda and cold water is another tried and true method for removing period blood from a mattress. Mix them together into a paste and apply that to the stain, allowing it to sit for 30 minutes. Then, remove the paste with a cloth soaked in cold water.
- Baking soda may also be mixed with hydrogen peroxide and dabbed onto the period stain. Let it sit for a while, then remove it with a cold, damp cloth or a spatula.
- Baking soda can also be mixed with white vinegar to remove period stains.
- Cornstarch may be mixed with hydrogen peroxide and applied in a paste to the period stain. Let this mixture sit for a half hour, then use a toothbrush to loosen the stain and a cold, wet cloth to remove the paste.
- Lemon juice is another household remedy to remove period stains from a mattress. First, scrape the dried period stain and rinse it with cold water. Then apply a bit of lemon juice to the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wipe the stain again with a cloth soaked in cold water.
- Ammonia is a harsh chemical, but works great as a period stain remover. Mix a tablespoon of ammonia with a cup of cold water, dip a cloth into the mixture, and dab at the stain until it is gone.
- Cola can also be used to remove period stains. Simply blot the stain with a cloth that has been soaked in cola.
- White vinegar can be mixed with water and dabbed onto the stain. After a few minutes, remove it with a cloth soaked in cold water.
- Some people have used shampoo to remove period stains Just dab it onto the stain and after a few minutes, remove it with a cloth soaked in cold water.
- Hairspray can also be applied to a period stain, and after a few seconds, rinsed with a cloth soaked in cold water.
- Chlorine bleach also removes period stains, breaking them down. Just dab at the stain with a cloth soaked in bleach.
- Hand sanitizer, believe it or not, also works to remove period stains. Blot a small amount to the stain and let it sit for ten minutes. Then scrub the area with a toothbrush and blot it with a cold, damp cloth.
- Talcum powder can be combined with water to form a thick paste, then applied to the period stain. Let it dry, then brush it away with a dry cloth.
No matter which method you use to remove period stains from your mattress, make sure to allow the mattress to completely air dry before using it.
Protect Your Mattress from Period Stains
If you don’t want to have to deal with period stains on your mattress, there are some steps you can take.
- Encase your mattress in a waterproof mattress protector. These have saved thousands of mattresses over the years from blood stains, both human and animal.
- Make sure to wear extra protection to bed at night (if you’re worried about human period stains, that is). Period underwear combined with a thicker maxi pad with wings can help to avoid this messy situation.
- If your dog tends to sleep on a mattress, or even if she doesn’t, you should consider investing in dog period diapers/panties. Some on the market are disposable, while others are washable and reusable. These panties are invaluable to owners of intact female dogs, as we mentioned above, in deterring all the male dogs in the neighborhood from sniffing around your girl.