Researchers have investigated various species within the animal kingdom to gain a more in depth understanding of the existence of homosexual behavior within mammals.
We use the findings of these studies to determine, can cats be gay, lesbian or bisexual? And if so, what determines the sexual attraction between these same-sex interactions?
The Wiley Online Library found that homosexual behavior in mammals, including cats is widespread. Of 125 species, 63 male and 71 female species exhibited sexual behavior. Cats displaying sexual behavior are not considered gay. Instead, male mammals display dominance, whereas sexual behavior in females is a sign of a sexual condition i.e. in heat.
In this article, Katrina Stewardson explains the existence of homosexual behavior in the animal world, which mammals this occurs in, and how cat sexuality is different from human sexuality.
Table Of Contents
Can Cats Be Gay?
In order to determine if cats can be gay, it is important to review the study of same-sex behavior in animals to gain a great insight of homosexual behavior in mammals.
The Wiley Online Library analysed 125 different species, both wild and captive, and discovered multiple examples of homosexual behavior and female-male mounting in mammals soon after birth, for female and males.
They researched homosexual behavior and female-male mounting in mammals, and found that homosexual behavior was relatively common for both genders.
In fact, it was found that “Adult homosexual behaviour is widespread in male and female mammals (recorded in 63 and 71 species respectively), but common in few species”.
The study by Wiley Online library concluded that homosexual behavior in female mammals often correlated with a sexual condition, i.e. female mammals in heat would mount other females, or be mounted by other females.
The research also found that male homosexual behavior in mammals was more often linked with dominance, rather than a sexual orientation. This behavior occurred more in species with hierarchies e.g. goat and sheep tribes (source 1).
Same sex behavior in animals was further identified on the BBC’s website who documented that two gay penguins named Skipper and Ping, at Berlin Zoo, adopted and cared for an abandoned egg, in August 2019.
Ultimately, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that cats, including the Maine Coon cat breed have a distinct sexual orientation towards same-sex relations.
Cats ultimately do not have the same emotional or psychological experiences as humans when it comes to sexuality, therefore cannot be considered gay.
Whilst cats of the same sex may exhibit highly affectionate behaviors toward each other, in the cat world this does not indicate romantic attraction.
Homosexual Behavior In Animals
Homosexual behavior in animals, including cats, takes many forms, though is often considered anecdotal evidence.
Below are some examples of perceived homosexual tendencies in cats:
1. Same-Sex Mounting
Male-on-male mounting feline behavior is when a male cat climbs on top of another male cat, imitating a mating ritual. This is considered a homosexual behavior in animals.
Whilst this cat behavior may be a form of sexual expression for cats, many view it as nonsexual, dominating behavior.
An example of this cat behavior is shown on Maine Coon Central’s YouTube channel, in this video posted by Katrina Stewardson, where her male Maine Coon mounts his brother.
2. Play Fighting Or Wrestling
While cat’s playing and wrestling is practice for hunting and fighting off challengers in the real world, it can become sexually charged, leading to mounting and other sexual behaviors.
Here is a YouTube video posted by Maine Coon Central which shows two male Maine Coon cats play fighting:
Same-sex mutual grooming, licking fur, and exchanging scents are feline behaviors that may point toward a sexual preference or attraction in the minds of pet owners.
Sexual interactions like this are displays of social bonding between cats.
It also signifies care and affection between cats, though does not definitively indicate animal homosexuality, nor romantic feelings.
In this Youtube Video on Maine Coon Central, Katrina Stewardson shows her senior male Maine Coon cat licking one of the younger male Maine Coon cats that she adopted a few months prior:
Studies Of Same Sex Behavior In Animals
Various studies of same-sex behavior in animals have been conducted on several species, including:
- Domestic animals e.g. cats and dogs
The goal of these studies is to understand the frequency and nature of homosexual behavior in various species.
University Of California (2003)
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, published a 2003 study in the “Animal Behaviour” scientific journal.
A survey group of cat owners reported that mounting was the most common same-sex behavior among their cats.
The study found that both male and female domesticated cats were capable of homosexual behavior.
University Of London (2005)
In 2005, researchers at the University of London explored homosexual behavior in cats and published their findings in the “Animal Behaviour” journal.
They found that male cats were more likely to exhibit same-sex behavior patterns than female cats.
Further, they discovered that neutered males were less likely to partake in homosexual engagements such as male-on-male mounting.
A neutered male cat might still hump another male cat though, here’s why.
Journal Of Feline Medicine And Surgery (2008)
Another study published in 2008 in the “Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery” found that testosterone was a huge indicator of sexuality in cats.
The level of hormones in cats significantly shapes their sexual nature and experiences, along with other factors such as:
The exact percentage of homosexuality in mammals is not known and is difficult to determine. because sexual orientation is a highly complex idea that is tough to quantify in animals.
However, some studies suggest same-sex behavior happens in a small percentage of mammals, typically less than 10%.
Keep in mind that homosexuality in animals can have different meanings and expressions compared to humans, who experience range of complex emotions that felines do not.
Are Neutered Cats Still Sexually Active?
Neutered cats raise another important question when it comes to sexual orientation and activity.
Since neutered male cats can no longer physically reproduce, why do they occasionally engage in mounting and humping?
These behaviors in neutered cats are likely indications of their excitement, nervousness, or frustration rather than sexual advances.
However, it is important to note that sexual instinct and desire do not completely cease after a male cat has been neutered.
Instead, cats often exhibit sexual behavior to some degree after this surgical procedure.
The degree to which cats maintain sexual activity post-neutering depends on their:
According to the website Pethelpful both neutered and unneutered male cats may mount other cats within their household, or their pet owners, as a display of their dominance.
Can Male Cats Mate With Male Cats?
Male cats cannot mate with other male cats in the traditional sense, since mating involves sperm transferring from a male to female feline, resulting in fertilization and possible pregnancy.
Male cats simply do not possess the reproductive anatomy necessary to receive fertilization from another male, to then achieve pregnancy.
But can male cats mate with other male cats in a different context?
In short, yes, because same-sex mating behavior in cats is possible. However, such behavior is typically a form of dominance or play rather than a means of reproduction.
Male cats may express their attraction to other male cats by engaging in sexual behaviors that mimic mating.
The subject of can cats be gay is as complex yet fascinating one.
Whilst various research papers confirm that many species, including cats, exhibit same-sex behaviors such as mounting, play-fighting, or grooming, this does not scientifically prove that cats are gay.
Displays of male on male sexual interactions, like mounting, are more likely a display of dominance rather than a sexual preference.