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?
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.