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Jasper wants to nurse on Sophie

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Jasper wants to nurse on Sophie. Needless to say, Sophie does not approve. He is about 11 weeks now and has not yet been neutered.

Turf wars are ongoing, but Jasper is not a shy one. He is massively playful (as he should be) and most of the time is easily distracted by toys. We give him his own room when he gets too rambunctious, or if we want to concentrate for more than four minutes at a time.

I would like to understand this nursing behavior better though. Will it go away? Do we need to do something? Should we just let Sophie handle it? I am guessing it's an indication he was not weaned properly; this was the kitty my husband found crossing the street in an urban area of town. He was 8 wks at the time, according to the vet.

Will neutering help, or this an entirely separate issue? We are hoping this doesn't morph into some sexual interest / aggression on his part. Sophie is already feeling quite harassed.

We are feeding him Diamond Naturals Active Formula (all ages) but he munches out of the bowls for the other kitties too, which still have a combination of Diamonds and Purina One (I really want this stuff to go away!) He has been on solid (dry and wet) food since we got him; the vet gave him the okay.
post #2 of 10
I dont remember, who is sophie? Is she a ex-mom, still having milk? Or is she basically another cat?? and thus, the nursing is "dry-nursing"?

Dry-Nursing as such isnt unusual in any way. And if not excessive, or the nursed cat doesnt mind - it is not dangerous in any way. (exception if it is excessive - the nursed place can be sore, and such... - so you must look out a little )
Often it is something quite nice for the both....

Ok, here Sophie does mind. Does she manages to defend herself enough? If yes, you probably dont need to think too much about it.
Otherwise you must help her, depending on...

Often it should be enough to gently pull him aside with your hand... After x times it should dawn to him this behaviour is not well seen.

Some isolation, extra play as you are already doing, is surely also good.

In sewere cases you can hiss at him... The problem with hissing here is if Sophie thinks the hissing is at her...

Feliway diffuser can be useful to try out, if the nursing is a way to get some extra feeling of comfort and safety...
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Sophie has never been a mom, and as I like to say, she doesn't even know she's a girl -- she was spayed much too young at the shelter, before we found her.

It seems pretty clear she doesn't like it, but I feel uncomfortable letting it go on to really find out what she'll do. I have reached in a couple of times to separate them, which I shouldn't do, but neither cat really fights it. I'll try the Feliway Spray (Ours is a knock-off called No-Stress) a little more often. I figure it's for the other cats more than Jasper - he is the happiest darn cat I've ever seen. . .

Will this behavior go away after a while?
post #4 of 10
I would guess he'll stop if she smacks him for it enough times. As long as he doesn't do it so much as to hurt her, I'd let her deal with it; cats have their own way of managing their lives, and it seems to work for them.

Young creatures of all kinds where the mama critter raises the babies have feeding and cuddling as how they know they're loved. He might outgrow it; a lot of the farm cats went through a phase of play-nursing off of other grown cats, including males, while and just after they were weaned. Then again, my Panther has taken up kneading and sucking blankets, since the older cat that helped raise her from ~8 weeks went to the Bridge, so I don't think there's a way to tell about that.
post #5 of 10
I have a female kitten trying to nurse off an adult male cat!

My male cat will not have any of it!! My kitten is 12 weeks old and was good and weaned from momma at 8 weeks--I have momma in my care still.

post #6 of 10
Rusty did that to Dusty when we first brought them home. We discouraged it and she finally stopped.

Growing up, we had two kittens that tried to nurse off our dog, our MALE dog!! The dog just looked up at us as if to say... "How sweet!" He loved those kittens!
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, it is when Sophie is on the top level of the cat tree that Jasper tries to nurse from her. This has been her "safe zone" up until now, and I hate to make her feel threatened there. I'm also worried about one or both of them tumbling all the way off without the correct position to catch themselves. We also have the old wood register for the air vent on the floor right below -- this is not usually an issue, but a cat falling at that height could put a hole right through it, and then have access to all the fun pipe all the way through the house. I have been separating them mostly lately, but I have been doing a lot of separating. Do you really think Sophie is up to handling him? When he acts this way, we call him "the twirp." I'd like her to just get him to cut it out.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay, now watched them wrestle a little more earlier, then separated them again. I don't think biting Sophie's head really counts as nursing behavior anymore, do you? Sophie was biting back, but I'm not sure I like where this is going. There is no blood, by the way, and neither one growls.

Part of the time he is going for her stomach, though. I'm just trying to see what they're really doing.
post #9 of 10
I have four kittens they all nurse off each other. I have been not allowing it. So it has died down some but they all seem to nurse on one kitten never another so I would say its normal myne where weined at 6 weeks do to mom being under weight from the gekgo.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I've been getting less sure about breaking it up all the time. Is this the way they learn about each other, though it looks odd to me? I sometimes play with him to give him an outlet for energy, and sometimes separate them, often, actually.

Also, I have been trying to use these moments to give Jasper some petting time since this seems to be a piece of what he is craving - I give him deep massages, and let him snuggle with the blanket on my lap, and sometimes he responds wonderfully to this.

It looks like he's going to be at this for a while though. When will he finally give it up? Sophie would like to know.
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