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Suckling kitty good or bad?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was having a discussion with someone at our shelter yesterday & then I saw a thread on here about suckling kitties. We currently have a kitten 4 - 5 months old. He came to us by himself & he LOVES to suckle on T-shirts. It's ovbious he was away from mom to young. I love it when he does it to me, but someone else said she thinks that is why he has not gotten adopted yet. So I'm wondering am I weird that I love when kitties do that, or do others understand how it's a sign of affection?
post #2 of 17
Our kitten GiGi likes to suckle...I think its a sign of affection and isnt gross at all.
post #3 of 17
I find it endearing, but I dont' think my guests would, so I try and warn them of Harley's habit. Although he probably wouldn't approach them with it, I find it to be a true motion of trust with Harley and a de-stresser for him.

Leslie
post #4 of 17
When My mum was in the Cats Pro we took in 3 abandoned kittens, one of them was a tiny wee male. Their Mother died, we hand fed them. When we held him he used to crawl to you face and suckle your lip, he did it to everyone. When you pet him he would grab your hand a suckle your finger.
post #5 of 17
Honestly, I think it's a little bit gross. It is cute in a way and at first, but when you come away with a huge wet spot on your shirt...ughhhh!! When I was young, my now DH's (then boyfriend) family had some cats and one of them did that. I'd get up off the couch with 2-3 big wet drool spots on my shirt. Cute while she was doing it, yucky afterwards. I have dogs that suckle things and they are perfectly self-assured and did NOT leave their mothers too early. I would guess some dogs and cats just love to suckle! My dogs that do this, suck on toys though. My one girl used to suck a pillow though, and that was kind of gross. She sucked the pillow to death!!
post #6 of 17
i think it is absolutely adorable, yet it can become aggrivating after a while. Kricket does it where she mushes and sucks on the cover, no big deal. Sloth on the other hand does it to the point where i pry the cover out of his mouth and kick him off the bed. He does the mushing like Kricket but hes rough with the mushing. He can wake me out of a dead sleep with the mushing but the suckling is no big deal just a nasty slobber spot on the cover. Goose suckles/licks, before she goes to sleep she does the mushing and wants to suckle the bed she sleeps in but ends up just licking it....shes a few brain cells short but i love her. Also my sucklers were all bottle babies
post #7 of 17
I can go either way on this one, but, all in all, I think a suckling kitty is rather cute. And, yes, by the way, I think suckling pups are cute too .

None of my current cats (or dogs) suckle, but I've had a couple of cats in the past that did suckle and I always thought it was a sweet sentiment usually reserved for those they were especially bonded to. Opal was my siamese mix and she was the resident suckler. She was rescued from death row at a high-kill shelter at under 4 weeks of age. I was only a teenager at the time (13 years old), but I bottle-fed her until she was able to be weaned onto kibble and wet food. Both before and after her feedings, we would snuggle on my bed and she would suckle on my fingers and knead at the hairline at the back of my neck. It was very sweet and it was a behavior she kept long after her weaning days were over. And, in fact, it was the fact that she stopped that behavior that I knew that she was ill. Unfortunately, I lost her about 6 years ago. She was only 7 years old, but succumbed to cancer. She was my girl and I still love and miss her to this day .

As much as Opal's suckling was sweet, Zeus' suckling was not. Zeus was a female (yes, female !) cat who had to suckle in order to comfort herself. And she suckled a lot. All. The. Time. It was sweet at first, but as time grew on and she became more neurotic, her suckling became less sweet and more aggressive and obsessive. She would pin your arm down with her claws and bite and suckle on your fingers. It became so bad that I would have claw marks up and down my arms and swollen, bruised fingers from the force in which she suckled. She also had a tendency to suckle on bedding, pillows, and clothing and I lost many an item to holes in the fabric caused by her intense suckling. Zeus was not my cat, but rather my mother's boyfriend's cat, and I didn't know much of her history, but she had some severe issues and was also prone to over-grooming and separation anxiety. I was her main caregiver (as well as caregiver to all our pets) as my family had proven not to be particularly caring and conscientous. And, while I did grow to love Zeus, she passed away at a young age to liver failure (she was poisoned as she became an indoor/outdoor cat following my moving out on my own). She was a sweet cat, but her suckling was too aggressive for my tastes and was often destructive. But, then again, she needed to suckle in order to feel good and that, in and of itself, was the issue since she learned no other self-soothing methods. The suckling was a behavior she relied on and she struggled with anxiety if unable to practice the behavior.

So, that's where my stance with suckling is. I think it's an okay, albeit even sweet, behavior if it's not the only behavior a kitty has in its arsenal to provide comfort and stimulation for itself. In some situations it can be a sign of bonding, but in others, my opinion is that it can be destructive -- both physically and emotionally for all involved.
post #8 of 17
Rosie's 7 now and still suckles on her blankie now and again. She was only 6 weeks old when i had taken her so that's why she still does it

Sophie never left her Mum until she was about 11/12 weeks so she's never suckled.

Jack was semi feral, so had to be parted from his Mum at 6 weeks to socialise him, but although he was 10 weeks old when he came to me he still suckles on my sleeve

I love it, and it obviously gives them some comfort so that's what matters
post #9 of 17
It’s not just kittens that were taken from mum too soon that suckle. I know several cats who are over 6 months old and still have access to their mums but will suckle on other cats.

I also have a girl who nurses on my neuters, she stops when she’s calling so I always have warning she’s about to call
post #10 of 17
I dn't really care, but it does mean your kitty is anxious so it's not a great sign to see your kitty do this.
post #11 of 17
I can't say I've ever known a cat to do it. Blossom was handraised from 3 weeks & she doesn't do it. Mind you she does like to lick you if you touch her.
post #12 of 17
It's generally because kittens are weaned to early. Ideally, kittens should be with their mom even on her teats till they are 8 weeks old and then not separated from her until they are 12 weeks old. Most kittens will suckle their entire life and there is little you can do to stop them. I currently have one kitten who was thrown in a dumpster that suckles his belly, his back and he will literally be wringing wet in the morning as he sucks all night. If the other kittens are near him, they will join in as the sound draws them back to when they were nursing. I am sure that he will be a suckler for his lifetime as he is now 9 weeks old and no way is he stopping. It makes him unadoptable because most people don't like kittens who suckle.
post #13 of 17
Meg suckles, she loves my dressing gown which ends up very soggy! Sometimes she puts her head up the sleeve while I'm wearing it so I also end up very soggy! My other half thinks it's gross but it's not her fault she was taken from her mum so young.

Fable, my four year old, roots around on soft blankets/clothes as if he's looking for a nipple...
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ut0pia View Post
I dn't really care, but it does mean your kitty is anxious so it's not a great sign to see your kitty do this.
I completely disagree... I think it CAN be a sign of anxiety, but it should not always be written off as a sign of stress. It is also a sign of comfort and relaxation and pure, innocent happiness.

Two of my cats suckle when they are content and happy and relaxed. They do it often when they want to cuddle and before nap-time and before bed-time and when they are being cooed and baby-talked. It's a very obvious statement, "I am happy and adored and I love you and I love to hear your voice and I love when you pet me that way and I am comfortable and relaxed right now."
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PintaMeez View Post
I completely disagree... I think it CAN be a sign of anxiety, but it should not always be written off as a sign of stress. It is also a sign of comfort and relaxation and pure, innocent happiness.

Two of my cats suckle when they are content and happy and relaxed. They do it often when they want to cuddle and before nap-time and before bed-time and when they are being cooed and baby-talked. It's a very obvious statement, "I am happy and adored and I love you and I love to hear your voice and I love when you pet me that way and I am comfortable and relaxed right now."
That's how my Meg is too.
post #16 of 17
Gigi only suckles on my micro fleece throw and its right before she is ready to curl up for bed..I dont think its anxiety..NOW when we first saved her poor little life she would try and latch onto me or BF because we sleep in the buff and that WAS NOT acceptable..But she stopped that within two nights of being kicked off the bed from us getting bitten..So now she only does it to what is now her wubbie blanket
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3CatsN1Dog View Post
Gigi only suckles on my micro fleece throw and its right before she is ready to curl up for bed..I dont think its anxiety..NOW when we first saved her poor little life she would try and latch onto me or BF because we sleep in the buff and that WAS NOT acceptable..But she stopped that within two nights of being kicked off the bed from us getting bitten..So now she only does it to what is now her wubbie blanket
Lol, I feel really sorry for you!!!
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