Few animals have the energy of a kitten. They indulge in physics experiments, endlessly knocking things over to see what happens. They scale walls and curtains and lacerate everything from scratching posts to furniture. It’s charming for the first few weeks, but as your male (or female) cat hits those troublesome teenage-type antics, pushing boundaries and testing the strength of their opinion against yours, you may ask, ‘At what age do male cats calm down?’ You aren’t the first cat owner to ask that question. Several factors affect the answer.
At What Age Do Male Cats Calm Down?
Assuming you neuter your cat, he usually calms down when he’s one or two years old. However, some cats are naturally energetic and won’t calm down until they achieve senior status. Even then, certain cat breeds may continue to be energetic.
That said, there are things you can do to help calm your cat down, ranging from integrating regular play sessions into your routine to letting your cat explore the garden.
Like everything worthwhile, no cat calms down overnight. So, be patient, and keep the breakables out of reach. Best of luck!
Your cat’s age significantly impacts its hyperactivity. Young kittens don’t have the musculature to get into too much trouble. When they do move, they stumble and wobble close to their mother.
However, between three and six months, kittens of all sexes develop hunting instincts. This is a throwback to their ancestral past as undomesticated animals because they needed those hunting instincts to compensate for their newly-weaned status.
This is when you see the majority of feline activity. Cats are acutely aware they are simultaneously predators and prey. To combat this, young male cats assert themselves as predators by presuming anything that can be prey is prey. This encompasses a fantastic range of objects, including:
- Cat toys
- Other cats
Over time, your male cat’s need to slaughter everything that moves dwindles. Typically, that happens around one or two years old, but that varies depending on your cat’s personality.
Another reason why male cats play up is to assert dominance. Sometimes this is over you; Other times, it’s over another cat.
Dominance behaviors include:
- Territory marking
If your household has several cats vying for dominance, it won’t matter what age they are. The chances of them calming down and democratically establishing a feline hierarchy are slim.
The other major factor that determines at what age male cats calm down is whether or not you decide to neuter them.
Many feline dominance behaviors can be curbed with neutering. In particular, territory marking and wandering behaviors dramatically decline after neutering a male cat.
The most obvious benefit of this veterinary excursion is a calmer cat. But other things also improve, like the smell of a male cat’s urine. The drop in testosterone male cats experience alters the chemical composition of their urine and makes it less pungent.
It also goes a long way to calming down a male cat.
There’s no hard and fast rule on when to neuter a tom cat, so there’s no definitive line in the sand indicating when male cats calm down. However, you usually neuter a male cat as early as four months.
So, it follows that a neutered male cat starts calming down from 16 weeks onward. But keep in mind that the drop in testosterone isn’t instant. No cat comes back from the vet thoroughly relaxed. It takes time for hormones built up in the body to decline.
Expect a neutered cat to begin exhibiting a less assertive personality several weeks after their vet visit.
Calming Male Cats Down
We already discussed neutering, but are there any other ways to calm a hyperactive cat?
There are several things you can do, but their success depends on the cat. Some cats, like the Siamese or Scottish Fold, are inherently athletic. It doesn’t matter what you do to these male cats; they will always be energetic.
But if you don’t want them knocking over your grandmother’s antique china on a whim, there are things you can do to ensure your cats burn off energy and calm down.
One of the primary reasons cats of any age refuse to calm down is boredom. They take the line that if you don’t play with them, they’ll make their own play.
However, rather than playing independently, cats prefer to indulge in destructive behavior to burn off energy.
If your male cat hasn’t reached his mellow senior years, instituting routine playtime can help curb this behavior.
Even ten minutes a day of play can be enough to discourage destructive behavior. Toys that engage your cat’s hunting instincts are ideal. Experiment with:
- Fishing rod toys
- Laser pointers
- Catnip mice/kongs
If you don’t have the time for daily play sessions, you can enrich a cat’s environment by teaching them to play with automated toys. These are ideal because, at their best, their behavior is unpredictable and makes your cat think.
Restrict Your Cat’s Territory
If you still struggle to calm your male cat down, you can try restricting its territory.
You do this by confining them to one or two rooms. The idea behind this technique is that there are fewer stimuli to distract your cat.
However, it’s not successful with all cats. Like dogs, cats remember traumas. A cat that suffers in confined spaces or doesn’t appreciate a shelter experience may respond negatively to this approach.
Look for signs of stress and change tacks as soon as you notice any. Cats express stress through:
- Inappropriate elimination
- Destructive chewing/clawing
- Increased vocalization
Consider Letting Your Cat Outdoors
This sounds contradictory to the previous section, and in a way, it is. But as discussed, not all cats do well in confined spaces.
If you’re still wondering at what age male cats calm down, letting your cat explore the garden might be the answer.
Not all states sanction outdoor cats, so you’ll want to consider that. But an outdoor cat doesn’t necessarily mean a cat that wanders away for hours and cultivates six different families like Six-Dinner Sid.
A compromise might be finding an appropriate harness and giving your cat some supervised outdoor play. In that scenario, they can’t wander, and they can’t catch birds. But they can burn off energy.