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Why Is My Neutered Male Cat Humping and How Do I Stop it?

Updated on August 23, 2016
When a fixed male cat humps, it may be because they were neutered at an older age.
When a fixed male cat humps, it may be because they were neutered at an older age.

Henry the Humping Cat

I've had two male cats that were fixed and yet they continued to mount and hump. At first, it seemed funny, but then it became annoying.

My late cat Santapaws was a stray. He was a very gentle and mild-mannered cat. Santapaws didn't want to hump humans, his preference was stuffed animals or mounds of blankets and other comfy items. Usually I left him alone and just let him do his thing.

It wasn't until we adopted Henry that this activity really started to bother me. Henry is roughly three years old and about 15 lbs. He's a larger boy. I don't have dates or paperwork on when he was fixed, but I assume it was when he was just a little kitty. About four months after we we got Henry he starting trying to mount up. I was his favorite target! Henry is not by nature an alpha male. He gets skittish around new people and sounds. He is afraid of ceiling fans (when they are not even running). I've had "play dates" with him and other cats and he is not dominant at all. Neither was Santapaws.

I was not surprised by Henry's behavior. I am the primary cat caregiver, feeding him, clean his box, handling all his healthcare, bathing, and grooming. I am extremely affectionate with all my cats, spoiling and carrying them around like babies. In my mind, being in bed is not complete until you have a warm purring cat curled at your feet. I thought Henry was being affectionate and just getting carried away, but as the months went on I started to lose my patience. When I shooed him away he left scratch marks on my arms. It was humiliating when women came over to visit—Henry was always on the look out for his next victim!

Instead of having a nice, warm lap kitty, I had a maniac that wouldn't stop! He was climbing at me and mounting any limb he could get his paws on, every chance he could get. When I pulled away, or shooed him, he'd get upset and make mad mewing sounds and evil faces at me. Within minutes he'd be back to try it again! He followed me from chair to couch. At night when I tried to sleep, he'd go after my feet. Something had to change!

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Santapaws, Our First Humper

Why Do Male Cats Do This?

Male cats hump for many reasons. It is typically not a sexual behavior, although it can be. Some things to know about cat humping and what can cause it:

  • Having a kitty "fixed" at an older age can cause this behavior.
  • It's normal and natural for a male cat to enjoy the sexual pleasure he may experience from this activity.
  • Some cats that hump are insecure or need extra affection.
  • Trauma can cause humping.
  • If your cat is bored, frustrated, or feeling too confined.
  • Surgery.
  • Changes in the household, such as new members (pets or humans).
  • Some cats hump to be more "alpha" or dominant.

Henry When He Didn't Get His Way

I used to get real cranky when I couldn't get my hump on!
I used to get real cranky when I couldn't get my hump on!

The Warning Signs

He may exhibit these signs when he's fueling up for his hump-fest:

  • Watch his pupils. If they begin to dilate, he is likely getting ready to hump you. Put him on the floor immediately when you see this signal and ignore him.
  • Watch out if he becomes overly affectionate! Sometimes this sign means he's getting all turned on, much like a human would.
  • If you are petting him and he begins to mew and purr and knead very excitedly and aggressively, he may be getting ready to go. Stop the affection and place him on the floor.

What Can I Do to Stop the Humping?

My problem with Henry has not been solved 100%, but with the solutions below, he has reduced this behavior by 90%. I'm still working on the other 10%.

  • Never ever hit or abuse a kitty that does this (actually, never hit or abuse a kitty ever!) They don't learn from abuse.
  • Positive reinforcement is key. When your cat begins this behavior, remove him from the situation. This can be as simple as picking him up, hugging and kissing him, and kindly but firmly telling him "No!" Then set him down.
  • Every time your cat comes back to begin his activity, repeat the suggestion above.
  • Grooming your cat is also another thing that helps. It gives them attention they may be craving and provides bonding for you both. It's also good for the kitty.
  • Play is therapy. When the cat starts the nonsense, play with him and his favorite toys. Have him run around the house to burn off that abundance of physical energy
  • When he stops the behavior, reward him by saying "Good boy!" Give him a favorite treat. Don't go over-board on this one like I did, Henry gained some unwanted weight!

The most important thing is to be patient as you try these suggestions. I actually suggest using them all in appropriate settings. If repetition does not modify your cats behavior, you may want to consider having him seen by a vet to rule out any medical causes or issues. As an absolute last resort, a vet can also offer anti-depressant medications.

With patience and perseverance, you should have the nice snugly kitty you desire in a month or so.

Lazy cat

Henry is for the most part, a good lazy boy now.
Henry is for the most part, a good lazy boy now.

There Is Hope!

Instead of being humped by my cat, he now gently makes biscuits (kneads) on my belly or limbs. Occasionally I have to remind him that I, as well as other female humans, are not his girlfriend. For the most part, he is a gentleman. I am confident that if I keep up my regimen of "no humping rules" I will only see improvement.

I adore cats, and dealing with this issue is a price I'm willing to pay for the love and companionship felines offer. Other than Henry begging like a dog during dinnertime, and humping if I don't remind him not too, he has been a perfect fit for our household and family.

Another bonus is that most cats grow out of this behavior as they age. So even if you can't eliminate this behavior entirely, find relief in the fact that eventually age and nature will run its course and and your kitty will mellow out!

© 2013 Rebecca

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      Kay 2 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for the advice! I didn't know what I was going to do about this problem. He only humps his favorite blanket, no people or cats. My cat is still young & has been neutered for about 5 mos. It actually got worse after the surgery. At least now I have some ideas to use with him.

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      Hailey 2 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for posting this! Really helpful!

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      Maddmaxxs 2 months ago

      I have a male neutered cat that used to hump my large soft toy, but since I removed it, he stopped. I just acquired a new kitty bed for him, which is 'dressing gown fluffy' inside. Well, he has to hump it every time he gets into it. I think he's gonna have to go without. I know its a natural urge, but eeeew! Not on my bed, next to my head when I am trying to sleep!

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      Gloria. 4 months ago

      I have a male neutered cat who will be two in August. A few weeks ago I discovered him humping away on a certain throw blanket. He was neutered at 9 weeks old. It's only that blanket and when it's time to go to bed he runs into the bedroom for that throw blanket and goes at it for some time. I never had a neutered male cat that done this. He doesn't try to hump people or my other neutered male cat just that blanket. So, sorry to say the blanket disappeared and I'm waiting to see if he continues on something else.

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      Isabelle 5 months ago

      My cat started humping a couple months ago. I didn't realize what he was doing until last week! He'll be 3 this May. (He was rescued at 2 months I believe) It all started after I bought new bed sheets and a new blanket. Whenever I lay under my blanket, he'd hump my leg! At night when he wants to sleep with me I can't sleep with a blanket or else he'll hump it. And he'll hump for a loooong time. He's neutered too!

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      Lydia 6 months ago

      To Neekling, first, thanks so much for rescuing that poor precious baby!! In your case it sounds simple, your cat isn't neutered so he still has all the hormones and instincts. Get him neutered and it should at the very least, drastically reduce that behavior. It's fine to get them neutered when they're older, younger is just better. Just take him to a good place with kind people. We had to have a neighborhood feral cat who is older for a feral cat, neutered and released. He's about 12 or 13 and neighbors provide food and shelter, but we had to stop the the growing of the colony we all came together. We were a bit worried because he's had a tough life and is older for his situation, but it turned out great! He looks healthier and seems happier than ever. All the feral cat colony we take care of get along better, too. Whereas before, the males were territorial which could get tough when you're trying to provide shelter during the winter months.

      Oh and about the playing, as she states, do what's appropriate for the time. If it's 3am, set him down every time he jumps up. If it's day time, play then as he may just need attention. However, again, in your case it sounds like he just needs to be neutered which is an important thing to do anyway.

    • Bishop55 profile image
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      Rebecca 6 months ago from USA

      haha! Thanks for the comment! Poor lil old fella, 12 years going strong is good for an elderly cat.

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      Victoria Roberts 6 months ago

      I have 3 cats 2 male and 1 female, only one of my male cats has taken a liking to my leg and foot!

      Prior to him being nutered at 8 months he already displayed this behaviour but this has continued into his adult and now elderly life, he is now nearly 12 years old.

      I don't know if 8 months counts as a late nutering or not and I dont really have an issue when he is displaing his affecetion to innanimate objects, but im not particularly keen when I can feel his appendage on my leg or foot!

    • Bishop55 profile image
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      Rebecca 7 months ago from USA

      hahaha i think so many of them do it to self comfort. Considering we've domesticated them and taken away one of their most natural instincts (mating), I don't really have a problem with my boys humping either. Thanks for the comment.

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      Beachgrammy 7 months ago

      My 17 year old (neutered 15) cat has just started humping me or my husband. Isn't this strange? When we realize he's not just trying to get comfy we put him on the floor.

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      Neekling 9 months ago

      You suggested playing with him, or giving him affection. I have 2 problems with those recommendations. First, I don't even play with my husband at 3:00 a.m. I'm usually elbowing him to stop snoring, for the love of God, so I, too, can get some much needed sleep. Next, I am not about to play with a cat, who is all revved up and ready to go, especially when his balls are bigger than my husband's. But, I was wondering, you stated that getting them fixed at a young age would assist in eliminating the "humping problem". What constitutes a "young age", and is it, "the younger the better, or is it still possible after he has reached his sexual maturity?

      We found him, by himself, last year, in an abandoned yard next to our house, in the middle of November, during a cold rain storm. He was only 6-8 weeks old at that time, the yard has absolutely nothing in it, so he had no shelter, and was crying, trying to find a place to hide, and was crawling under a dead root of a weed? it was only about 4" tall. no leaves, no branches, no trees, or other shrubbery of any kind. This lil man was left to the elements so I adopted him with the hopes of finding him a loving home, but then realized it was a difficult task and to be sure he was in a loving home, WE KEPT HIM!!! :)

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      auspiciousbunny 9 months ago

      For 15 years I had a female cat. When she passed I adopted this big orange male cat from a shelter. He is two, and usually very sweet-tempered. But I think he was fixed as an adult. He really likes to mate with his cat bed. So far he has only tried it on cat beds. He starts kneading and pushing on the bed and gets his little kitty thing on. It is kind of untoward. Usually 10-15 minutes of this and then he takes a nap. It has been going on several times a day. He seems to have developed this habit since I bought this cat bed (he is clearly attracted to) and then I got a new job that takes me out of the house several long days per week. I think this is how he calms himself and entertains himself when I am not home. If I give him attention, like petting him or combing him, he will stop this behavior for a while. But he goes back to it a few times everyday. I finally gave up and let him mate with his bed. I hope this will not cause him any health issues. He seems perfectly healthy, just lacking in manners.

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      bratcat87 11 months ago

      Okay, I typed in about male cats starting to jump female cats even thou they were neutered. Story is Madd Maxx was fixed when he was 4 months old. Doctor advised that age for boys. He will be 6 years old on August 30. Maxx is a crazy little boy and we had 8 rescued lady cats ranging from 2 to 18 years. We NEVER had a problem with Maxx trying to mate with any of our girls until he was introduced to an un-spayed female. Problem is we recently rescued a homeless, pregnant cat about a year old. Maxx started right away to make "google" eyes at her and she would reward him everytime with a hard slap in the face. Things were fine, but sadly she miscarried (not because of Maxx). We named her Holly. Well, like I said earlier, we never had a problem with Maxx until we introduced a sexually intact girl to our houshold. He never "humps" anything but our spayed lady cats, but they are getting mad and he is getting beat up. They may be girls, but they are all bigger than he is. I know that him being introduced to a pretty young pregnant girl that is now sharing his house might have triggered something in him, but I want to know if there is something safe to give him to calm down those urges? He has never tried to "hump" anything other than a female cat. Please help me if anyone has any info to share.

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      Kaori Otani 11 months ago

      I have humping problem with new kitten Fi,about 3mo.old male.

      I welcomed new kitten only 4 days after my old cat passed away,So he might be insecure,smelling another cat.(I had to change all my futons(I'm in Japan)cause Fi pees on them)

      Or,he is just having fun with newfound feeling.Even he's itty-bitty,It's annoying.

      I can't fix him of course his body has to grow up more,So I'm stuck at this moment...I'm trying to distract him (high-energy kitten)most of the time.

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      Emily 12 months ago

      Thank you for this article! I have 2 male cats, both neutered, and they both like to climb on my lap and do this twitching thing with their back paws. Sometimes after one is done he'll try and "mount" the other. I'll have to remember your tips next time this happens.

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      dobbinsthehorse 14 months ago

      Our neutered cat socks does the biting of my leg and humping but then has full on erection and sits there with his legs open to have a good clean. It is very embarrasing and even more so when a guest came to stay and was subject to his behaviour.

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      Linda 14 months ago

      Thanks everyone. I adopted a 4 year old silver tabby a couple weeks ago and he does this with the blankets. I guess its a "tom cat" thing. Maybe dominance. He started doing it a week after I got him one night after I climbed into bed to go to sleep. I have just been semi-gently pushing him off the bed with a pillow. (just incase he attacks, it will be the pillow and not me)

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      Treksta820 14 months ago

      My Wife & I adopted a 10 year old male kitty named Whiskey a few months ago. He seemed to have settled in just fine and we all bonded just fine. Then a couple weeks ago, Whiskey started humping my leg when I try to lay down for bed; or Sometimes I stay up late, then fall asleep on the couch, then Whiskey will wake me up by humping my leg.

      I'm not sure when Whiskey was Neutered, but it must have been later in his life. I'm trying to find a way to gently train him away from this behavior. His nickname is "Friskey Whiskey", and My Wife thinks it's funny. I'm hoping I can find out how to help My Cat not be so Friskey with Me, so we can have a somewhat normal family.

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      PrimaByNature 16 months ago

      I'v had animals spray my car door. I thought it was human spit but no, my car has an awful "primal" scent and now, sense i adopted a cat, so does my apartment. At nine months of age my cat began spraying and humping. I thought something was wrong with it because most of the male cats i have had in the past didn't project this type of primal feline behavior, atlas not at me. I guess they might of been outdoor/indoor animals and I didn't take notice but the spray scent is all the same. Thanks to reading the comments here, i am less worried about my cats issues being a medical concern.

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      Mj 2 years ago

      This has nothing to do with age. At least bit for my little guy. My male cat is 12 years old and started humping after we got him fixed at two years. It's pretty extreme... Every time I sit on the couch or lie in bed. He's all over my arm. I will usually hide both arms under the blankets close to me so he can't find them. Only then can I finally get to some sleep.

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      Spike 2 years ago

      My male cat started humping me when he was I fixed, at first (I am a little slow) I thought he was just trying to get comfortable and he would do this for like 30 mins, finally it hit me one day when he was on my leg that it was a jumping motion... And I was mortified. He is fixed now but over the years it diminished. Every few weeks he still tries but I lift my leg and he stops. I feel he just needs to get off but I hate it's always my leg ;(

    • Bishop55 profile image
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      Rebecca 2 years ago from USA

      Calista! You're hilarious!

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      calista 2 years ago

      And i forgot to mention that since my foot is outside the sheets over my other leg, he just lays down on my foot. No more humping

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      calista 2 years ago

      My cat does this to me while my bf's gone.... I don't know if he's trying to steal me from my boyfriend(his original owner) or if he thinks my leg is a lady cat when my leg's under the sheets . i noticed him doing this this week... I've just put my leg out ofbthe sheets and placed it over my other leg under the sheet, in the same position as when i was under the covers and he was humping me. I don't know if it's because of my female cat who's in heat... But he has no more balls. And he rather hump me than my female cat.... And i also remember that he bites my leg like he bites his brother when he sleeps under the sheets but his brother tells him to get off so i guess that's why it's the first time i see him doing that!

    • Bishop55 profile image
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      Rebecca 2 years ago from USA

      lol thanks for the comment Angryelf. Henry has still has not been completely fixed of his humping tendencies.

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      angryelf 2 years ago from Tennessee

      You know what's funny... i just had to do a google search for this one. My male cat is the same way. He STARTED humping things (including his sister who wouldn't take any part in it) when they were about 3 months old. Got him fixed within two weeks, the behaviour almost ceased. Now i realize it hasn't. His sister i didn't get fixed until she was 9 mo old. I wanted to wait for both of them (him at 6 mo, because i wanted that massive tomcat head on him). Ocassionally he still tries to hump his sister!!! I've had to shove him off of her several times, especially when he hurts her nape. She thinks its just play lol she has no idea.

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      Zach 3 years ago

      I was just the victim of a rape by my cat, Larry. I feel so dirty. What a horrifying experience.

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