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Will a Male Cat Mate With a Female if She’s Not in Heat?

Image Credit: Wasuta23, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Misty Lane

As cat parents, we know that female cats mate when in heat, but what about male cats? They don’t go into heat like females, so when do they mate? Will they mate with a female if she isn’t in heat?

When it comes to whether a male cat will mate with a female if she’s not in heat, the answer is yes—and no. Confused? Here’s what you should know about male and female cats regarding sexual maturity and mating!

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Mating Outside of a Heat

Male cats reach sexual maturity between 4 and 6 months of age, meaning if they mate with a female in heat, a pregnancy can occur. And since most female felines are pregnant from March–May, it indicates spring is the most likely time for mating season to occur. However, cats are actually able to mate year-round if they want (females go into heat every 2–3 weeks), and once male cats reach full maturity (6–12 months), they are ready to mate at any time. So, males may indeed approach female cats outside of a heat.

However, the chances of them actually mating a female if she isn’t in heat is slim to none, as the female won’t allow the male to mount her if she isn’t interested, and outside of a heat, a female is unlikely to be interested. So, technically a male cat could be interested in mating with a female if she’s not in heat, but the chances of that mating occurring are practically non-existent.

two cats wrestling
Image Credit: AdinaVoicu, Pixabay

How Do I Tell if Cats are Ready to Mate?

If you have cats, you’ll notice several signs when they’re ready to mate, whether female or male. Though male cats don’t experience heat like females do, they’ll still display behavior that indicates they are ready to mate with the nearest female in heat.

For female cats in heat, you’ll notice your pet doing some or all of the following:

  • More affectionate than usual
  • Excessive grooming (particularly in the genital area)
  • Lifting of the hind and tail
  • Treading of the back legs either on the ground or in the air if your cat is lying down
  • More vocalization than is typical
  • Lack of appetite
  • Attempts at escaping the home to search for a male
Two cats sleeping near a window
Image Credit: Lorraine Steriopol, Pexels

And if you have a male cat that’s ready to mate, you could see behavioral changes, as well, including:

  • Aggression due to higher testosterone
  • Fighting with other cats in the neighborhood or at home
  • Urine marking
  • Prowling around the home
  • Yowling at all hours
  • Attempts at escaping to seek a female

If you’re seeing any of these signs from one or more of your cats, you need to keep a close watch on them to avoid an unwanted pregnancy!

two white cats rub faces on the grass, positive associations, bonding
Image Credit: Oleg Shishkunov, Shutterstock

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering

Spaying or neutering your pet is, of course, the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and avoid having loads of kittens on your hands. But that’s not the only reason to have your cat fixed! Not only does spaying and neutering keep your cats from getting pregnant or impregnating others, but it also offers several important benefits.

One of these benefits is lengthening the time your cat will live for. One study found that neutered felines lived up to 62% longer than their unneutered counterparts, while spayed cats lived up to 39% longer. That’s a lot of time added to your pet’s lifespan!

Having your cat fixed can also keep it from engaging in behaviors that are destructive (this goes for not only males but also females). The sorts of negative behaviors that can be lessened or negated with spaying and neutering include yowling, urine marking, roaming during heat, and aggressiveness.

Then there are the health benefits to spaying and neutering, as having your pet fixed can reduce the risk of certain illnesses (and, in some cases, prevent them entirely). For females, spaying can eliminate uterine infections, as well as breast tumors. And for males, neutering lessens the risk of testicular cancer and eliminates health issues associated with the prostate.



While male cats are capable and willing to mate with females year-round, chances of them actually doing so are very slim. If a female cat isn’t interested in being mounted, then it’s not happening, and since females are rarely interested outside of having a heat, mating outside of heat isn’t likely. If you have multiple cats or live in a neighborhood that’s full of felines, you’ll need to watch your pets to gauge whether they are in heat or ready to mate so as to avoid unwanted litters during mating season.

However, the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy in your cats is by having your pet spayed or neutered. Not only does this result in no kittens, but it also offers your pet tons of health benefits!

Featured Image Credit: Wasuta23, Shutterstock

About the Author

Misty Lane
Misty Lane
Misty Layne lives out in the woods in small-town Alabama with her two Siamese cats—Serafina and Jasper. She also has an array of stray cats, raccoons, and possums who like to call her front porch home. When she’s not writing about animals, you’ll find her writing poetry, stories, and film reviews (cats, by far, her favorite writing topic, though!). In her free time, Misty enjoys chilling with her cats, playing piano, watching indie and foreign films, photographing abandoned places, and catching up on her never-ending TBR list.

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