Typical male cat behavior tends to lead some people to believe that toms really only make second choice pets. In reality, there isn't much difference in the way males behave than the way female cats do.
Typical Male Cat Behavior
When you examine both genders closely, there really isn't a great deal of difference between the way the sexes behave. It just seems that some of the behaviors are a little more pronounced in the average tom.
Probably the worst offense attributed to male cats is the habit of urine spraying. Males sometimes spray their territory as a warning of the boundaries to other cats. Toms also spray as an advertisement of their sexual prowess when seeking females to mate with.
That said, urine spraying is not always behavioral by nature. A case of kidney stones can drive a cat to spray in an effort to pass the blockage and gain a little relief. Likewise, a urinary tract infection can also lead to disturbing urinary behaviors.
If your cat is spraying, get him checked out by a vet to rule out medical problems and clean up after him with a product like NOse Offense to help remove his scent.
Of course, one of the most infamous behaviors toms are known for is their propensity for wandering. This wanderlust can sometimes lead them miles from home, and you may not see your pet again for days. More often than not, your tom will nonchalantly return home looking for his dinner, but that doesn't keep you from worrying in the meantime. Factors that drive this behavior include:
- A desire to increase a male's territory
- Seeking out a female in heat that he has caught scent of more than a mile away
- Curiosity; the male wanders because he can if given the opportunity
Keep your cat close to home by either keeping him indoors or using an invisible fence and collar to keep him nearby.
Fighting is not strictly a male behavior, but males do seem to receive the most attention for getting into scrapes with other toms they encounter. This is mainly due to a desire to defend or gain territory, but breeding behavior also drives males to spar with each other. Sometimes these fights are more about posturing, but on many occasions these boys will do some significant damage to each other.
Keep your cat at home or have him fixed if fighting is becoming an issue.
Male Cat Behavior Toward Kittens
Cats are hunters and this behavior is almost impossible to eliminate. Young kittens can draw a tom's interest, and that initial curiosity often brings hunting instincts to the surface. After a few moments, that squirming little kitten begins to look remarkably similar to other prey animals like mice and chipmunks.
Some male cats are willing to tolerate kittens they sense to be their own offspring, but most attempt to kill or drive off kittens that belong to another tom. However, his tolerance is usually limited to the next time the queen comes into heat. At this point, the tom wants those kittens out of the way so he can breed the female again.
Always separate a female cat and her kittens from the male whenever possible to prevent undesirable outcomes.
Male Cats as Pets
There are exceptions to every rule, and some males actually make quite carefree pets, but some of their actions have earned male cats a bit of a bad rap in the pet department. Take a closer look at a few of the most problematic behaviors you're likely to encounter with this gender before adopting and decide whether or not this is something you can tolerate. Otherwise, consider neutering your pet to help curb some of these behaviors.