Dear Doctor: Sexual aggression in a neutered cat


Q. My 6-year-old boy Hawkeye was neutered when he was 6 or 7 months old, but he clearly likes to “make love” to soft fleece-like blankets. He grabs a little in his mouth, then ends up straddling the blanket, turning in a slow circle and humping away. My old gal Mitzie, who was also spayed a long time ago, just ignores him. What could cause him to engage in this behavior when he doesn’t have his “parts” anymore?

Dianne Nelson
Albany, Oregon

Dear Ms. Nelson,

A. Although neutering stops a male cat from impregnating a female, it does not make him an “it.” He is still a “him,” and he might continue to engage in some traditionally male behaviors, such as humping. Some neutered male cats, in fact, will try to mount and mate with a female cat in the home, even if she has been spayed. The fur can really fly when an uncooperative female is approached that way; it’s good that Hawkeye hasn’t tried to be forward with Mitzie.

A neutered cat may also engage in the male feline practice of spraying urine to mark his territory. An estimated 10 percent of neutered male cats display sexual types of behavior.

In other words, neutering doesn’t completely turn off the sexual lights. It just turns the dimmer switch way down.

If Hawkeye’s making love to a blanket is simply something you have observed and doesn’t bother you or Mitzie, don’t worry about it. He is just engaging in a little male “action.” In cases where that behavior is causing problems between cats in the household or urine spraying in unwanted places, a drug such as clomipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant) or fluoxetine (a serotonin reuptake inhibitor) can help attenuate the behavior.


  1. In this issue Page 5 #8, you write about Neutered Males trying to mount their Spayed sisters, our cats actually are brother and sister. Where do we purchase male pheromone to spray on sister’s rump? We showed this article to our Vet and she didn’t know of this male pheromone spray. For several months we have plugged in 2 Feliway Optimum devices in our combined kitchen/living room area but it still does not stop him trying to attack her sexually. Please help as the only way we can keep sister safe when they are both in the house and not on the screened in patio, is by putting her in our master bedroom and bathroom where we keep a litter box and food and water.


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