Male Cat Behavior

"Male cat behavior is driven by territorial instincts, an aggressive reaction to something in your cats environment and urine marketing."

There are a number of behaviors common to male cats. Aggressive behavior can be corrected with either behavior modification (reward good behavior), prescription medications (in conjunction with behavior modification) and even Natural Medicine.

Punishing bad behavior may lead to even more aggressive behavior since you are directly challenging your cat. Treats to reward good behavior can be effective.

Cats like to be in control. If you try and change the way your cat acts they may lash out. Also, do not over handle your cat. Most cats will let you know when they want to interact with you.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center most types of aggression can be corrected by startling your cat at any sign of aggression. If you try this there should be no physical contact with the cat.

Quick Links

Territorial Cat Aggressive Behavior
Predatory Cat Aggressive Behavior
Cat Aggressive Behavior Due to Fear
Marking Territory with Urine

Territorial Aggression

All cats are territorial by nature, but males who have not been neutered are more territorial than others. They will fiercely defend their territory and it is not uncommon for them to get into fights with other cats. They will fight other cats in the home as well as other cats in the neighborhood. They are especially likely to fight new cats brought into the home, particularly a new male brought into the home.

Having your cat neutered will cut down on territorial aggression. If you want to have more than one cat, it is best to bring them into the home at the same time, if possible- that way neither will consider the home their territory yet. If you must introduce a new cat into the home after another cat has been living there for some time, watch carefully for signs of territorial aggression and break up fights when they occur. Hopefully the first cat will eventually accept the new cat.

Predatory Aggression

Cats are hunters. They naturally seek to chase and capture birds, rats and other small animals. Sometimes this instinct unfortunately is directed at a human or another pet in the house.

Symptoms of this problem include changes in the way your cat conducts itself. It includes head lowering, a tail that twitches back and forth and lunging.

The first step is to restrict where your cat can go if any other animal in the house is in danger. One idea is to put a bell on your cat's collar. The noise will warn any animal that your cat is approaching. This is particularly helpful outside if you cat likes to chase birds (use a breakaway collar for safety)

Redirected Aggression

This form of aggression can occur in female cats as well, but is more common male cat behavior. A cat becomes aroused by something, then takes out his aggression on a person or animal that is not the cause of his arousal, usually if you interrupt the behavior. For example, he sees a strange cat out the window. He becomes upset, his fur stands on end, he begins to growl. His owner, naturally concerned, tries to help the situation by picking the cat up to move him away from the window. And the cat bites and scratches his owner because you interfered with what your cat was concentrating on.

This type of male cat behavior is reduced in cats who have been neutered, so if your cat is not neutered, it�s time to neuter him. If it continues, one solution is to reduce the opportunity for the cat to experience the arousing situation. However, you probably do not want to keep your window shades drawn all of the time. Another possible solution is to see your vet about anti-anxiety medication for your cat.

If you cat experiences this type of behavior at the window, then you may need to make the window unavailable by either using blinds to block them or sticky tape on the window sill.

Fear Aggression

If your cat reacts to anything new in the house such as a person that your cat doesn't know, it could be out of fear. Symptoms of this type of aggression include hissing, showing the teeth, crouching low, flat ears, dilated pupils and fur that stands up.

The simple solution to this male cat behavior problem is to eliminate whatever is causing the response. You could also gradually introduce your cat to whatever is the cause by having the person or problem stay a safe distance and then over time come closer. Give your cat a treat if they continue to behave. As the cat and person get closer provide a treat to reinforce the positive behavior.

If your cat is acting with aggression do not reward your cat with any sort of putting or comfort. Also, if you cat is acting with aggression, the person that caused it should NOT back away as this shows your feline that he or she is in control. The person that is the subject of aggression should just ignore your cat if they can.

Urine Marking in Male Cat Behavior

This is another behavior that can occur in female cats but is much more common in with males. It is particularly common male cat behavior in males who have not been neutered.

Urine marking is when a cat backs up to an upright surface, usually a door or doorway, but sometimes other walls or furniture, and directs a stream of urine at it. This may occur when there are changes to the cat's environment, such as a new cat in the home or moving to a new home. It may also occur when there are changes relating to the cat's relationship with his owner, such as the owner working different hours or spending less time with the cat. Inappropriate punishment may also cause a cat to begin urine marking.

If your cat is not neutered, get him neutered now. Thoroughly clean any spots where he has marked. If he continues marking, you may need to consider seeing your vet for medication. There is also a product called FELIWAY, which contains synthetic pheromones that discourage marking and is successful for many cats.

Male Cat Behavior in Households with Two Cats

Sometimes two male cats may get into fights. It is caused by hormones in the male which drives competition between cats. This behavior can also be seen between male and female cats and is sparked by the genetic desire to protect a territory.

Neutering or spaying your cat should help curb hormone production. Separate the cats and use treats to reward positive behavior when the are together. Also a bell on the collar can warn one cat that the other is coming. You can also use noise or a water gun to make it unpleasant when they fight.

Sources for Male Cat Behavior

Huntausen, Wayne, DVM

Cornell Feline Health Center


From Male Cat Behavior to More on Cat Behavior
To Cat Health Guide Home