I’ve always been intrigued by cats. They have a complex and intriguing way of communicating with each other. My cat’s body language paints a thousand words and tells me what he is feeling or trying to say even though I don’t speak cat language.
But what about when it comes to the language of love?
Cats tend to be more indirect and subtle with their intentions. Do they go engage in a flirtatious dance when love is in the air?
Although the action of flirting might not be in a cat’s dictionary, both male cats and female cats exhibit certain behaviors to convey their interests to the other party. Cats communicate using a series of vocalizations and body gestures which can be subtle or direct in nature.
In this post, we’ll explore some cat flirting behaviors that may differ depending on whether they are in heat or not.
Cat Communication 101
Before we dive into the world of cat romance, it would be good to have some understanding of the various methods of feline communication.
Here are the most common ways cats talk to each other.
Let’s put it this way.
There are some cats that are as quiet as a church mouse and there are some cats that just won’t shut up.
My cat can be either one depending on his mood and his orders.
Many studies tend to claim that cats only meow at humans and not at other cats but that’s not entirely true.
I’ve seen and heard my community cats make a meow or trill sound when talking to other cats. Of course there’s the usual yowling and howling when a dispute arises.
But it is usually a contest of who has the bigger pair of lungs.
A female cat and her litter of kittens are always meowing at each other to convey comfort and signal distress.
As humans, we are able to make physical contact with the people that we like and care for. There isn’t exactly a cat equivalent of a hug but there’s something called bunting.
When two cats meet and are in a cordial mood, they will start to rub heads with each other. This action is called bunting and it’s a cat’s way of saying “Hey! You’re cool and I like you”.
Your feline friend will even do it to you by rubbing its head on yours or another common area is your feet because it is easy to reach.
Cats have a very powerful sense of smell which enables them to communicate with other cats through smell.
This ties in closely to bunting as that action allows the cat to rub its scent onto the other cat. Cats have scent glands located on various parts of their bodies like the face, paws and anus.
When one cat is licking another cat, it is leaving a scent reminder for itself that this is a friend and not foe.
This is why cats of the same litter can behave like complete strangers if they are apart for some time. The familiar smells are no longer present on each other.
Do Cats Actually Flirt?
I guess this is the million-dollar question that many academics have yet to answer. For one, it is hard to ascertain the true intentions of cats and two, cats are not known to use procreation as a form of recreation.
However, that doesn’t stop many cats from getting involved in a little harmless flirting when some attractive feline catches their eye.
Just to put my cards on the table, I’m not an animal scientist but I’ve owned and fostered enough cats to recognize feline flirting when it happens.
It can be rather interesting to see cats flirting with each other and the subtle dynamics at play.
When a female or male cat wants to flirt with another cat, they will both have their own set of behavioral patterns.
The female cat will meow or chirp at the male cat and arch her back in front of him. She might even roll on the floor and expose her belly to him as a sign of submission.
If the male cat is interested in flirting back, he will vocalize back in kind and engage in a lot of hunting plus butt-smelling.
This can go on for a while with both cats hanging out for some time before carrying on with their own day.
When I say flirting, I see it happen between a male and a female cat. Cats of the same gender tend to only engage in head bunting.
How Do You Know If Two Cats Are Bonded?
Cats are known to be solitary animals but it is also possible for them to form a bond with another cat or a group of cats.
Cats that are bonded tend to spend a lot of time with each other. These cats like to spend time sleeping, playing and grooming each other.
Bonded cats lick and rub themselves against each other very often to exchange scents.
If you have bonded cats and have plans to get a third cat, you need to make sure that they get all get along or you will have difficult days ahead.
Do Cats Flirt When They Are In Heat?
The above cat behavior can also be seen when cats are in heat. Female cats start to become sexually active around 4 months of age and are in heat from February to October.
Flirting during mating season is a lot more intense and more direct as compared to normal times.
Female cars are very vocal when in heat and you can sense an urgency in their voices. It usually starts off with some purring before crescendoing in a loud wail.
She will also rub herself aggressively all over the male cat and have her butt in their faces as often as possible.
In fact, when a male cat wants to mate, flirting isn’t really on its mind. The cat won’t have second thoughts about aggressively pinning a female cat down and trying to mate with her.
It does look more like ‘persuasive’ seduction than harmless flirting.
The main aim of cats during this time is to reproduce, reproduce and reproduce.
Can Cats Mate With Two Cats?
Cats don’t adhere to the motto of mating with one partner for life. A female cat can mate with as many male cats as she wants.
It is even possible for her litter of kittens to have different fathers. This explains why some kittens in the same litter can look so different from each other.
Why Is My Cat Flirting With Me?
Don’t be surprised that your cat’s flirtatious behavior transcends species. It is possible for a cat to also flirt with a human when it is in the mood or in heat.
That doesn’t mean that your cat wants to mate with you but I can possibly smell your estrogen or testosterone which makes your cat flirt in this manner.
Cats are known to know when their female owners are pregnant due to fluctuations in hormonal levels.
These cats will start to be more clingy when this happens.
Should I Be Worried About My Cat’s Flirting?
There’s nothing to worry about if your cat or cats are sterilized. A little harmless flirting between your cats won’t cause trouble.
But if your cat isn’t fixed and starts flirting with the aim to get pregnant, that is definitely bad.
An unwanted pregnancy also adds to the ever-growing cat population which leads to many homeless strays and overcrowded shelters.
Please get your cat fixed to not add to this problem.