My Cat Bites and Humps My Arm
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When a cat keeps humping our arm, it is easy to assume it is behavior related to sexual reproduction. This is why so many cat guardians can be confused when their neutered cat mounts their arm. When they do so, they often bite and give bunny kicks with their back legs. While it is possible humping behavior is related to sexual maturity, it is not necessarily the case. For this reason, we need to look at the behaviors in the context of their health and well-being. This is especially linked with psychological well-being, but there may also be some physical health issues at play.
At AnimalWised, we discover the reasons why my cat bites and humps my arm. We help you to deal with this sometimes problematic behavior by explaining their possible reasons why cats carry out mounting behavior.
Stress or anxiety
When a cat is experiencing a period of acute stress or anxiety, their emotions can manifest in various ways. Although we may not be the underlying cause of this stress, the cat may become aggressive with us because we are their main point of reference. They may bite and hump our arm to show their frustration, doing it to us because we are the ones who normally provide for their well-being.
Unfortunately, we may often be the cause of a cat's stress, even if we are so indirectly. Cats are sensitive animals, with some even more so than others. Even subtle changes in their environment can cause them to experience stress. These could include renovating the home, changing their feed or going on holiday. Often these changes make the cat feel threatened,
Episodes of stress may be more frequent in cats which have experienced negative situations. Cats which are poorly socialized likely will not have the skills to respond appropriately in a given circumstance. Those that have experienced trauma in the past will often associate various stimuli with their traumatic experience. The specific nature of this experience is often difficult for us to understand.
The reason cats bite and hump our arm when stressed is often because they are looking for consolation. Since they do not know what to do to alleviate the situation, mounting our arm is a drastic way for them to let us know how they are feeling. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so it often happens when their feelings of anxiety are acute.
If they bite and hump us due to anxiety, we have to determine the reasons for our cat's stress and address them. Some causes are easier to understand than others. If you are having difficulty isolation the trigger, speak to a feline ethologist who can help assess the cat's specific circumstance and provide practical guidance tailored to their individual needs.
Generally speaking, we will need to ensure all of their practical care needs are being met, such as providing the correct diet and ensuring proper hygiene. We also need to provide them with peaceful places to rest, enrich their environment with toys and accessories, give them opportunity to exercise, and provide affection when needed.
Learn more practical tips with our guide on what to do when a cat is stressed.
Sexually intact cats
Although biting and humping our arm is not necessarily related to sexual behaviors in cats, we should not rule it out as a possibility. Cats which have not been spayed or neutered are sexually intact. They still have their sex organs which produce hormones and influence their behavior. For females, this means the cat will still enter her heat period. Males will be stimulated to copulate when they sense the pheromones of a cat in heat.
If we do not allow cats to mate, it can cause significant problems. With females, they will send out signals that they are receptive. This includes wailing, rubbing against objects and raising their rear. If a female cat is unable to mate, she might mount, hump and bite our arm as a way to relieve their sexual tension. This often occurs with sexually intact cats which are unable to access the outdoors.
Males may also bite and hump our arm when female cats are in heat. Male cats respond to the pheromones of females, but their hormones can influence behavior at any point. If they are sexually intact, but unable to mate, male cats will often mount other cats, various objects in the home or their guardian's arm. Our arm is of particular interest because it is warm, articulate and often about the size of a female cat.
The solution to unneutered cats humping our arm is to neuter them. If we do not allow them access to outside, their sexual drive can cause them serious stress and result in various harmful behaviors, not just mounting your arm. If we do allow them access to outside, it can lead to unwanted cat pregnancy. Neutering cats also has many health benefits such as greatly reducing the risk of breast cancer.
Territoriality or dominance
While neutered cats can exhibit dominant and marking behaviors, it is most common sexually intact male cats. When a female is in heat, any unneutered male which is close enough to receive her pheromones will likely try to mate with her. This can lead to conflicts with other male cats in an attempt to show dominance within their social hierarchy.
Marking is a way for cats to alert others to their presence. They can mark with urine which contains pheromones, but they can also secrete pheromones from various glands on their body. They may then rub against surfaces, objects or even their caregivers to deposit these pheromones.
When a cat humps and bites our arm, it may be an extreme way to deposit pheromones. Since we provide them with their needs, we are their point of reference and having us on side is very important within feline social hierarchies. This means the cat may mount us to feel more secure.
It is very important to know the cat is not trying to dominate us. They know we are not a feline and this dominant behavior is intraspecies specific. Cats will also display dominant behavior to other cats within their social hierarchy, but this hierarchy is variable. One cat may be more dominant at one time, but less so at another.
Sterilization in the form of spaying and neutering will often help reduce this mounting and humping behavior. If a neutered cat still humps, it is often because they were sterilized after they reached sexual maturity. In this way. humping is usually a learned behavior rather than a response to hormonal stimuli.
We will also need to ensure our cat is properly stimulated in their environment. We need to offer them sufficient positive interactions, ensure opportunity for exercise and be affectionate with them. This can help to reduce mounting behaviors in cats.
Incomplete neutering procedure
Although very unlikely, there are rare cases where the neutering procedure has not been carried out correctly. It is harder to occur in males, since castration is a very simple procedure. It requires the removal of the testes from the scrotum which sits external to the body. Although it is is a safe and routine procedure, spaying in cats requires an abdominal incision and is considered more invasive.
If there are any remnants of sex organs left in the cat's body after neutering, it is possible this will affect hormone production. In this case, the cat may be more likely to hump our arm due to the production of said hormones.
Another medical reason why a cat bites and humps your arm is cryptorchidism. This is the scientific term for an undescended testicle. If one or both of the testes have never descended, it means this sex organ will continue to produce testosterone and they may exhibit sexual behaviors such as mounting. It is relatively uncommon in cats and it will usually be treated during castration.
If we think our cat has cryptorchidism, we should take them to a veterinarian. They will perform the correct diagnostic imaging tests to see if any testicles are undescended. They can then castrate the cat which should prevent humping our arm.
To learn more about what to expect when neutering a cat, take a look at our extensive guide on price, side effects and other cat neutering considerations.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
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