Ask A Vet: Is Sex Just Sex with Pets?


Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on Dr. Jeannine Berger, DVM, DACVB is a board certified veterinary behaviorist who counsels guardians whose pets’ issues are beyond the scope of training. Think of her as a pet shrink…at your service. Ask your own questions in the comments!

Q: We adopted Max about 3 years ago. He is the only cat in the house.  In November, we adopted a puppy.  About that same time Max started a new behavior where he kneads on me when sitting in my lap and then starts humping me. On one occasion he was on my lap and kneading and when I tried to get up he bit me in the face. What is going on?

A: Kneading, mounting, humping are normal comfort behaviors. If you don’t believe me, refer to the Love + Sex section of The sexual arousal has nothing to do with dominance or possession and likely has nothing to do with the new pup. The biting occurs because he is too aroused. Even with cats, sometimes, sex is just sex.

Is he neutered? Let me recommend you consider bringing Max into our Spay Neuter Clinic, tout de suite! When Max jumps into your lap, redirect to different behaviors such as interactive play with a wand toy or a laser pointer. You will have to engage differently with Max if you no longer want to be his paramour. You can teach him commands such as sit and stay. Try using a clicker–because he is food motivated, this will be easy.

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