Cats Mating Habits: Important Things Cat Owners Should Know
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Let’s look at cats mating habits. If you own or plan on getting a cat, you should know how they mate, how to tell when your cat is in season and the benefits of spaying/neutering.
Cats are notoriously a little mysterious. They sneak around, slip into places that should be too small for them, and sometimes disappear into an undisclosed hiding spot you have never been able to find. Their mating habits may be just as foreign to us as their other quirks.
This article will look at cats mating habits, how to tell whether a female cat is in season, and discuss the benefits of getting your pet spayed or neutered.
Cats Mating Habits
Cats mate the same way that other mammals do. The male will mount the female (the queen) and penetrate her. The process is typically quick, only lasting one or two minutes. Unlike dogs, cats will not get stuck together after mating.
Why Do Cats Caterwaul?
Caterwauling is the shrill yelling or howling you may hear from cats from time to time. There are many reasons cats will make this noise, one of which is heat.
Caterwauling in cats is a noise meant to grab attention. When directed at people, it can be your cat trying to communicate several things, such as physical or emotional distress. Aging cats may also start yowling due to confusion and anxiety.
Reproductively intact cats may also caterwaul when ready to mate. Females and males will make awful noises to alert the opposite sex they are available.
Do Cats Have Mating Rituals?
Cats are not too picky about their mates.
When in heat, female cats display certain behaviors, one of which is posing with her back arched downwards and her rear end raised (a position called lordosis behavior). She will also loudly proclaim she is ready to mate with caterwauling.
Some females will urine mark while in heat as an additional signal to males that she is ready to mate. This marking will be noticed either by her more frequent urination or her having urinated on a vertical surface. Males will urine mark when they can smell a female in heat.
How Often Do Cats Come Into Season?
Female cats are seasonally polyestrous. They have multiple heat cycles during the breeding season, which can last almost all year in indoor cats or those that live in tropical areas with more daylight hours. In the Northern Hemisphere, cats can be in season from around January to late fall.
During the season, intact females will cycle through estrus—the period of a female’s cycle where she is sexually receptive and able to conceive.
On average, cats will be in heat for around seven days, then go out of their heat for around seven days if not bred. The length of heat can range from only a couple of days to 21 days, with the time out of heat ranging from two to 19 days.
How Often Can Cats Mate?
Female cats can, and do, mate several times during their estrus cycle.
Because cats do not ovulate like other mammals (such as dogs and humans), it is even recommended to mate a pair multiple times. They should mate around three to four times in 24 hours to ensure ovulation and conception.
A queen will continue to become sexually receptive until she has been successfully bred, meaning a cat can mate several times per cycle.
The gestation period for cats is around 64 to 71 days; most will give birth (called queening) between days 63 and 65. A cat can resume having heat cycles and, in turn, get pregnant, even before her kittens have been weaned off of her.
Should You Get Your Cat Spayed or Neutered?
If you do not want to take care of kittens, it is in both your and your cat’s best interest to get them fixed. Female cats do not enter menopause, and they can become pregnant quickly and repeatedly, starting their first estrus at only four months old.
If you are not responsible for keeping her away from intact males, you risk her getting pregnant very young and very often.It is also not medically necessary for a cat to have a litter of kittens, despite myths saying otherwise.
If you have a male cat, even though you won’t need to worry about pregnancy, you may still want to neuter him to prevent or stop some of the behaviors intact males will have, including marking and getting into fights with other males. Neutering your tomcat can also keep him from wandering too far from home.
Neutering your cats can also protect them against FIV (the feline version of HIV).
Breeding Your Cat
Before you begin trying to breed your cat, make sure you are adequately prepared to care for her during the entire process. This preparation includes vet visits and any costs arising from potential complications, and the kittens that you are bringing into the world.
Be aware that there are already so many animals in shelters that need loving homes. If you are not willing and able to care for or find good homes for each kitten your cat has, it would be irresponsible to breed her.
Related Article: How Many Kittens Do Cats Have?
If the responsibility is something you are willing to take on, then make sure your cat is at an age where she can handle the demands of pregnancy.
Breeding is going to require you to encourage several matings in a brief 24-hour period to ensure ovulation. Once ovulation has occurred, your cat will stop estrus in one or two days and no longer be receptive to mates.
The breeding date (or dates) should be recorded so you can more accurately predict when she will begin queening. Follow up with a vet visit three to four weeks after the breeding date to confirm a pregnancy.
Cats Mating Rituals: Final Thoughts
Your cat may be ready to go at any time of the year, depending on your location and how much outdoor time they get. Trying to track, or even be aware of, cats’ mating habits and cycles is difficult if you aren’t paying close attention.
If you are trying to prevent a feline pregnancy or just had a furry pregnancy scare, it may be time to look into fixing your cat so they can focus less on their near-constant heat cycles and more on judging you from the windowsill.