Dr. Mark is a veterinarian with over 40 years of experience in the field. He works with dogs, cats, exotics, and livestock.
How Can I Get My Neutered Cat to Stop Mounting Me?
"My 4-year-old, fixed-since-a-kitten male cat has been biting my hand and mounting my arm in the hopes of mating with me...how do I stop this behavior? He seriously won't leave me alone." —Terrie
Why a Neutered Cat Humps
There are several reasons a neutered cat may suddenly start to hump or mount you. Below are the main ones (followed by tips on how to make it stop!).
The main reason that this problem develops is behavioral and can be caused by things like:
- stress (usually a new person or a new cat in the household)
- anxiety (loud noises like new construction next door)
- boredom (recent loss of a companion, for example)
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
However, it is important that you take your cat in for a physical exam before assuming that it is a behavioral problem. Some cats will display this behavior when they have a urinary infection.
I have even heard of rare cases when a tumor on the adrenal gland will produce testosterone and cause a cat to mount. (1) (When the cat has a tumor, there are physical changes that your vet will be able to see during the physical exam.)
How to Stop Your Cat From Mounting You
The best chance of helping your cat stop this behavior is:
- Take your cat to your local veterinarian for a physical exam.
- Have a urinalysis done to look for an infection.
- Provide a toy that mimics hunting. It is a good idea to look for several toys and change one every week since cats get bored. Put down the new toy and take away the old. Next time, take the newer toy; rotate them so that your cat is introduced to something new all the time.
- When the humping starts, take him off of your lap and leave the room.
- Provide a cat tree/scratching post if you do not already have one.
- If your cat is acting anxious or if there are changes in the household, a Feliway dispenser may make him feel less nervous. Feliway is a pheromone that has been shown to make anxious cats calmer.
- Make sure there is an extra litter box. If you have two cats, three litter boxes are recommended.
If there is no medical reason for his mounting behavior, be prepared to spend more time dealing with the behavioral aspects of this problem. If the biting is a serious problem, and not just play behavior, you can also talk to your local veterinarian about medications for behavior aggression.
What NOT to Do
Someone might tell you to spray your cat with a water bottle to stop this behavior. Do not do that. Cats do not respond to negative reinforcement, and you are much more likely to make him aggressive and cause him to start attacking you around the house.
(1) Reche Junior A, Ramos D, Ferreira M, da Silva LAG, Hirai Y, Horta PV. A case of behavioral changes in a castrated male cat due to a functional adrenocortical adenoma producing testosterone and androstenedione. JFMS Open Rep. 2021 Jan 12;7(1):2055116920981247. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7809526/
This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 Mark dos Anjos DVM