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Issues with new kitten

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I found a stray kitten living outside the hospital I work in, in the parking lot! Apparently she's been there for awhile b/c some coworkers have seen her before. Anyway my whole family fell in love with her, so she's staying! I'd guess she's somewhere around 3 months old..she's bigger than most kittens but still has the kitten face. Anyway she's pretty good, she took to the litter box right away (hasn't had an accident yet!), and is a sweetheart. However, she is incredibly bitey, though I'm not too worried with that, b/c I think we can change her ways on that. But she dry nurses on people (on their sweaters, on their slippers, etc). It is very cute right now but I know once she's older it will be annoying. How do we stop this? I've read that you don't want to punish her for this, but I can't figure out how else to get her to stop? We've tried just moving her head away but that doesn't make any difference. And I have no problem with her kneading (which she does at the same time) it's the nursing that's a problem. Here's a picture of her. Thanks

post #2 of 9
What a cutie!! As far as the nursing this tends to happen when kittens get separated from their mother too early. Some kitties grow out of it and some keep going. I don't really think there's anything you can do to make her stop
post #3 of 9
First of all, bless you for taking her in she's adorable.

My Gracie did the kneading and "nursing" thing when she was a tiny kitten, she's 8 years old and she still does it.

Like Katie said I don't know if there is a way to break them of it, we just never tried to break Gracie...basically Gracie is just so darn cute that we let her do pretty much anything she wants...and she knows it
post #4 of 9
My little kitten does that too. It is cute most of the time, but when it is the middle of the night and he tries repeatedly to nurse on my nose it gets irritating.
post #5 of 9
I've seen some posters suggest taking a piece of cloth and moistening it to use as a substitute for the little one (I suppose it would be like using a pacifier for children). Bijou used to suckle my neck for well over a year but only at bedtime. Now he will give my neck (always only in the one spot) a quick lick before settling down to sleep.
post #6 of 9
As everyone has pointed out, some kitties outgrow this - others do not. As Yosemite said, you need to work on transferring this behavior to something else, which should be fairly easily accomplished:

You can take a piece of clean soft cloth and bunch it together to form a bag of sorts. Take a piece of cotton string, and tie the bag off, clipping the string ends short. Take some warm water and mix some honey in it, stir well. Dunk the bag into the mixture and give the warmed slightly wet bag to the suckler to use instead.

Many people have had great success with the "snuggle kitty," designed for rescue of small kittens:


Others have used small bean bag toy animals.

I don't know if this will help or not, but you may also want to additionally consider purchasing Feliway Spray (a synthetic hormone that mimics the "friendly" marker in cats' cheeks - very calming) - it is sprayed in the area or used as a plug-in. You can also consider purchasing Flower Essences to help calm kitty: http://www.catfaeries.com/

Thank you for rescuing this gorgeous girl!

post #7 of 9
She is so cute!!

My kitten is about the same age and does the same thing. She will dry nurse on any soft blanket (including kneading it) and also is a biter (not a mean biter, it's just habit). She was bottle fed because she was found as a stray without a mom at about 4 weeks old. I guess that these habits are really common for bottle-fed or early-weaned kittens. My kitten also will chew on shoes, she just likes biting things.

I don't do much about the dry nursing, but I am trying to stop the biting. I have these hard cat toys that I will give to her when she starts biting. Usually it's after I pet her stomach, she'll play bite at me. When she does this, I just pick her up and set her down with the hard plastic cat toy.

congratulations on your new addition, she really is a beautiful kitten.

I wonder if the snuggle kitten thing would help my cat or if she's too old for it now? Hmmm. Any thoughts anyone?
post #8 of 9
At three months, they're teething, thus the biting. The rubbing and biting is not a habit per se - it's her way of letting you know she's gotten over stimulated. Being loved on is something - well - I don't know how to put it. When we brought in Tuxie, he could take exactly one pet on a cheek before he put his paw up for "enough." Five years later, he loves being petted - up to 15 - 20 minutes at a time. But it went from one pet on the cheek to two, then three, &etc.

What you're doing to discourage the biting is the right thing.

When our kitties were teething, we put bendy straws down all over the place. They're great to chew on - and because we scattered them everywhere, they were always handy to grab to give to kitty to chew on instead of attacking an ankle or something. We always blew a short, sharp puff of air in their face then gave them the straw. We found that "talking" to them in their own language they learn very quickly!

...as to transferring suckling behavior to another object, such as a snuggle kitty or bean bag toy or something, it's never to late to try. When moms don't want kittens to suckle anymore, they push them away with their paw on the forehead. You can push kitty away (gently) with your finger on her forehead. Then give her the replacement on which to suckle. She should learn.

post #9 of 9
I don't have anything helpful to add to what others have said, just wanted to congratulate you on your beautiful addition! She is so sweet. I bet she has some awful, scary stories to tell, too. Thanks for giving her a loving home

Oh, and we'll want more photos, too!
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