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How Do Cats Mate?

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

Most people would often think that the way cats mate is simple and similar to us humans in more ways than not, but the truth is that the process of how cats mate isn’t that simple and obvious, and sometimes it can bring surprises in the form of several new born kittens.

While a bunch of cute new kittens can bring a lot of happiness to your household, we all know that’s not always the case, as they can be both a blessing and a pain, even more when they come unexpected and nobody else wants them.

How Do Cats Mate – The Age

A female cat at puberty is called a queen, meaning that she’s ready to mate. That usually happens when a cat has reached the age of six to eight months, but it can also happen as early as three to four months.

For a male cat, he has to be ten to twelve months old to begin mating, but it can as well happen earlier, at around six months of age. Mating is often referred to as being ‘in heat’.

One should spay / neuter his or her cat when they’re between four to six months old to avoid getting through the troubles that cats mating poses for the owner.

How Do Cats Mate – The Season

The breeding season for cats is during the spring and summer seasons, because that’s when conditions are more gentle and suitable for the kittens to survive their first stages of life.

How Do Cats Mate – The Ritual

The mating game in cats happens in stages, or cycles. When a female cat reaches puberty, a queen as it’s called, she will begin to be in heat. That’s when the estrus cycles begin. They repeat every two to three weeks, and the cat’s only focus will be to mate.

She will look for male cats with every chance she gets, so it will be harder to keep her indoors. Her behavior will change, calling often and loudly. This is called caterwauling and happens in male cats as well.

When a partner is found, the male will continue calling and start circling the female, who either accepts or rejects him by hissing him away.

If the female accepts the male, she will call back the male, start rubbing her head along the floor and against him and roll around on her back.

Her posture then changes again, keeping her head down and raising her backside to expose her genitals and keeping her tail raised and on the side, all these to make the process of mating easier for the male cat.

He then bites the female from the back of her head – there are clues that this ‘agressive’ behavior might stimulate ovulation in the female cat – and mounts her from behind. The process is over oftentimes in less than a minute and subsequently, the female turns back and attacks the male. Though everything might seem loud and brutal, it’s just how cats mate, a natural ritual.

Another interesting thing is that after the first mating, a female might look for other potential candidates, just to ensure fertilization.

Due to that, cats can often give birth to kittens with different fathers at the same time.

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