Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have two male cats. They are brothers but from different litters and this started when they were younger (well on my male cat’s part anyway). My male cat is always trying to “hump” my sister’s male cat. I thought it was because he wasn’t getting to go outside as much as he wanted and so I allowed him to stay out as long as he wanted and hoped that it would help but he does even more so now. I mean he is literally (or so it seems) trying to mate with the male cat. I know that having him fixed might help a little bit but I can’t afford that right now and so my biggest question is, how can I stop my male cat from trying to mate with the other male cat? It’s getting a little ridiculous and annoying. I love my cat and I don’t want to get rid of him! Help me please.
Thomas: He’s sexually mature, and he can smell the female kitties in heat in your neighborhood, but he has no way of getting to them.
Dahlia: So he displaces this sexual frustration onto your sister’s cat in the form of sexualized aggression.
Siouxsie: We’re not surprised the behavior escalated after he got to go outside, because at that point he not only smelled the ladies waiting to experience his manly charms, but he probably had some run-ins with neighborhood tomcats too.
Thomas: We’re willing to bet that your cat has started spraying, too. That’s how male cats leave love notes for the ladies and threats of grievous bodily harm for other toms.
Dahlia: And if he’s started spraying, we’ll also bet that other cats have been spraying in your yard, too.
Siouxsie: This aromatic invasion has almost certainly made your cat feel as though his territory is under attack.
Thomas: The territorial stress also helps to increase your cat’s need for aggression, and your sister’s poor kitty just happens to be in the line of fire.
Dahlia: We hate to break it to you, Tracy, but the only way you’re going to be able to put a stop to this behavior is by having your cat neutered.
Siouxsie: There are low-cost spay/neuter clinics just about everywhere in the US and Canada, and in Europe and many other places in the world, too, so there’s really no excuse not to have your cat fixed. Some states even offer voucher programs for low-income individuals to have their pets spayed or neutered for free.
Thomas: Contact your nearest animal shelter or humane society to see what programs are available in your area.
Dahlia: There are a couple of websites that offer searchable databases for low-cost spay/neuter clinics in your state. Some states don’t have complete listings (Maine doesn’t; we checked), which is why we recommend you call your local shelter first. But it’s a place to start.
Siouxsie: Here’s the ASPCA’s low-cost spay/neuter clinic database …
Thomas: NeuterSpay.org provides a searchable database of low-cost or free spay/neuter resources for pets and feral cats in the United States. They also have listings for Canada and Europe.
Dahlia: While your cat is getting the snip, so to speak, check by your doors and windows (inside and outside) and around your yard with a black light to find spots where male cats have sprayed. Then clean those spots with products designed to remove urine odors and stains. We recommend Anti-Icky-Poo if you’re in the market for a pre-made product. A solution of white vinegar and water (mixed 50/50) can also do the job.
Siouxsie: We’d also recommend that you use Feliway Comfort Zone spray and diffusers in your home in order to reduce your resident cats’ stress level. Feliway is a synthetic version of “happy cat” pheromones, and we’ve found it very effective in reducing aggression and urine marking.
Thomas: You can shop around to see if you can get a better price on the Feliway, but from what we’ve seen, the prices at the linked site are well within the norm.
Dahlia: Good luck, Tracy — and get that cat fixed!