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Why Do Cats Scream While Mating?

two cats in the grass

Cats are unique little creatures that we love and adore. They tend to have some very peculiar behaviors in many aspects of their existence. It’s beneficial to understand feline behavior, especially if you share your life with cats. One awkward question that comes up is, why do cats scream when mating?

Not only are cats vocal during the actual act of mating, but females can also be vocal throughout the entire process of being in heat. We’ll investigate the courtship and mating of cats to best answer the question.

Heat Cycle

In a female cat, the ovaries do not release any eggs until mating has taken place, known as stimulation-based ovulation. You will notice that when a female cat comes into heat, they tend to be very affectionate and vocal, they will do a lot of grooming and rolling around during this time. This is due to an influx of hormones and is an indicator that she is ready to ovulate and is trying to attract a male to complete the process and become pregnant.

Not all females make the loud vocalization when in heat, called trilling, but most do. Females can begin heat cycles as young as 4 months of age. Breeding season for cats is all year round and a female will typically go into heat every 2-3 weeks until she is either spayed or becomes pregnant.

Two cats playing in the field
Image Credit: rihaij, Pixabay

Mating

When a male cat is lured in by a female through scent and vocalizations, the mating process will begin. The reason why there is so much screaming during the mating process is that male cats have a barbed penis that is very painful for the female to endure.

The male reproductive organs are barbed to stimulate the female to ovulate and though it is not so pleasant, it’s necessary for reproduction. It is not uncommon for the male to screech and scream as a response to the female’s noises while they are engaged in mating as well.

After mating is complete, which is typically under a minute, the female tends to act aggressively toward the male, likely due to the discomfort she endured. The male will typically leave the female alone until she starts vocalizing to attract him or another male to mate again.

Once the male has left, the female will go back and forth between grooming herself, rolling around, and trilling again. Most females will want to mate at least 3 to 4 times over a 1-to-2-day span and may mate with several suitors over this period and it is not uncommon for a litter of kittens to be fathered by different males.

After mating has commenced, the female tends to act quite strangely. They may act completely out of character due to the surge of hormones they are experiencing.

Spaying and Neutering Cats

It is very important to note that spaying and neutering your cats is an important responsibility of a cat owner. There is currently a crisis when it comes to the homelessness of domesticated pets around the world. In the United States alone, 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year, 860,000 of those being cats.

Sterilizing your cat will prevent many unwanted pregnancies and kittens. There are simply not enough homes for the number of cats in this country. Not only does spaying and neutering help with the overflow of shelter pets, but it also has medical, behavioral, and financial benefits.

two neighbouring cats hissing at each other
Image Credit: Astrid Gast, Shutterstock

Financial Benefit

  • Having your cats either spayed or neutered will help avoid costs of care for any litter produced by intact animals.
  • Spaying and neutering will also help owners avoid the cost of medical expenses related to the health issues that can result from allowing your cat(s) to remain intact.

Medical Benefits

  • A female cat will likely live a much longer and healthier life if spayed before her first heat cycle. Having her spayed will help prevent breast tumors and uterine infections that are typically malignant, especially in cats.
  • Neutering a male cat will help to prevent prostate issues and testicular cancer.

Behavioral Benefits

  • An intact male cat will want to roam in search of females. He may even resort to escape attempts. If he is free to roam, he is at great risk of injury or even death in traffic or by fighting with other male cats. A neutered male will not have the desire to roam in search of females.
  • Intact male cats are very likely to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over your house. It’s best to neuter them as soon as possible to avoid this behavior, as it can continue after being neutered.
  • By spaying a female cat, she will not go into heat. As discussed, females can have varying behavior while in heat, but cats usually go into heat four to five days every two to three weeks unless spayed or pregnant. By having them spayed, you will avoid the vocalizations, obnoxious behavior, and spraying of urine during heat.

When Can I Spay/Neuter My Cat?

It is typically considered safe to spay or neuter kittens as early as 8 weeks of age. It’s important to avoid urine spraying from males marking their territory and heat cycles in females, which each typically start around 4 to 5 months of age.

It is best to speak directly with your veterinarian about the process and ensure the surgery is completed promptly to prevent unwanted pregnancies and any associated behavioral issues you can face with unaltered animals.

Adopting straight from a rescue or shelter is a wonderful option that will ensure your new cat is spayed or neutered before coming home.

Conclusion

We now know that the reason cats scream during mating is due to the barbed reproductive organs of the male causing physical discomfort for the female. Occasionally, the males will reciprocate with vocalizations in response to this as well.

It’s vital to have your cats spayed or neutered unless you are a reputable breeder. It will not only save the female from the pain of breeding but has many other benefits. We all must do what we can to prevent homeless pet populations and mass euthanasia of our companion animals.


Featured Image Credit: christels, Pixabay

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