Whether your own male cat (or your neighbor’s) is following around your female cat, it can be frustrating to both you and your cat.
The male may be trying to mount, sniff, or even fight her. How can you get the male to leave her alone?
There are many ways to discourage your male from messing with your female, such as getting them both fixed, separating them, and reintroducing the cats to each other.
Read on to find out ways to get a male cat to leave your female cat alone.
Why won’t the male cat leave my female alone?
There are several reasons a male cat may be bothering a female. Some of the reasons have to do with the relationships between cats; others are about hormones and natural instincts.
Either way, a male is not always aggressive when he is following around a female.
The male is showing dominance.
Cats form hierarchies, so your cats may establish a pecking order if you have a multi-cat household. Some cats are more dominant than others, so your male cat may rule the roost.
As they get older, especially between the ages of 2 to 5 years old, they will begin to challenge other cats to establish dominance.
This can be done by spraying, stealing toys, rubbing the face on items to claim them, possessing ideal sleeping spots, starting fights, pursuing other cats, and even blocking the food dish for other cats.
Usually, the cats work these sorts of relationships out amongst themselves, and the more submissive cat learns to give up some of its things to the more dominant cat.
Occasionally, however, it can turn into bullying.
The male wants to play.
Male cats are typically more playful than females by nature. They have a lot of energy and may initiate play with the female.
If the female doesn’t want to play, this can lead to her hissing or growling in response.
In this case, your male is not being aggressive. He just needs to learn your female cat’s boundaries, and she is showing him through her actions.
The male is curious.
If your female cat is a new addition, he may follow her around because he is curious about her.
A new cat is a big adjustment. He will want to smell her and determine if she is a friend or foe.
Yet, your female may not like being followed around and bothered, especially if she is trying to get used to a new environment.
She may end up hissing, growling, and hiding in response. This is usually not aggressive, but it can turn into aggression if your cats don’t get used to each other.
The female is in heat.
When a female cat is in heat, she is fertile and experiences a surge of hormones. Male cats (toms) can smell when a female goes into heat for miles.
This gives them a strong urge to mate with them.
Males will go to great lengths to mate with a female. They have been known to tear down screens, climb through windows, jump fences, and escape the house by whatever means necessary to get to her.
Males can also become aggressive during this time. They may constantly follow the cat around to try to mate with her.
The female is pregnant.
Male cats can become anxious when a female is pregnant. They will follow around the female to protect her. Neutered cats can even become protective over a pregnant female.
Males also may follow a pregnant cat to show dominance. This is a way to show the other males they cannot mate with her.
Sometimes a male cat will even try to continue to mate with the female while she is pregnant to prevent other males from doing so.
How do I get the male to stop trying to mate with the female?
Although many of these behaviors are not meant to harm the female cat, they can be annoying to her.
In some cases, the male’s attention can become aggressive to her and result in bullying. There are several ways to discourage your male from bothering your female.
Get both cats fixed.
Of course, if your cats are both intact, the male will naturally be drawn to follow around and mate with your female.
He may also become more aggressive during mating season, fighting her or other cats in the neighborhood.
By getting both cats fixed, you avoid the spraying and aggression in the male. He won’t be as interested in bothering the female.
You will also avoid having unwanted kittens and going through the heat cycle multiple times a year with your female.
Many low-cost spay and neuter facilities are available, so if you are worried about the cost, local vets and shelters can usually point you toward affordable options for these procedures.
Keep your female inside.
If the male cat bothering your female is a neighbor’s cat or a stray, keeping her inside is the best way to keep her from being pursued.
This is especially true if she is not fixed. The mating season for cats is usually when the daylight hours are longer. This is usually March – June for the Northern Hemisphere.
If your cat needs to go outside, you can supervise her time out there. Or, if she loves her outdoor time, you can consider getting a catio.
This is an enclosure where your cat gets the feel of the outdoors without wandering around the neighborhood. It kind of looks like a tall rabbit hutch.
Separate the male and female.
If the two cats are in your house, you can try separating them in different rooms, especially while the female is in heat.
This can also be a great way to reset the relationship between the two cats. Sometimes two cats will develop a strained relationship.
You can separate them for a short time if they are fighting or competing.
Then, you would go through the process of reintroducing them to each other to try to establish a positive relationship.
Is your male cat bullying your female?
Sometimes one of your cats can become a bully to others. They take their dominance displays to an unhealthy level, and other cats suffer.
If your female is showing the following behaviors, she may be bullied:
- Hiding all-day
- acting depressed
- urinating outside the litter box
- has cuts and claw marks
- growls or hisses when another cat is around
- avoids areas where the other cat stays
You may also notice your male pursuing the female as if hunting her, or he may even scare her away from the food dish or sleeping areas.
In these cases, you may want to try to fix the relationship between the two cats before the female gets seriously hurt.
Reintroduce the cats to each other.
One way you can work to re-establish a good relationship between the cats is to start over and act like you are introducing them for the first time.
This is a slow process. First, the cats need to be separated for a time. This helps them to calm down and reset.
Then, put them into the same room together.
Supervise interactions between the two cats for a while.
If you know your male cat is a bully, all interactions with the female must be supervised for a while.
At first, you’ll want to ensure each cat has plenty of safe places to hide. Give them treats and pets to get them comfortable in the same room.
If a fight breaks out, distract them by making a loud noise. If you intervene directly, you may get hurt.
Use scents to help the cats become familiar with each other.
You can purchase calming scents for cats that may ease tension. You can also give your male cat items with the female’s scent to familiarize him with the female.
This can help your male get used to the scent and not overreact.
Use positive reinforcement.
Punishment will only make the male more aggressive. Reward positive interactions with treats and affection.
For example, if the two go into the same room together and the male leaves the female alone, give him a treat and pets.
The more positive associations the male cat has with the female, the better behaved he will be.
Ensure both cats have plenty of resources.
Sometimes bullying occurs because your cat perceives the other cat as a threat to his territory. There should always be one more litter box than the number of cats.
Also, you may consider feeding your male and female in separate rooms. If they don’t have to compete, they will be more tolerant of each other.
Your cats may never truly be in love with each other, but they can eventually learn to tolerate each other.
Males can have several reasons for following around a female. Sometimes these actions are benign, and other times they are aggressive.
It is important to figure out why the male is pursuing the female. Then, you can work to keep him from bothering her by following some of the tips in this article.