All cat owners are well aware of the heat phenomenon in female cats. This is the period when a female cat is letting males in her vicinity know she’s ready for mating, and when she displays some specific behaviors.
On average, female cats can be in heat for about seven days, and this cycle may repeat every two to three weeks if they do not become pregnant or undergo spaying.
But, how long do male cats stay in heat? You might not have even heard of male cats going into heat, because, naturally, they actually don’t experience this like their female counterparts.
However, intact males can display symptoms similar to being in heat. Let’s explore how long this can last and how to recognize it.
How Long Can A Male Cat Be In Heat?
According to PetMD, male cats typically reach sexual maturity around the age of 4 months, after which they are capable of impregnating females.
But, can male cats go into heat, too? Not actually, at least not in the same way this is seen in female cats.
Still, many people will also use the term “in heat” to describe certain behaviors in male cats that they start to show after becoming sexually mature.
The duration of these behaviors isn’t the same for all cats – some might display them for a couple of hours, while for some this will last even for a couple of days!
Although the duration of sexual arousal isn’t the same for all male cats, there are some specific signs you’ll recognize it in your cat.
Signs Of Heat In Male Cats
If you’re a new cat parent, it’s important you learn the most common signs of your cat going into heat, since this can make him wander around and even get hurt. Let’s look at them.
1. Spraying Behavior
All cats might show spraying behavior, but this is most commonly seen in intact males. As the Healthy Pet Club explains, this happens when a cat stands with his tail erect, and the rear end elevated, twitches the tail, and then sprays a small jet of urine.
Spraying is one of the most certain signs of a male cat in heat. This is an undesirable behavior in your pet, and is one of the reasons to neuter him.
Neutering means your cat won’t be able to mate anymore, and will stop showing some destructive behaviors – spraying included.
2. Escaping From Home
You want to keep your cat completely safe and protected, but it seems that he has a good reason to run away from home, despite having everything he needs in your place. This most probably indicates heat in your male cat.
Helene Ane Jensen and her associates  found that intact male cats spend significantly more time away from home than neutered cats, and also have larger home ranges.
Your male cat in heat wants to detect females in his area to mate with. If he doesn’t find any potential mates nearby, he might venture further away from your home in search of them.
This is a cat’s natural instinct, which can, unfortunately, lead to injuries, or accidents while your male cat is alone in the outside world.
3. Fighting With Other Males
Your male cat in heat may not just run away from home but could also engage in fights with other males in pursuit of mating opportunities.
Male cats in heat become more aggressive and want to compete with other cats to get their mate.
This also puts your cat in danger, and this is another reason why you might want to consider neutering, since, once again, this is the most effective way to keep your cat out of a fight with other males.
4. Loud Vocalization
An additional sign that will help you’ll recognize your cat is in heat is loud yowling.
Male cats do this to attract nearby females to mate. Females in heat will usually respond to this calling, which will cause your male to become even louder and more persistent!
This vocalization will be different from a normal cat’s meowing – it will be very loud and it might even sound like the cat’s in pain.
How To Help A Male Cat In Heat?
Loud vocalization, running away from home, and getting into fights with other cats isn’t something a cat owner would like to deal with.
Luckily, there are ways to help your male cat in heat, such as keeping him indoors, to prevent him getting hurt or lost outside.
Furthermore, it’s essential to provide your cat with enough physical and mental stimulation, to distract him from unwanted behaviors.
Still, the only way to be certain your cat will stop showing signs of heat is by neutering him.
Why Neuter A Cat?
Neutering is a standard procedure nowadays, and cats are expected to fully recover within 7 days.
Most cats become very active soon after neutering, so, you don’t have to worry whether this surgery will have consequences on your cat’s activity levels.
According to the VCA Animal Hospitals, there are many benefits of neutering a cat, such as:
• Population control: Your male cat can impregnate many females, so, by neutering him, you’ll be contributing to the cat population control.
• Spraying behavior is eliminated or at least reduced by neutering in around 85% of cats.
• Neutered cats are less likely to show aggressive behavior, roam from home, and compete with other males.
• Neutered males cannot develop testicular cancer, and the risk of prostate problems is also reduced in them.
Therefore, neutering is advisable for cats, even if you have already noticed symptoms of heat in your pet.
This procedure is usually done when a cat is five to six months old, but, if he’s healthy, neutering is possible at any point in his life.
Male cats don’t go into heat naturally like their female counterparts, but they can show some typical heat symptoms, such as loud vocalization, roaming away from home, and spraying behavior. This can last anywhere from a couple of hours to even a couple of days.
You can do your best to keep your male cat indoors and keep him occupied to distract him from his sexual urges, but, there’s no guarantee your cat won’t still manage to escape.
The only certain way to prevent your male cat from showing signs of heat is by neutering him. Don’t forget it’s never too late for this procedure, just as long as your cat is healthy.
For any additional information, your veterinarian will certainly have all the answers.
 Jensen HA, Meilby H, Nielsen SS, Sandøe P. Movement Patterns of Roaming Companion Cats in Denmark—A Study Based on GPS Tracking. Animals. 2022; 12(14):1748. DOI, Retrieved August 14, 2023.