Female Cat Behavior

By Deborah Amar

Cats, like people, have different personalities and behaviors, but some behavioral traits are common among female cats. Their environments and interactions with others can have an influence on their behavior as well. Many of the common behavioral traits that female cats display relate to whether you spay cat and if other cats are in your home. Certain hormonal and seasonal influences can also impact your female cat's behavior, including spraying and marking.

Hormonal Changes

Your female cat might act more temperamental when she's in heat.

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A female cat seasonally comes in heat, or becomes sexually receptive, but she can breed at any time of the year. If you do not spay your cat, you will find she is more territorial and will mark or even spray to expand her territory when she is ready to mate. If your female cat lives indoors, you will notice that when in heat she becomes more adamant about going outside as a result of an urge to expand her dominion. Spaying eliminates this hormonal drive and usually eliminates her desire to spray.

Alpha Effect

Female cats can also be the alpha at meal time.

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Cats have a distinct pecking order that can involve which cat has first bite at meal time and which is responsible for jumping on the bed to remind you that it's meal time. If you live with only female cats, you'll notice that one female in particular will assert her dominance during meal time, making her the alpha female. It is uncommon for a female to be the alpha if a male cat is present within your home. While the alpha is generally the larger cat with a better fighting ability, a female cat with seniority and a special connection with you can still maintain the alpha status among other female cats.

Motherly Potentials

Cats sometimes adopt other litters of kittens.

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Your female cat may act toward kittens or even to you as an adoptive mother. She might view you as a poor hunter and bring you dead animals or even partially dead animals to teach you how to hunt. This motherly behavior can sometimes expand to other female cats and their kittens. It is not uncommon for a female cat to adopt another female's litter of kittens, but sometimes females can be hostile toward litters that are not their own. The motherly behavior is relative to the relationship between the females and the temperament of the cat.

Territory Size

A female cat's territory is generally much smaller than a male's.

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While male cats might have more of a reputation for being territorial, female cats also have distinct territories--even certain roosts or people might be the personal property of a specific cat. Female cats mark their territory by rubbing scent glands from their cheeks, chin, sides and tail against varying surfaces. Objects that smell like you will likely receive even more scent gland attention, such as your shoes, bed or any other places or objects that have your scent. Since females expand their territory when in heat, you will notice an increase in marking and rubbing when they are ready to mate.

Community Aspects

Cats can develop close relationships.

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You might notice subtle greetings between females that include a quick nose touch or cheek rub. These are very brief greetings that you can easily miss if not looking for them. While male cats also share these greetings with females, you might notice that females tend to bond together more often in a cat community. You can bond with your female cat by learning these subtle greetings and may discover that your cat is willing to greet and touch noses with you as well.