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Odd Sucking Behavior

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I recently adopted Misty from the local shelter. They told me she was about 6 months old. She joined Greta and they quickly became great friends after only 2 weeks together.

When Misty wants attention, specifically to be held, she will jump up on me or call out vocally to get my attention. Once she is with me, be it sitting on my lap or chest while I am sitting in a chair or nuzzled up with me in the bed she will immediately start sucking a specific area on her belly. It almost appears she is trying to suck on one of her own nipples. The sound is a distinct wet sucking sound on bare skin as opposed to fur. The area is also near where the closure is from the spay procedure but that has healed up fine and is not red or irritated in any way.

The thing is she ONLY does this when I am holding her or she is nuzzled up in the bed. As soon as she is with me she will immediately start and does not stop until I set her down or force her to stop. If I hold my hand over the area to stop her she eventually gets frustrated and will get up and leave me. She never does this when she is just laying around and otherwise grooms herself normally.

Any feedback on this is appreciated. Thanks.
post #2 of 11
It sounds to me as if she were separated from her mum too young, and is just mimicking suckling from her mother as a comfort thing because she didn't get enough chance to when she was a little kitten. Suckling behaviour is common in cats who weren't with their mum for long enough, especially when they are younger. The warmth and comfort she feels when snuggled up to you triggers her to want to suckle.

It's not harmful, the only thing you need to be aware of is that if she's suckling herself she may lose some fur in that area and make herself sore. It may be worth seeing if you can redirect her into suckling a 'security blanket' instead. She may well grow out of it - Radar still sucks my fingers occasionally, but nowhere near as often as he did a few months ago - he's now 14 months old.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
It sounds to me as if she were separated from her mum too young, and is just mimicking suckling from her mother as a comfort thing because she didn't get enough chance to when she was a little kitten. Suckling behaviour is common in cats who weren't with their mum for long enough, especially when they are younger. The warmth and comfort she feels when snuggled up to you triggers her to want to suckle.

It's not harmful, the only thing you need to be aware of is that if she's suckling herself she may lose some fur in that area and make herself sore. It may be worth seeing if you can redirect her into suckling a 'security blanket' instead. She may well grow out of it - Radar still sucks my fingers occasionally, but nowhere near as often as he did a few months ago - he's now 14 months old.
Thanks for the response. Misty will actually do the same thing you mentioned if she gets a hold of one of my fingers when exhibiting this behavior.
post #4 of 11
When kittens are separated before 10 weeks old, many will exhibit this behavior - sometimes they grow out of it as they get older; but many times it continues as an adult.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Could the early separation possibility also explain other things I have noticed?

With Greta she would kneed the couch cushions or the blankets she has to lay on when I first brought her home and she still does it to me through my blanket when I am bed every morning. I have yet to see Misty kneed anything after having her in home about a month.

Also there have been situations where Greta wants to be nice to Misty and groom her and a few times Misty has let her and she looks very relaxed but Misty never returns the same desire to groom Greta.

I think Misty may have missed some things while being raised. She used the litter box right away when I brought her home but did not scratch and bury. She would just do her business and be done. I think she has observed Greta scratching and burying the waste because she now does this herself and no longer leaves her business on top of the litter.

Even with these odd behaviors I can't complain. Misty and Greta where getting along and playing with each after only 2 weeks together and she was a welcomed companion for Greta when I am at work.
post #6 of 11
Most all cats kneed when happy/contented - that has nothing to do with leaving mom so soon

And the covering of their wastes - that's an individual thing. Some cats bury to China, some just poop and run.....letting another cat clean up after them. I've had both.

I've observed a litter of kittens where one covers a lot and one doesn't
post #7 of 11
my sister found a 4 wk old kitten. He was only 14 ounces!!we bottle fed him until he could drink on his own, but now when he gets sleepy he sucks on my sisters skin. He is now 8 wkd old

Thanks, tez
post #8 of 11
My toy Pom Sophie is 5, if you let her she would curlup on my lap and suck my finger for hours, she was a bottle fed baby. my bottle fed kittie Lucky sucks her paws to go to sleep, I think they just need the comfort
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tez View Post
my sister found a 4 wk old kitten. He was only 14 ounces!!we bottle fed him until he could drink on his own, but now when he gets sleepy he sucks on my sisters skin. He is now 8 wkd old

Thanks, tez
How wonderful you rescued the kitten! Welcome to TCS !

post #10 of 11
I know of someone who has a sucker cat, the cat stayed with mom for a long time too, wasn't taken too early. I think it is just something that makes the kitty feel better, for instance, mine kneads and love bites.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
It's been a couple months since I origionally posted on this topic but I wanted to see if anyone had any suggestions.

Misty still tries to suckle on herself when she is sitting with me and I can't seem to break it. I can stop her by holding her in positions to deny her access but she eventually gets frustrated and leaves. Sometimes when she does get frustrated she goes to Greta for a grooming session but they usually don't last long and result in a wrestling match.

Is this something that is going to go on forever or is there anything I can do to try and break the habit?

Thanks
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