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Help with obsessive suckling / love nibbling, please!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, I have a new 4 1/2 month old neutered foster boy with a clean bill of health from the vet, named Cronos. Brought him home thinking he would be my project to re-socialize him with people, I was told he had become aggressive towards people. WRONG!

Instead, after only 48 hours, I realize my only real project with him is to curb his excessive suckling / love nibbling. Honestly, I can't tell for sure which this is!

I've dealt with this before with both Evie and my other fosters, but it wasn't obsessive with them. It was occassional. This poor boy acts totally love starved half the time. The other half he's either slepping off alone somewhere cool (he's a lover, but certainly not a cuddler!), or playing. But the love starved half, he can't stop purring, can't stop kneading, must be rubbing against me or someone/thing, and ends up either suckling or nibbling on me. Suffice it to say, a part of my body ends up in his mouth, and he has sharp baby teeth!

To add to the oddness, he seems to have a foot fetish. It's his favorite part to suckle on! I have to sit on my feet around him, or ouch!

I've been doing with him what I've done with all the others, which is to just move him away. He's so obssessed about it when he's in the right (wrong?) mood, that I've even started hissing a little to tell him it hurts. I didn't have to resort to that with any of the others.

Does any one have experience with this level of obsession? Does anyone know if this is suckling, or, since he uses his teeth, is it love nibbles? There is a suckling motion. And, my guess would be that he was taken from mom way too early. Does any know if there are other emotional issues I need to watch for, that this could indicate? Is there anything I can do to help him if there might be other issues?

He is the sweetest, most lovey kitty I've ever known. I really want to try to make him as emotionally ready as he can be to find his furr-ever home!

Just to illustrate, the entire time I've been typing this, he has been intensly kneading (my arm, my tummy, my legs, my laptop, the blanket, you name it!), purring, and nibbling on my fingers and arms.

Wait, now he's starting to play with a string! Mode change!
post #2 of 10
Have you ever seen this ? http://www.catsifier.com/

Heres an article suckling ....... it says wool, but its about suckling.

I do have a cat who does that to your earlobes and I am most certain, she does it because she was taken from her Mother too soon, but it doesnt hurt when she does it, so I just let her.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Oh, no, I hadn't, but it sure looks intriguing! With all the foster babies I've had (so either with no mom or with a feral, totally disinterested mom that avoided them), this would probably fit right in! Thanks for the link!

Yeah, if it didn't hurt when he did this, I would let him to an extent. Had to stop the others because they wanted to suckle on my lips (or nose, and I'm allergic!), and that wasn't too safe for either of us! But it hurts, and that's not good. So even if I don't stop it, I need him to stop hurting! He won't get adopted if he starts to bond with some kid and CHOMP and the kid starts screaming! Not everyone will understand that he's NOT biting...

Thanks for your input!!
post #4 of 10
My heplful hint is just to provide as much love as you can.

We adopted a suckler/kneader/ obsessive lover in May. He is almost a year and a half old though. But he was a stray until a year old when someone brought him to the shelter.

We try and be as patient as we can, bless his little heart, he can be trying sometimes because he can be so obsessive. Our biggest concern now is with adding children into our family--we can claim our personal space, they can't!

Anyway just love--the right family I think will understand!

Leslie
post #5 of 10
When we found Felix he was barely four weeks old, and my boss bottle fed him at first... After we got Loki, Felix started to try and nurse on him. He'll suckle his fur and knead... I guess it's not really harmful, except that Loki's fur gets matted sometimes. Since they're both 5 months old now and have all their teeth, it hurts if Felix tries to suckle on any of us. He doesn't usually do that, but it happens every once in a while.

On the other hand, the little stray kitten we found likes to bite fingers, and hard. Even though all his teeth haven't come in yet it still hurts. Is there some safe way to teach him not to use us as a chew toy?
post #6 of 10
My old RB girl Shasta had a chewing/suckling fetish. She was 7 weeks old when she came to me, and almost immediately she began on my fingers. She'd start with the index finger, chomp until she was tired of it, move to the next, and so on -- back and forth across my hand.

She was my first cat, and I thought it was cute, so the habit got established very well before I realized it really should have been discouraged. By that point, I hadn't a clue what to do and no real resources to find out, so I let her have her fun, and yelped loudly when she hurt, which was fairly often, and that was usually effective -- at least temporarily.

However, she did grow out of it. It took a bunch of years, though. I don't remember exactly how long, but I'm thinking it may have been one of the behavioural shifts she showed when we moved from that first place. If that was the timing, she would have been about 7. You probably don't want to wait that long.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrootLoop View Post
On the other hand, the little stray kitten we found likes to bite fingers, and hard. Even though all his teeth haven't come in yet it still hurts. Is there some safe way to teach him not to use us as a chew toy?
the cats i have that i raised from kittenhood don't bite me [unless in extreme circumstances!]... as kittens, when they did, i tapped them firmly on the nose & said 'no' in a stern voice. worked.
Chip [declawed adult adoptee] has a tendency towards 'love bites' on my jawline when he's purring in my arms. he knows i don't like it, but he just can't seem to help himself! i have no solution for this - i've tried the nose tap, yelping, hissing - he'll still do it. if i try to move away, he tries to follow me!
post #8 of 10
I wish I could help you, but I need help with this, too! Pixel has finally stopped (mostly) trying to suckle on her brother, but whenever she feels affectionate, she bites, nibbles, licks and half-way suckles fingers and faces. She will wake me up in the morning purring and snuggling and then proceed to try to eat my fingers. At first she doesn't bite hard, she just snuggles and it's so cute! But as the snuggle love-bite session goes on, she bites harder and harder and harder... and it hurts!

I think the love bites and licks are cute, but I wish she wouldn't bite as hard. I wish I had a good answer to how to stop it!
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrootLoop View Post
When we found Felix he was barely four weeks old, and my boss bottle fed him at first... After we got Loki, Felix started to try and nurse on him. He'll suckle his fur and knead... I guess it's not really harmful, except that Loki's fur gets matted sometimes. Since they're both 5 months old now and have all their teeth, it hurts if Felix tries to suckle on any of us. He doesn't usually do that, but it happens every once in a while.

On the other hand, the little stray kitten we found likes to bite fingers, and hard. Even though all his teeth haven't come in yet it still hurts. Is there some safe way to teach him not to use us as a chew toy?

He may be teething. Just give him some of the big, fat plastic straws for him to chew on. We did this for Bijou when he was teething and it really helped. When the straw gets a bit chewed up, just replace it. I had at least 6 around the house for Bijou.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I'm sorry you all are dealing with this too, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! Though it does sound like I'm the only one with a kitty with a foot fetish!

So far, I've just continued pushing him away, saying "no" or "ow" sharply, and the frequency seems to be dying down. Though he still gets just as obsessed when he does it!

Yosemite, I know you weren't talking about Cronos, and I don't think he's teething, though he should be coming up to that age and I really like your idea! I'll keep that in mind for him and any other potential fosters. Thanks!

It's kind of a shame that such a cute, endearing action is also so painful!
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