Do Cats Enjoy Sex & Mating? Vet-Reviewed Feline Facts

You may have noticed the familiar sounds and behavioral changes in your female cat and guessed that they’re in heat. Their restlessness, excessive vocalization, and desire to go outside to find a mate may have you wondering whether cats enjoy sex and mating or if their behavior is entirely instinctual. Cats are hormonally driven to have sex in order to reproduce. There is no evidence behaviourally or otherwise to suggest that sexual activity is enjoyable for them.

Although it can take hours before the queen approaches the tom cat, the mating process usually only takes a maximum of a few minutes. However, those few minutes can feel long for an owner as they watch what looks like a fight! Keep reading as we discuss when and how cats mate.

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When Do Cats Mate?

Cats can start mating once they reach sexual maturity. This usually happens from 6–9 months. Female cats go into heat every 2–3 weeks during the breeding season, which is usually January to late fall in the Northern Hemisphere. When in heat they’ll show signs of readiness to mate, be interested in the tom’s advancements, and be more likely to allow a tom to mount them.

A female cat will show signs of being in heat and being ready to mate. If they are not in heat, they cannot fall pregnant and will reject any advancement from a tom. Once a male cat reaches sexual maturity, they are able to mate at any time but will usually only ever attempt to mate with females that are in heat.

Male cats will try everything they can to get to a female cat in heat. He knows it’s the right time because he can smell her pheromones, which gives him all the information he needs. The unneutered male cat can pick up these pheromones left behind by an in-heat female from hours before and may follow the scent until he finds her, which is why many unneutered males roam.

Image Credit: Kasefoto, Shutterstock

How Do Cats Mate?

Even with all the calling and flirting, the queen usually won’t allow the tom near her until he has put in some work and courted her for several hours. Once she is willing to mate, she will bend her chest to the ground and raise her back end to the tom, exposing her genital area.

Once the tom gets the “go ahead” from the queen, he’ll mount her and bite the skin at the back of her neck. The mating process is short and brief.

Do Female Cats Enjoy Mating?

If anyone wonders if a female cat enjoys mating, they probably have never witnessed the act! While the male and female cats are mating, the queen will scream and may even fight to break free from the male’s grip. This can involve turning, rolling, clawing, and attempting to bite the tom.

A female cat will have this reaction because a tom’s penis is barbed and scrapes the inside of her vagina, which is very painful. This scraping is what stimulates ovulation and allows the female cat to fall pregnant.

two feral cats on the table
Image Credit: Nathalie-Jolie,Unsplash

What Happens After Mating Has Occurred?

Once the female cat has broken free from the tom, he’ll run off. If he doesn’t, the queen will chase him away. The female cat will become agitated and roll on the ground and show signs of discomfort. This reaction lasts around 10 minutes and is likely due to the hormones and the pain she just experienced. During this time, she’ll also groom herself, focusing on her genital area.

When Can Cats Mate Again?

It doesn’t take much time for both cats to be ready to mate again after having sexual intercourse, as it can take between 5 to 30 minutes. This can be with each other or with new partners. A queen can mate up to 30 times during her estrous cycle and can mate with many different toms. One female cat can give birth to a litter of kittens who are genetically diverse because they have different fathers.

Although penetration stimulates ovulation, there is no guarantee that the queen will fall pregnant on the first try. Breeders will encourage mating to happen several times throughout the queen’s estrous cycle to increase the chances of pregnancy.

Spaying and Neutering

Contrary to what some people believe, cats don’t need to mate and will not become more aggressive if they don’t mate. Queens will show signs of being ready to mate when they’re in heat, and males will try their best to get them to reproduce. These behavioral changes can be stressful because outdoor cats will roam and sometimes get into fights. There is also the risk of unwanted pregnancies, even with indoor cats.

The only way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is through spaying your cat. You will also reduce undesirable behavior in your tom cat by neutering them. Spaying and neutering also protect against certain diseases and cancers.

cat spaying procedure
Image Credit: De Visu, Shutterstock

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Cats don’t appear to enjoy sex. In fact, instead of experiencing enjoyment, female cats experience pain because the penis of a tom cat is barbed and scrapes the inside of her vagina. Unneutered cats will mate when the queen goes into heat, and behavioral changes will occur.

You can prevent undesirable behavior as well as the risk of pregnancy by neutering your cat.

Featured Image Credit: Sergey-Neanderthalec, Shutterstock

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