Cat suckling is a common, generally non-harmful cat behavior that occurs in all breeds and all ages of cats. When cat suckling behaviors occur in adult cats, though, it tends to gets more attention and can be viewed as abnormal.
Excessive suckling behavior has been linked to early weaning in a number of cases. The diseases that would be direct causes of adult cat suckling would be behavioral disorders.
Virtually every stress-related behavior in cats can be attributed to a lack of proper resources. Separate eating, elimination and sleeping areas are paramount to a cats sense of well-being. Keep blankets, sweaters or other articles of clothing out of their reach, and if the cat‘s desired object is a piece of furniture, isolate her from that room.
Boredom can be a part of the suckling, so it is a good idea to try playing, exercising, using puzzle toys or offering cat treats or small amounts of cat food to redirect the behavior and satisfy some of their other natural predation urges. Cat anxiety medication , such as buspirone (BuSpar) or gabapentin may work as well.
Is it okay for my cat to suckle blankets?
The instinct to suckle is very strong in young kittens, and they may try to suckle anything soft, warm and fuzzy, especially if it resembles a mother cat. This cat behavior can even last into adulthood, with a cat suckling on objects like a blanket, a fuzzy toy or a piece of clothing (often wool or a similar texture).
How do you stop a cat from nursing on blankets?
Remove the object of the suckling : sometimes just removing the blanket or toy will end the suckling, but, beware that this could cause too much trauma, so you may need to do it slowly over time. Sometimes you’re the one being suckled, so you will need to get up and remove yourself from the situation.
Why does my cat bite a blanket and knead it?
Cats often exhibit quirky behaviors that baffle their humans. … When a cat sucks or bites a blanket while kneading it, it means that your pet is mimicking the time he was suckling at the teat of his mom. For him, this behavior is an attempt to feel relaxed and comfortable.
Why does my cat suckle?
Basically, a cat or kitten will suckle as a sign of stress, compulsive behavior, or as way of expressing their contentment. When cats suckle, their eyes are usually closed and they are purring loudly—regardless of age. … While he is still a kitten, he continues to display cat suckling behavior as he grows.
Although not all cats have the urge to suck on soft fabrics, such as wool, it can become an obsession for others. Most commonly, this behavior develops in kittens that are removed from their mother too soon. It may also develop into a habit in mature cats that are feeling anxious or stressed out and turn to sucking wool for comfort.
It’s unknown how genetics are involved, except that Siamese kittens require more time before weaning than other breeds of cats. This can be done by trying multi-day feedings in food puzzle or scheduled interactive games like laser chasing, hide and seek or wand play which may divert its attention long enough for the impulse to pass.
Loads of love, patience, and creative trial and error may be required to help your cat either desist or cut back on its wool sucking. Keep in mind that if the behavior isn’t causing any harm, you may just need to put your cat‘s emotional comfort first and learn to accept it.
Have you ever had a cat who sucked on everything in sight? I never have, but in some ways I almost kind of wish I had. Theres something ridiculously cute about watching a cat kneading and sucking on blankets while purring his fool head off. Need proof? Check out the video below. Of course, if you live with a blanket or clothing sucker, Im sure its not nearly as cute to you. If youve suffered from kitty spit-soaked bedding or ruined sweaters, I totally get that youd probably trade your wool sucker for one of my feline family members. Youve probably also wondered, Why do cats suck on blankets? Well, wonder no more. Here are some of the most common answers to Why do cats suck on blankets?
One of the best things about having a cat is observing their behavior. It can be cute, it can be funny, but, sometimes, it is just a mystery. A common example of strange behavior is sucking on blankets. Whether you find this behavior cute or worrying, it is always a good idea to strive to understand it. In the worst case scenario, it can help you diagnose a serious medical issue, but at the very least you will get to know your cat a little better.
They often choose blankets, wool, and other fabrics because they mimic their mother fairly well due to its warmth and texture. However, there is a risk of pica if they swallow an excessive amount of thread from the blanket or other inedible items, which can cause stomach issues or vomiting.
Weve already discussed that kittens are most likely to suckle due to their weaning experience, but there are quite a few other reasons for cat blanket sucking that we should explore. An adult cat may suck blankets out of habit from when they were young, possibly because they were removed from their mother too early. As long as they are not digesting any of the fabric, and you dont mind them ruining your blanket, there is no harm in your cat sucking at it.
If your cat usually sucks blankets when they are happy, content or relaxing, such as chilling on your lap or while falling asleep, the behavior is probably not a problem, and is, in fact, a pleasure. Unfortunately, we still dont entirely understand how genetics may be affecting your cats urge to suck on blankets and other fabrics, but it is known that some breeds display this behavior more than others. This means that an adult cat who picks up the blanket sucking habit may be responding to stressors in their environment.
This may be something obvious and big, like moving house or being threatened by another pet in the household, but could also be something small that bothers your cat, like a loud air conditioning unit placed too close to their private, personal space. If you have adopted an adult cat that sucks blankets and shows signs of fearfulness, talk to a vet or behaviorist about how you can help soothe their anxieties. If your cat suddenly starts sucking on blankets, or their habit increases significantly, look for symptoms of other potential health concerns, such as wounds, bumps, lethargy, and limping.
If you suspect that they are sucking blankets because they are stressed or anxious, it is a good idea to focus on creating a comfortable, relaxing environment for your cat . Make sure they have their own personal space, hiding areas and perches, a reliable routine, and quality bonding time.
1. Natural Instinct
The instinct to suckle is very strong in young kittens, and they may try to suckle anything soft, warm and fuzzy, especially if it resembles a mother cat. This cat behavior can even last into adulthood, with a cat suckling on objects like a blanket, a fuzzy toy or a piece of clothing (often wool or a similar texture). You can think of it as being similar to human thumb-sucking, which, at least superficially, seems like a fair comparison.
If a kitten is very relaxed or comfortable, kneading behavior usually occurs—often followed by suckling behavior. Both are normal and seem to be relaxing for a cat, whether milk is present or not. This is evident in the post-weaning kitten behavior of suckling when no milk is present.
If a cat is stressed, she may exhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and that can include cat suckling. Other signs of stress include over-grooming behaviors, paw-sucking, tail-chewing or flank-licking.
Oriental breeds, such as Siamese, Balinese, Tonkinese and their crosses, seem to be more prone to adult cat suckling than European or North American breeds.
5. Weaning Experience
Excessive suckling behavior has been linked to early weaning in a number of cases.
What Should You Do About Cat Suckling?
Probably nothing. As it is a soothing, calming and instinctual response for the cat, indicating comfort and contentment, it is probably best to just accept cat suckling as a normal cat behavior.However, if it is causing excessive stress to the owner or is leading to ingestion of foreign material (pica) resulting in excessive vomiting or gastric upset, you should try to reduce or eliminate the behavior.
Why Do Cats Suck Wool?
Genetics may play a role. Wool sucking most often occurs in kittens who are taken from their mother before they’re fully weaned. Kittens should be kept with the mother cat at least until the age of 8 weeks and ideally until they’re about 12 weeks old. Although they should outgrow this behavior once they’re introduced to kitten food, many continue to try to suckle the mother cat for a few weeks longer.If you adopt a kitten that’s younger than 12 weeks, you become the surrogate mother. The mother’s nipple is no longer available, so the kitten may find other “nipples”—kneading while sucking your earlobe, for example. This would be a natural step in the kitten’s development.Wool or other similar fabrics can easily become a cat‘s second choice because of its soft warmth, which is also reminiscent of the mother cat. Some cats may try to suckle other cats or even their own fur, a habit comparable to that of a human child sucking its thumb.Even for mature cats, wool sucking may become a regular behavioral issue or a habit that periodically comes and goes. Other factors that may provoke or help sustain this behavior are: