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kneading and suckling

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Is there any way to stop a cat from kneading on a person and sucking on that person's clothing? My 82 year old mother took in a kitten, Benji, when he was about 5 weeks old (I know this was young, but his mom was feral, etc and this has alot to do with why he's exhibiting this behavior,so I know all that...) Anyway, she loves this little guy who is now around 4 months old, but she absoltely HATES that he will knead her and suck on her shirt. I keep telling her it's a comfort to him, etc., but she doesn't like it. Is there anyway to deter this behavior? He also gets pretty nutty and attacks her legs when he wants to play. He's the only cat in the house, and I told her he's BORED. I highly doubt she'd adopt another cat to keep him company. I was wondering if Feliway would help with the kneading/sucking behavior?
post #2 of 11
I have three orphaned kittens and two of them have this behavior. I understand as some grow this will happen less and others may always suckle and knead.

Is there any chance your mom might adopt an older shelter cat where the personality/behavior is known and you or another family member take the kitten. That way you could match the cat that would meet her lifestyle. As you know, kittens will stay in this active, under foot behavior for a year or two.

Best of luck to your mom.
post #3 of 11
I have only seen this behavior in feral babies, to that extreme, it comes from being weened too early. Babies kneed and suck to stimulate mom. I had one that never stopped and somewhere around the age of 4 it's less cute. lol. My last baby (she's 10 mos) does this now and what I have found to help is to give her a damp washcloth. It's her blankey lol. When she gets going I lightly dampen her washcloth and give it to her and she sucks on it and falls asleep. My other cat never would quit we tried everything, he only did it when falling asleep. You might tell her to move the kitten away from her when it starts or try to find a lovey for the kitten to snuggle with. Good luck
post #4 of 11
To help a kitten stop suckling, give them something very fluffy...like an old fleace, a peice of 70's shag carpet (I'm not kidding), an old fluffy sweater. Make sure that it is something that you will never want again. They will start a behavior called "wool sucking". The fluffy surface mimics the mother's belly. Your kitten will sop a peice of the fleace or whatever and begin suckling and neading that. They will eventually grow tired of the wool sucking and your done. It worked for me when I adopted Sport. He was 5 weeks old when I got him and was abandoned by his mother at birth, so he never experienced real nursing. best of luck to you.
Peace ,
Rob & Sport
post #5 of 11
Can't really stop it, just give the cat something it *can* use for it. My cat loves the really soft Barefoot Dreams blankets, any version of that would work.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all your responses!! They're all very helpful. I was reading somewhere online last night about a blanket that was made by some company that actually made for this purpose that has little tiny nipples sewn into it for the kittens. However, I can't find ANY information on such an item, so my sister is going to CVS later to get either an infant pacifier to stick thruogh his blankie or the top of a kitten nursing bottle to stick through it. If it'll keep him off my mother, that's fine!
post #7 of 11
Any soft fuzzy blanket should do the trick. Or try a very soft stuffed animal, of the type meant for babies.
post #8 of 11
I've always just given them a finger tip. If I don't want them kneading me I lay them with their back down instead of on their side, and let them press into my arm or hand (the same one they're sucking the pinky on, when they're little.)

By two years the behavior will stop, earlier if you make it inconvenient for them, or use a hand lotion they don't like.
post #9 of 11
<laughing> My dh's cat. the mean old Satin(he around 14 yrs old now) does this every night to my dh when we go to bed. He talks to dh as soon as the lights are out and kneads and sucks on a place on my dh's arm ... or if it still early and we have storms, even on me. Dh found him as a kitten in an alley in Miami and brought him home. They traveled alot when Satin was young ususally in dh's lap<g>

so it is normal I'm told

good luck
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
For now, he's being satisfied with my mom's flannel pajama top. But my sister picked up something called a SnuggleKittie for him. As long as he's off my mother, and she doesn't need the flannel pj top till winter, that's fine.
I have a 5 year old female that kneads me but doesn't do the sucking thing. I let her go to town and knead, because I know that within 2 minutes, she'll curl up and go to sleep!
post #11 of 11
Sucking on clothing sounds great to hubby and I. Harley sucks our ear lobes!

It feels so weird and is completely bizarre and I don't have the heart to stop him. I know it relaxs him ad comforts him I can't say no. Last week we went on vacation and I changed my earrings for the trip (I have double pierced ears so I changed my bottom set to hoops) When we returned Harley was not happy to find that sucking my ear was impossible with the hoops in, he tried to pull the hoops out with his teeth. Me being the sucker I am, took the hoops out and returned the studs so he can suck. I feel like I owe it to him, he was a stray and then spent 4 months in a shelter cage.

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