Yes, even though male cats do not experience a ‘heat cycle,’ the question of how to calm “a male cat in heat” is one we’re asked often in our veterinarian practice. The truth is that this is actually a misuse of the term ‘in heat’, since only female cats go into heat. Male cats are ready to mate at all times. But fair enough, the language is okay for everyday conversation. A better question would be “Why is my male cat going crazy?”. Yes, that one we hear way more often from pet owners.
In this article you’ll learn the behaviors of a male cat during mating season and 7 steps to calm a male cat during mating season.
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- If you want to learn as much as you can, feel free to read the entire article which starts after the Table of Contents
- If you have specific questions or topics you are interested in, you can click on the topic heading of your choosing in the Table of Contents below.
- If you are a visual learner, you can get the highlights by watching the video below.
Table of contents
- How to calm a male cat during mating season
- 7 Steps to calm a male cat in heat
- Step 1. Neutering your male cat
- Step 2. Modify your cat’s daily regimen
- Step 3. Exercise your cat during the day
- Step 4. Enrich your cats environment
- Step 5. Implement scheduled feeding times
- Step 6. Get a treat ball for your cat
- Step 7. Visit your veterinarian
How to calm a male cat during mating season
Despite your male cat acting crazy like he’s in a reproductive cycle, the short answer is that male cats don’t go through an estrus cycle like their female cat counterparts. That’s the good news. However, your boy cat’s behavior can make him seem like an insatiable maniac. When “Mr. Fluffy” loses his cool, it’s because a nearby female cat is in her reproductive cycle.
When we consult with our patients that visit us in our veterinary clinic, the first thing we want to do is eliminate other medical conditions that could be affecting your male cats behavior. Please make sure you aren’t mistaking unusual behavior for ‘heat’ symptoms.
Here are the common unwanted behaviors that your male cat may exhibit when a female is going through her estrus cycle:
- Excessive vocalization.
- Begging to go out.
- Expressing more affection than usual toward humans and other pets.
- Mounting behavior. Please note that this isn’t always associated with sexual arousal in an un-neutered male cat..
Other explanations for these may include illness, feelings of stress, or insecurity. If your male cat is exhibiting one of more of these behavioral issues, then you should definitely take him to your veterinarian to rule out illness, stress, or other medical conditions.
7 Steps to Calm a Male Cat in Heat
So let’s say your male cat who acts like he’s ‘in heat’ is sexually excited because it’s spring. Spring is mating season and your neighborhood’s full of female cats that have reached sexual maturity. Or you have one or more female cats in your home. What is a cat lover to do?
Step 1. Neutering your male cat.
This is the best way to ensure your male four legged fur baby won’t be driven crazy by the calls made by females in heat. If limiting the number of “cat calls” from the feline girls is out of your control (e.g., your neighbor refuses to spay their female cat or female cats just happen to be everywhere), your little boy is likely to be restless during this period of time. This is because a female cat can have an estrus cycle every 2 to 3 weeks after they are 6 months of age. Neutering your cat has many health and behavior benefits.
Step 2. Modify your cat’s daily regimen.
If neutering is out of the question and you can’t stop females from exciting your carpet tiger, your best bet is to learn to live with his behavior. If you find this is simply impossible, below are a few minor changes you can make to your tom’s daily activities that might curb his “enthusiasm”.
Breeding season thankfully is limited to certain times of the year. That’s because domestic cats do not have an estrus period during the winter months. That’s because they need at least 12 hours of daylight for an estrus cycle to occur. For more information, please see our recent post on Why cats don’t go in heat during winter.
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Step 3. Exercise your cat during the day.
Cats aren’t that different from us pet parents. One of the best ways to avoid thinking about sex is to do something else so fun and exhausting you’re simply too tired even to contemplate “doing the naughty.” Playing is like hunting for cats. In nature, cats devote a significant amount of time to it. If you are able to devote even a fraction of that time to playing with your indoor cat, he’ll be much, much calmer during heat season. You can learn more about the benefits of playing from our page on the positive effect that playing has on cats. Give your male cat something that lets him release their sexual energy while calming them with a scratch pad with catnip. We have found this Catti Cat Scratcher Board with Catnip worked very well with our male.
Step 4. Enrich your cat’s environment.
Create elevated space (cat trees, perches, shelves), hiding spots (boxes, curtains, plants, gaps between sofas and walls), and provide play opportunities (bouncy balls, fake mice, toys hung in doorways). Providing your cat with a rich, stimulating environment will allow him to express his natural cat urges in appropriate times and places. This will reduce restlessness and inappropriate behavior.
Step 5. Implement scheduled feeding times.
What does food have to do with Don Gato’s longing for Miss Fluffy White? Well, as they say the fastest way to a man’s (or cat’s) heart is through his stomach. But seriously, if your cat always wakes up to a full bowl, he’s spending zero energy on feeding himself and can use that unspent energy for reproduction and mating purposes (even if the object of his affections is your leg or favorite blanket). This is a dilemma wild animals face every day; they can’t focus on both food and reproduction. They split their energy between the two (there is also staying alive procedures to focus on. Thankfully domestic pet cats don’t need to expend energy on survival. If your cat’s food comes without him having to do much, he has 100% of his energy to spend on mating behaviors. This is definitely what no pet parent wants. Especially when it’s during the heat period time of year.
Step 6. Get a treat ball for your cat.
Combine play and feeding by giving your cat one meal (or all of them) using a treat ball. These devices, which can be filled with your cat’s favorite treats or regular food, offer a great way to tucker out your feline friend because food pieces are only delivered one by one as long as your cat keeps playing. Not only does this take time away from responding to female cats’ calls, it can also help turn a tubby kitty into the picture of health. We use these with our cats as the playing simulates their natural hunting instincts. We have at least 2 in our home at all times. The best thing we love about this Catit Treat Ball is easy to wash by putting a little dish soap inside and shooting the faucet in the opening.
Step 7. Visit your veterinarian.
There are medicines available to calm excessively restless cats, though this shouldn’t be considered a panacea for mating-season kitty calming. Please understand that no medication should ever be used without your veterinarian’s guidance. Remember, heat season usually last a long time. If your neighborhood has many cats, you can expect them to be in one heat stage or another for the whole summer.
The above 7 tips should help you get a handle on cat’s unwanted behavior. As a final note, if you have both male and female cats living in your home, like we do you should physically separate your male and female cats immediately to avoid unwanted pregnancies. In fact, if you have a female cat in heat under the same roof as a male cat you should physically separate your cats as soon as you notice the first signs that your cat is in heat.
If you plan to breed your female, arrange the mating as soon as you can. If you don’t plan to breed her, you should either spay her. If even this is out of the question, your only option is to take one of the cats to another house until the female is no longer in heat. We strongly recommend spaying or neutering your pets for the health and behavior benefits. Not having to worry about an unexpected litter is a big bonus.
You have learned how to calm a male cat during mating season and 7 steps to calm a male cat during mating season. This will go a long way towards a long and happy life with your pet cat. And keeping your Pet Happy is what we all want.
This article is part of our series on cats in heat.