Masturbation and humping is something usually attributed to canines. Most people don’t know do cats masturbate and whether this is a normal process or not. Sometimes, you might catch your male cat unmistakably moving his hips, rubbing himself on some object. Oftentimes, this object can even be your lap.
While some people get creeped out by this, self-pleasuring is quite normal for most animal species. In this article we’ll let you know do cats masturbate and if and when this is a sign of concern.
Do Cats Masturbate
If you’re here wondering do cats masturbate, it’s time to solve the mystery: Yes, they do. While this isn’t as common and as noticeable behavior as in dogs, all cats can masturbate. Whether you have an intact or neutered male or an intact or spayed female, they all indulge in this behavior. However, it is most common in intact males.
The reason why they do it is similar to humans. They have derived pleasure from it in the past, so they continued doing it. Most cats will do this less and less as they mature, and some might stop doing it entirely.
If you have a neutered male that keeps doing this even after he’s fixed, don’t panic. Chances are you didn’t know do cats masturbate when neutered. It can take up to several months until testosterone levels drop and cats stop feeling this urge.
While neutering does remove the main source of hormone production, it doesn’t mean the male is immediately without testosterone. It takes time for it to disappear. As the testosterone levels decrease, so should the levels of masturbation.
If masturbation continues months after neutering, don’t panic. Some cats will simply keep with this behavior, and there is nothing wrong with it. However, take notice that, on these occasions, cats masturbate out of habit and not out of hormones. If the masturbation becomes too frequent, you should ensure your cat doesn’t have some compulsive behavior issues.
Some signs that your cat is masturbating – or intending to masturbate – include:
- Humping things
- Licking themselves too much
- Grooming their genitals
- Rubbing their genitals onto objects, such as blankets
- Excessive kneading
Is Cat Masturbation a Sign of Hypersexual Behavior?
All male cats and even some females display some degree of sexual behaviors. This includes seeking, drooling ,and mounting female cats in heat. However, sometimes male cats can display hypersexual behaviors that aren’t appropriate by any standards. They’ll try masturbating by mounting other male cats, kittens, inanimate objects, or even your leg.
This is similar to what dogs do, so you’ll probably recognize the behavior easily. Hypersexual males might even hump the same animal several times, or dig their claws in during this. They’ll masturbate more often than they should, and they’ll do this aggressively. However, these behaviors can also indicate that something is medically wrong.
Up until recently, science never researched cat masturbation and hypersexuality. In fact, it was considered that the sole reason behind this behavior is brain damage. Luckily, in recent years, it was proven this is not the case.
We’ll explain some causes of cat hypersexuality, and what you can do to help your felines.
Hypersexual cat behavior varies depending on the situation and its degree. For example, mounting can simply be a sign of dominance, especially if another cat infiltrated his territory. Kittens might mount other kittens, as well, as they think of this as a play. Some kittens might even masturbate on a blanket because this feels good, and it’s fun.
However, excessive masturbation and mounting are typically caused by under socialization or environmental deprivation. For example, an intact male cat who isn’t near female cats in heat might act on his sexual desires inappropriately. Also, this behavior is common if you isolate young male cats from other felines early on.
Cats can get stressed out, just like we do. They can feel bothered for many reasons, such as:
- New environment
- Something frightened them (like cat carrier)
- Pain or discomfort
When cats are stressed out, they’ll try to find a way to get relief. One of those ways is indulging in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and masturbation can be one of them. If your cat is frequently masturbating, several times a day, this might be a signal for concern. Something might be stressing your cat so much that he tries to find relief more often than he should.
Try finding out if something changed in your cat’s environment that might be causing an issue. Be there for your cat, soothe him and dedicate some time to him. Keep in mind that compulsive behavior can be a sign of some more severe neurological damage. It is essential to contact your vet whenever you notice your pet behaving strangely.
The last thing that might cause your cat’s hypersexuality is some underlying health issue. For example, many brain tumors can make your cat behave in a hypersexual way. Cats with brain damage will also please themselves more often than most. So, do cats masturbate only when there is some medical concern in question? No, but a huge amount of any behavior can be a reason for concern.
If you go to your vet because your cat masturbates too much, expect to answer a lot of questions. Your vet will also take many preliminary tests to rule out any simple causes behind your cat’s behavior. In the end, they might even order a scan.
All of the expenses can pile up, so you should be prepared for that. You might be required to get your feline on some drugs, or even to place him on hormone therapy. Still, none of this can fix the root of the problem. Sometimes, compulsive behaviors have indeed started of some biological issue, but the behaviors themselves depend on the social situation. This is why it’s extremely hard to find out why is your cat masturbating too much.
Hypersexual behaviors vary depending on what’s causing them. For example, one 1979 study determined that Amygdaloid lesions cause cats to mount more inappropriate partners. The amount of masturbation overall will stay the same.
It is as if cats with this tumor forget what they should hump. Also, a synthetic amino acid, p-chlorophenylanine, can cause cats to develop hypersexual behavior.
What to Do if Your Cat Masturbates too Much
While a cat’s self-love might make you uncomfortable, you should let your furry friend be. He’s just a cat, and you can never impart society’s morals onto him. A cat will never understand why it isn’t okay to masturbate, no matter if they are alone or in your company.
Of course, this is as long as the behavior doesn’t become too frequent. Once it does, you should try to prevent it.
Overgrooming can cause inflammation or irritations, and this can hurt your cat. Below are a few things you can do to try to unlearn your cat from this annoying behavior.
Don’t try to have a strong reaction when you catch your cat in the act. They might understand this as a sign of attention, causing them to masturbate even more. It’s very important not to make your cat feel like he’ll get something more than pleasure from masturbation.
In fact, this is one of the mistakes that might cause your cat to develop compulsive behaviors. This is why you don’t want to give unnecessary attention to your cat. Don’t turn an occasional habit into a nasty compulsion.
If your male cat is still intact, this is a good time to consider neutering him.
Testosterone is the cause of sexual behavior in all male animals, and cats are no different. If your cat masturbates too much, you should neuter him. Neutering also has many other benefits, such as:
- Controlling the population
- Your cat is less likely to run away
- Reducing the risk of testicular cancer
- Your neutered male cat might behave better
- Reducing aggression
As we’ve already mentioned, by neutering your male cats, you’ll eliminate the main source of the production of testosterone. Without testosterone, your male cats won’t have as strong sexual urges.
This is a great option if your cat simply has too many hormones that are causing him to behave in such a way. However, it won’t solve excessive masturbation if it was caused by stress or some medical condition.
Contact a Behavioral Therapist
A behavioral therapist might find out why your cat is masturbating so much. They might be able to notice some situation that is stressing him out, or if he wants to prove dominance. Once they have found out the reason behind such behavior, they will let you know in which direction you should go. Maybe you’ll have to change the position of things in your home, or you’ll have to make your cat exercise more.
Sometimes all it takes is for him to take out that excess energy by playing or running around. Also, a behavioral therapist might be able to correct your cat’s ‘wrongdoings’ much faster than you could. They have trained for their job, so they know what they’re doing.
Take Your Cat to the Vet
As we’ve established, sometimes the cause of this behavior might be some medical condition. If this is the case, no one can help you but a veterinarian. In fact, we would suggest you go to your vet first if you notice some strange actions from your cat.
Vets know do cats masturbate because of some health issue, or if this is just a bad behavior they have. Many brain tumors can cause cats to masturbate.
Some UTIs can cause a cat’s genitalia to itch or burn, and masturbation is a way of relief. The vet will be able to find out what the problem is and to give you adequate therapy. Most health conditions are treatable if you deal with them on time. It is crucial not to wait and to see a professional as fast as possible.
While people perceive cats as clean animals, they sometimes do behave grossly. Most owners don’t even know do cats masturbate, and how to notice that behavior. Sadly for most owners, cats love doing this on your lap. They might even leave you with a wet stain!
Still, you should know that masturbation on its own isn’t a bad or harmful thing. Cats have sexual urges, especially if they are intact. It isn’t common for neutered or spayed cats to masturbate, too, although they do this out of habit.
However, if your cat starts masturbating obsessively, this should concern you. Any behavioral change is a bad sign, and your cat might be stressed out. Not to mention that many health conditions can cause this kind of behavior! Consult your vet if you think this behavior is unusual for your kitty.