Of course, one of the most infamous behaviors toms are known for is their propensity for wandering. This wanderlust can sometimes lead them miles from home, and you may not see your pet again for days. More often than not, your tom will nonchalantly return home looking for his dinner, but that doesn’t keep you from worrying in the meantime. This is mainly due to a desire to defend or gain territory, but breeding behavior also drives males to spar with each other. Sometimes these fights are more about posturing, but on many occasions, these boys will do some significant damage to each other. In the wild, cats scratch trees and fence posts as another way of alerting other cats to their presence.
This advertisement is in part down to the physical damage, which is a visual marker, and scent spread from glands in the pads. Because male cats are more territorial, they also experience a stronger urge to rake furniture, walls, or carpets. This is a normal behavior in an inappropriate place, which is little comfort to a frustrated pet parent. Be sure to provide a male cat with plenty of sturdy scratching posts, preferably mounted near entrances and exits. This helps satisfy his need to claw and scratch. Coat care and grooming are as important to male cats as to females. Males spend time licking and cleaning which helps keep their coat in good order and reduces parasitic burdens.
In addition, coating hair in saliva is an important way of losing heat in hot weather. A male would not consider mutually grooming another male but may wash the head and shoulders of a favored female cat. These loud, harsh cries are entire male cats advertising that they are available to mate. This courtship behavior serves a dual function of attracting female cats in heat, while warning off other male suitors. While every male and female cats exist, caterwauling is going to happen. When near a female in heat, experienced males may run straight to the female and mount her in as little at 16 seconds. Less experienced males are more cautious and may make a softer mating cry to her and sniff around her rear end.
If she accepts his advances, the male is apt to mount her and grip her neck with his teeth, in what’s thought to be a naturally pacifying action similar to a mother cat carrying her kittens. Mating takes on average one to nine minutes. Once mating is complete, the male wanders off and has nothing else to do with the female. Male cats tend to eat more than females, however, they spend less time hunting. In part, this is down to females providing food for their kittens. A useful tip for pet owners is to use puzzle feeders, which make the cat work for their supper.
This can reduce boredom and therefore unwanted behaviors that a male cat might adopt, such as spraying or clawing. Tomcats are prepared to fight to defend their territory, but this is usually the option of last resort. This is because fighting risks injury and an injured cat can’t hunt and feed himself. The answer is a complex language of body postures, which signals the cat’s intentions in the ultimate game of call my bluff. The first tool in the tomcat’s artillery is scent, hence all that spraying and scratching to claim ownership. When an interloper ignores these signals, a tomcat will put on a visual display of prowess, in order to intimidate and make the stray think twice about proceeding. Cat stares directly at his opponent and fixes his gaze without backing down.
Never attempt to physically intervene with a tomcat in this highly aroused state. He is likely to attack. Cats are hunters and this behavior is almost impossible to eliminate. Young kittens can draw a tom’s interest, and that initial curiosity often brings hunting instincts to the surface. After a few moments, that squirming little kitten begins to look remarkably similar to other prey animals like mice and chipmunks. Some male cats are willing to tolerate kittens they sense to be their own offspring, but most attempt to kill or drive off kittens that belong to another tom.
However, his tolerance is usually limited to the next time the queen comes into heat. At this point, the tom wants those kittens out of the way so he can breed the female again. Always separate a female cat and her kittens from the male whenever possible to prevent undesirable outcomes. Typical behavior in the entire cat is driven by high testosterone levels. Neutering a male cat reduces his testosterone, without taking away his character. As a pet parent, this means you can expect a general improvement in most behaviors. However, and it’s a big BUT, this also depends on how much his actions are down to ingrained habit. For example, a male kitten neutered at six months of age has not learned bad habits such as spraying. However, a mature tomcat used to territory marking by spraying may do so out of habit and late neutering may have a disappointing effect. The behaviors described below are typical of an entire adult male cat.