Feline Romance Gone Wild? How to Curb Cat Mating
Updated: September 15, 2023
The day has arrived, one you never imagined would come – the day you’d need to have “the talk” with your feline companions. After all, the birds and the bees were meant to be captivating prey, not the focal point of serious conversations!
Suddenly, a cacophony of yowls fills the air, prompting you to rush in, expecting to break up a vicious catfight. To your surprise, you find your cats entangled in a mating dance, their passionate cries echoing through the room.
The prospect of kittens isn’t on your agenda at the moment, and you’re well aware of the potential risks associated with feline pregnancy. It’s imperative to put an end to this behavior.
But what measures can you take to deter two ardent cats from their instinctual drive to breed?
Before the relentless yowling threatens to push you to the brink of frustration, explore these effective strategies to temper your cats’ amorous inclinations and dampen their desire to mate.
Postpone the Problem: Delay Estrus
If you’re hesitant to spay your female cat but want to avoid kittens and the challenges of feline estrus for a period, there are alternative approaches to consider. These methods can grant you a few months of respite during which your cat won’t be able to conceive, allowing her to live harmoniously with her male companion.
Postponing Heat with Hormonal Injections
Your veterinarian has the option to administer a hormonal injection called Delvosteron to your female cat. This injection contains a specialized hormone derived from progesterone, effectively suppressing the estrus cycle — think of it as feline birth control!
The injection typically holds off heat for an average of five months. While it’s active, your cat won’t be capable of getting pregnant and won’t display signs of being in heat.
However, it’s crucial to keep a close watch on her. The medication may wear off prematurely, potentially catching you off guard and placing her at risk of pregnancy.
Delaying Heat through Mating with Vasectomized Males
Neutering a male cat involves the removal of his testicles, but there’s an alternative method of sterilization. Male cats can undergo vasectomies, preserving their sex drive and mating abilities while rendering them incapable of releasing sperm.
Since female cats ovulate in response to mating, allowing your female to mate with a vasectomized male will prompt her to release an egg without fertilization. Her body will react as if she’s pregnant, maintaining this state for weeks or even months.
Throughout this period, she won’t experience heat and therefore won’t be able to conceive. She’ll rebuff any advances from your male cat, enabling them to coexist without engaging in mating behavior.
Similar to the Delvosteron injection, it’s important to remain vigilant for any signs of returning heat. At that juncture, you’ll need to decide whether to delay estrus once more, proceed with spaying, or permit her to mate.
Spaying and Neutering: Prevention is Key
It cannot be stressed enough that the most effective method to prevent your cats from mating is through desexing.
Having your female cat spayed and your male cat neutered will halt the release of sex hormones that drive females into heat and make males persistently eager. They will become physically incapable of reproduction — and even if they could, the desire to mate will diminish.
Desexing not only averts the arrival of unwanted or unforeseen kittens but also alleviates the burden on overcrowded animal shelters and on you. It balances your cats’ dispositions and diminishes the likelihood of them developing health complications and diseases like cancer.
Spaying and neutering stand as the sole surefire ways to cease your cats’ mating behaviors. However, if desexing is not a current option, the following tips may provide some relief.
If Desexing Isn’t an Immediate Option, Isolation is Key
Perhaps desexing is temporarily out of reach, or your veterinary appointment is on the horizon. But your female cat is in heat, and your male cat is eagerly pursuing her — what steps can you take?
With an intact male and female, keeping them physically apart is crucial if you wish to prevent mating. However, this can be easier said than done, as cats in the throes of desire will go to great lengths to seek each other out.
Isolating Female Cats
Since female cats can only conceive while in heat, they don’t require constant separation. Nonetheless, it is vital to be vigilant in recognizing the signs of heat and isolating her promptly.
The onset of heat typically occurs around six months of age and lasts for approximately six days. The average feline estrus cycle, akin to a human menstrual cycle, spans roughly 24 days, meaning about a quarter of it is spent in heat.
When your cat enters this phase, you’ll observe distinct changes. She’ll display heightened affection and an increased desire for physical contact. Additionally, she will emit persistent yowls, signaling her intent to mate and calling out to potential partners.
You may also notice her rubbing her rear end against various surfaces, such as table legs or sofa corners. She might roll on the floor in apparent discomfort or lower herself with her tail to the side, exposing her genital area.
Some female cats may even mark walls with pheromone-laden urine during this period.
Regardless of whether she engages in spraying, your cat releases copious amounts of pheromones while in heat. These pungent hormones inundate the senses of male cats and create a scent trail for them to follow back to her.
The moment you recognize these signs, relocate your female cat to a designated space, ensuring she can’t escape — and that your male cat can’t gain access. Provide her with sustenance, water, toys, and a litter box, and continue to spend quality time with her each day, while keeping her isolated from other cats.
Be prepared for the possibility that isolating her during this time might lead to behavioral issues. Inappropriate urination, incessant vocalizations, and other neurotic behaviors may manifest as she struggles to fulfill her natural instincts.
Isolating Male Cats
Unlike females, male cats do not experience heat; they can mate at any time once they reach sexual maturity. However, when they catch the scent of a female in heat, they may become agitated themselves.
Depending on your cats’ individual personalities, you may choose to confine your male cat when the female is in heat. In that case, closely monitor the female for signs of heat and promptly relocate the male to his designated area upon detection.
However, isolating the male comes with its own set of challenges: he may not take kindly to being sequestered alone while a yowling, pheromone-scented female is just beyond the door.
This frustration may lead him to engage in spraying, exhibit aggressive behavior, or vocalize incessantly. If you opt for isolation, it’s advisable to line the floor and walls with protective barriers to prevent any potential damage to your home.
Additionally, you can consider using calming feline pheromones to fill the room. These pheromones aren’t sexual in nature; they closely resemble the ones emitted by mother cats to soothe their offspring, potentially aiding in calming your male cat.
Bonus: These Methods Stop Cat Mating Calls
Perhaps it’s not the act of mating itself, but rather the grating sound of your cat’s mating calls that truly irk you. The ceaseless yowls reverberating through your home, day and night, can be disruptive, distressing, and simply unbearable.
Regrettably, this vocalization is an inevitable component of being in heat. Your cat can’t help but emit her mating call, and regardless of scolding, isolation, or other tactics, it’s bound to persist.
So, if you opt not to spay her, you may have to find ways to cope with it… unless you choose to delay her estrus through hormonal injection or by allowing her to mate with a vasectomized male.
Since these methods effectively mimic pregnancy in your cat’s body, they also alleviate the various symptoms of heat, including the mating call.
Otherwise, you’ll need to find a way to tolerate the calls, no matter how grating they may be. When your cat is in heat, her sole focus is on finding a mate — and vocalizing through yowls, howls, and caterwauls is her instinctual way of achieving just that.
Prevent Cat Mating Prior to Desexing
Desexing stands as the most effective means of preventing cats from mating. Yet, armed with basic biological knowledge and a dedication to cat quarantine, alternative options are available. If you’ve fallen for two kittens of opposite sexes, consider early neutering and remain vigilant for signs of sexual behavior.
Controlled Exposure to Daylight
Fascinatingly, the feline reproductive cycle and mating behavior are influenced by daylight. Kittens’ entry into heat is affected by the length of daytime. A young female cat requires approximately 12 hours of daylight to initiate her reproductive cycle. In the wild, this means cats tend not to conceive in winter. However, indoor cats are exposed to artificial lighting, nullifying this effect, making pregnancy possible at any time of the year.
For kittens born in the summer, reducing their exposure to artificial light during autumn and winter may mimic natural conditions with shorter days, thereby delaying the female’s estrus cycle. This adjustment could potentially shift her heat from autumn to the following spring. It’s important to note that well-fed and comfortably sheltered kittens may have a reduced sensitivity to the influence of light, so this method isn’t foolproof.
Opt for Same Gender Kittens
Selecting kittens of the same gender, whether two males or two females from the same litter, eliminates the possibility of procreation between them.
Quarantine Entire Male Cats
Quarantine, aside from neutering, is a highly effective method for preventing mating. However, it’s worth noting that confining an intact male cat to your home may lead to marking behaviors. Desexing remains the recommended course of action. According to DVM360, male kittens reach puberty at around 6 to 7 months, start producing viable sperm from 8 to 12 months, and are capable of breeding year-round. Hence, once a tomcat surpasses 6 months, assume he can inseminate a female cat, even his sister, and take necessary precautions.
Isolate Female Cats in Heat
Female cats can only conceive when they’re in heat. By recognizing the signs of estrus, you can isolate her from male cats and prevent pregnancy. If you have both a male and female cat in the same household, confine the female in heat to a separate room. This limits the spread of her irresistible hormones and adds an extra layer of protection from male cats.
Basic facts about a female cat’s reproductive capability include:
- Female kittens may experience their first heat at around 4 months, with the average age of first estrus being 8 months.
- Female cats go into heat for five to six days every two to three weeks.
Watch for signs of estrus, such as increased vocalization, excessive affection, specific postures, and behavioral changes. When these signs manifest (for approximately six days every three weeks), separate the male and female. Provide the female with her own space, including food, water, bed, and litter tray, and prevent the male from accessing her area.
Breed with Vasectomized Tomcats
Female cats are “induced ovulators,” meaning mating prompts them to release eggs, heightening the chances of pregnancy. However, intriguingly, a female that ovulates without becoming pregnant may take longer to cycle back into heat.
Cat in Heat Meowing (Video)
What should I do if my cats are constantly mating?
If you find your cats engaging in frequent mating behavior, it’s important to intervene. Begin by ensuring they are spayed or neutered. This will significantly reduce their mating instincts. If they are already fixed, consult with a veterinarian for further advice.
How can I tell if my female cat is in heat?
Signs of a female cat in heat include increased vocalization, restlessness, and an increased desire for attention. She may also adopt a mating posture, known as “lordosis,” where she raises her hindquarters.
Is it safe to let my cat have kittens?
While kittens are adorable, it’s essential to consider the health and well-being of the mother cat. Pregnancy and birth can be risky for felines, especially if they are young or have pre-existing health conditions. Consulting a vet can provide personalized guidance.
Can I separate my cats to prevent mating?
Yes, separating your cats can be an effective short-term solution. Provide each cat with their own space and engage them in individual play and enrichment activities to redirect their attention.
How does spaying/neutering help control mating behavior?
Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) are surgical procedures that remove the reproductive organs. This significantly reduces hormonal influences that drive mating behaviors, making it one of the most effective ways to curb cat mating.
What if my cat continues to exhibit mating behavior after being spayed/neutered?
In rare cases, some residual behavior may persist. Consulting a vet or a professional animal behaviorist can help address any lingering mating tendencies and explore additional strategies.
Are there natural remedies to calm mating instincts?
While no natural remedy is as effective as spaying/neutering, certain herbal supplements may help reduce anxiety and restlessness in cats. Always consult with a vet before introducing any supplements.
Managing and curbing cat mating behavior is a crucial aspect of responsible pet ownership. Understanding the signs of heat in female cats and recognizing the significance of spaying and neutering are fundamental steps in this process. Creating a safe and stimulating environment for your feline companions is equally important.
Should you encounter persistent mating behavior despite these efforts, seeking advice from a veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist is recommended. They can provide tailored solutions and further guidance to ensure the health and well-being of your beloved pets.
Ultimately, with patience, consistency, and the right strategies, you can successfully navigate and address feline mating behaviors, fostering a harmonious and contented living environment for both you and your cherished furry friends.