Understanding Cats' Mating Behavior

Cats' mating behavior can be annoying and irritating, but also very aggressive when interrupted. Because it is a natural process, your cat may not take kindly to you trying to prevent it. And it can sometimes be difficult to stop a male and female cat from mating when their instincts are dictating their behavior.

Stages of Mating

There are four stages that your female will go through as she approaches mating: Proestrus, estrus, interestrus and anestrus. Proestrus and estrus are the more active stages of mating. In each stage, a different hormonal response is triggered and the actions of the stages of heat become apparent. These four stages conclude the normal cycle of reproductive mating behavior in cats. Yet, the only way to stop this cycle from occurring is through spaying or neutering.

During the proestrus stage, you will notice some very obvious changes in your female. This is the period of time when she will be calling to the male and attracting him, but she will not accept him. Your female will become very affectionate during this time and she will rub her scent on any person or thing that she comes into contact with. By doing this, she is laying a trace for the male cat to find her. You will also notice a lot of loud whining and howling from your female. This is her way of calling to the male and letting him know that she is almost ready.

During the estrus stage, the symptoms of proestrus will become even more pronounced. This is the stage in which she will accept the male if he is around. Your female will become clingier and whine even louder than she did in the proestrus stage. She will also assume the mating position by lying lowing to the ground with her tail up in the air.

Inestrus is the period of time after estrus. Your female will not accept the male during this stage. This is the time that female body uses to allow reproduction to occur. If your cat was mated during estrus, her body will begin making preparations to nurture and protect the litter that she is carrying. If your cat did not mate during estrus, this will be a period of time where she relaxes and prepares for her next cycle.

Anestrus is a completely mellow period. There is virtually no activity that takes place during this stage. This stage is mainly meant for a mother to nurse and care for her kittens. Her kittens will be her number one priority and she will not entertain the idea of a male while she is caring for her kittens.

Behavior during Mating

It is extremely important that you do not interrupt the act of mating. The female will not be impressed with an interruption and it should be left alone as such. The act of mating is a completely natural and hormonal response in cats which can create an aggressive behavior in your female.

She may become aggressive with you if you try to prevent the act, and she can likewise become aggressive with the male if he does not act appropriately or quickly enough. Because this is all very normal behavior on part of your female, you should only intervene if you fear for the safety of your male or female.

The only way to stop the mating process or any aggression associated with it is to have your cat spayed or neutered. After spaying or neutering has been done, the process of proestrus through anestrus no longer occurs and the desire to mate is gone.