Eeew! Why Does My Cat Masturbate?

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

My cats, Frisky and Carmen, are both neutered. According to the vet, they were neutered fairly young. They also have a habit of kneading, but not in the “making biscuits” way. They shake their butts and bite whatever they are kneading and they tend to get erections while doing this. We’ve asked our vet and other cat owners why they do this but no one seems to know. So I was wondering if you guys knew why they do this?

~ Ceilidh

My cat climbs onto me while I’m getting ready for bed or a nap and he’ll kneed his paws on my leg, which I don’t mind. It just gets weird when he starts jerking a lot from it. I’m very worried because, well, he’s neutered. We’ve had him for about a month now, and when I was reading the papers before we took him home, he was neutered a few days before we got him. Is this some testosterone left in his system if it’s … err … sexual? Or is he just being affectionate? I’ve never seen a cat’s erection, so I can’t look for one, either.

~ Cloudedspots

Siouxsie: Well, Ceilidh and Cloudedspots, don’t you worry; you’re totally not the only people with cats that masturbate. In fact, Thomas likes Mama’s fleece bathrobe just a little too much, if you know what I mean.

Thomas relaxing on the bed

Thomas and the fleece bathrobe: A love that dare not speak its name …

Thomas: Siouxsie! You’re embarrassing me! *blush*

Bella: You want me to chase her around and make her growl and hiss, Thomas? I’ll get her to stop making you feel bad!

Thomas: I don’t feel bad, Bella, especially now that I know I’m not the only kitty who likes to pleasure myself every once in a while.

Siouxsie: Masturbation is perfectly natural behavior. Every mammal on the planet does it.

Thomas: And yes, even neutered cats — both male and female — masturbate. That doesn’t mean the surgery was done wrong.

Bella: We don’t know why you humans get so uptight about masturbation. But Mama says we should try to understand that a lot of you think it’s just icky.

Siouxsie: As to why kitties masturbate … well, I guess I’ll let Thomas answer that. Tee hee hee!

Thomas: Jeez, it just feels good, that’s all. For some cats, it’s a way to relieve anxiety, too. If you don’t want your kitty humping your arm, just gently move him away and have him direct his attentions toward a more appropriate object.

Bella: It’s really not a problem unless your kitty starts doing it compulsively.

Siouxsie: Dr. Jeff Nichols talks about feline masturbation in this video. His basic point is that a cat that masturbates a lot may be suffering from environmental deprivation.

Thomas: In order to relieve this problem, make your home an exciting place for your cat. Get some nice, tall cat trees, window perches, and toys he can chase around. Do at least two interactive play sessions a day with a toy like Da Bird or Neko Flies, so he can get his ya-yas out by chasing toys and mimicking hunting behavior.

Bella: If anxiety and frustration are factors in your cat’s behavior, consider using feline pheromone plug-ins.

Siouxsie: If environmental enrichment and “happy cat” pheromones don’t resolve the issue, talk to your vet. Compulsive behavior of any kind — whether it’s grooming, eating or masturbating — can sometimes be resolved by a short course of anti-anxiety medication.

Thomas: Good luck, folks. And please, try not to get too skeeved out by behavior that’s really quite natural!

Bella: Please let us know how things turn out. We’d love to know if you’ve found a way to make the behavior less distressing to you. Purrs!

  • Mistletoe & Hitch

    Well we’re glad our Tiger isn’t the only one. He has one special blankie that he enjoys only when it’s folded over the back of the recliner. Since it’s an occasional interlude we’ll just let him take his time and enjoy himself, the way we always have. It’s good to know it’s not something to be worried about, especially since our HuMom has most ignored it…except to wash the blankie more often.

  • Jen

    My Alex does it too… although he’s just started doing it recently, i think he accidentally discovered the ‘happiness factor’ (lol) when he was kneading my arm/ belly … now he seems to do …’it’ a lot now….

    he kneads/ massages me for a while then his back end starts juddering (for want of a better expression) then he jumps off me and licks/ washes his little ‘bit’

    i must admit, i find it a little weird, him ‘pleasuring’ himself while sitting on my arm and kneading my belly (and boob!!!!)

  • AnitaB

    Wow, I have had several male cats over the years and never noticed this. My mother had a female cat years ago that we kept inside and wasn’t spayed and she would bother my dad and brother a lot, putting her butt up in the air and crying. My daughter, who was in a play pen at this time, would pat her baby bottle on Kitty’s back end and Kitty seemed to enjoy it. My dad would get so pestered by Kitty that he would shush her away saying “Leave me alone, I can’t do nothing for you!” We’d all laugh. Finally, she got sick inside and we ended up having her spayed at 11 years old (the surgery for her female problems and the spay cost us a total of 43 dollars back in 1980.) She lived to be 16.
    My friend rescued a small dog who was used as a breeder and although he’s been neutered now for 3 years he still masturbates. Guess it depends on the animal. They are so much like people.

  • Ceilidh

    Thank you Souxsie, Bella, and Thomas. Your response was very informative. I was just a bit worried. Actually I just talked to my mother, (they live at my mother’s house, and she is their main caretaker(but they are still my babies)), and she said “Duh. You didn’t know that?” Ooops, I guess someone did know! I still think that it was good of you all to answer since I know that others have that question too.

    On another note, I just want to say that you all are very cute cats (sorry, but not as cute as Carmen and Frisky). I just found this website and I read Dahlia’s autobiography. She seemed like a wonderful little being. I also liked how she said a few things about Bast. My parents were going to name me Bastet and they like to tease me that is why I love cats so much.

    Again, thank you all for taking the time out of your very busy schedules to answer my question. I hope you all have lives full of catnip, treats and as many sun puddles as possible.

  • Prince

    Hi there folks
    My little boy does it on me too… He was neutered very young too but since last year – around the age of 3 has picked up on masturbation.. He likes to stand on me while I slouch on the couch or am lying down and uses my belly for his kneading… Starts off gently massaging ( which I must say I enjoy too) and then ends up shuddering his back and kicking back with his back legs to finish.. Finally he gets off and washes his lil pinky clean by licking it up… There is no residue or squirting so I don’t really worry about him messing me or the bed up…

    As long as he does it once or twice a week, I am pretty cool with it and happy for him too :)

    I love my boy!

    • Rabi

      My male cat also started this to me… He did two times in this week … I’m so worry… Why he is doing this because he is neutered

  • M.mikey

    HI, Thanks a lot,it was a relief,my “Towtoon” he is only 4 months old,when he starts enjoying, it takes a long time, he keep doing it even after ejaculation, until, I take a way the cloud out of his mouth, then he starts cleaning himself.
    Is It, too young to start doing it.
    The best for you all

  • ryan

    Minehas done this since he discovered the other cat we have is a girl. He was a little under 8 months. Then we had him neutered. He does it every time he cuddles with me but only if I pet him to the excitement phase. Then he finishes all on his own or cleans up. He doesn’t hump any thing just kneeds and bites you when the petting feels good. I usually stop and move him away from me.