Ever hear the intense caterwaul of cats in the middle of the night? Maybe you hear your own cat screaming in pain, so you get up and search for them immediately only to find them mating with a male cat. Whatever the case may be, this screaming and howling are perfectly normal.
It sounds intense and borderline frightening, but it’s a standard part of the mating process for cats. But why?
Why Do Cats Scream When They Mate?
There are a couple of reasons why cats howl like banshees when breeding. Believe it or not, it often occurs before any physical intercourse happens!
Understanding the Feline Mating Process
Female cats, also known as queens, can enter their first heat cycle as early as four months old.
During this time, she’s receptive to mating and is capable of giving birth to kittens. The feline breeding season is relatively long, lasting between February and October.
During that time, female cats can go into heat multiple times. So, what’s with all the yelling.
In some cases, the screaming is a female cat’s way to garner the attention of males looking to mate. She’ll perform all kinds of mating behaviors to spread her scent. That includes screaming.
When queens enter this phase of the heat cycle, they’re in oestrus.
The female cat will crouch and hold her tail up as she screams. It’s a way of letting males know that she’s ready to mate.
The wailing doesn’t stop there! If you ever witness cats mating, you’ll notice how much it seems like the female is in pain.
Queens continued to scream, and for a good reason!
A male cat’s penis features a series of spiny barbs. They lay flat during penetration, but they scrape the vagina and cause the female cat to scream in pain. In response, the male will likely hold her down by the neck.
Having a barbed penis seems like a terrible biological quirk, but it’s necessary to the breeding process.
Female cats are induced ovulators. That means they can’t release mature eggs from the ovaries without copulation.
The pain from the male’s penis barbs shocks the system and triggers ovulation, essentially putting the queen into this state of “intense heat.”
This is when she’s most likely to get pregnant. The intense heat cycle lasts for about three days, but cats are ready to mate again only 30 minutes after that ovulation-triggering first copulation.
Should I Be Concerned?
The screaming is jarring, but it’s perfectly normal.
Despite how traumatic it sounds, the mating process is pretty straightforward, and most female cats recover quickly.
You should only worry if you notice anything unusual about her anatomy. Particularly rough breeding can result in rectal or vaginal prolapse.
The cat’s internals will protrude out of the body when that happens. Events like that require veterinary attention, so don’t hesitate to seek care.
How to Tell if a Cat is Pregnant
So you witnessed the mating process and heard the screams. If you suspect that your cat is pregnant, you’ll usually start to see the signs after 30 days.
A month after the breeding session, swollen mammary glands and subtle belly growth are telltale signs. A stronger appetite is common, too.
At 30 days, your vet can perform an ultrasound to see if the cat is pregnant.
By 60 days, another ultrasound will determine how big the liter is.
The cat mating process is certainly strange by human standards. The intense screaming would be an immediate cause for concern in any other context. But when it comes to feline mating, it’s a normal part of the process.
Keep an eye on your female cat afterward. If you want to prevent those experiences again, consider spaying your cat to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Also Read: How Many Nipples Do Cats Have?