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Question about my kitten

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello, my name is Aaron, I'm from North Alabama. I was given a kitten about a month and a half ago, and when I first got her she was eating soft kitten food, she was past the nursing stage, or so I thought. She was found on a train when she was very young, and had no mother. My friend bottle fed her until she started eating the soft kitten food. I fed her that, and then I caught her eating my other cats hard cat food, so slowly I moved her up to the same food my other cat eats. The vet and my friend have both told me as best they can tell she should be about four months old now. She eats healthily, and sleeps regularly, there is nothing I can pick out about her that wouldn't be considered normal of a kitten her age. Recently, however, shes started trying to nurse on things. She will try to nurse on the blanket when shes in the bed, and she tries to nurse on my arms and legs when I'm laying down. She will push on it with her front paws and get in a little stance with her ears back and she'll start sucking on anything soft. I'm not quite sure if its normal for her to randomly start trying to nurse when shes been eating normal cat food for awhile. She never tried nursing before when she was younger, and now shes just decided to start. Is this normal? What can I do about this? It worries me to an extent, even though its cute to see, it just doesn't seem right.
post #2 of 12
My little kittens do the same thing. If you want to break her of the habit i've heardit suggested at this site that you should stand up and walk away every time she tries to do the behavior to you. Don't say anything or touch her, stay away for ten minutes. She will learn that if she wants your attention she can't suck on you. Hope this helps, and congrats on your new kitty!!
post #3 of 12
The kneading and suckling behaviour isn't something to be worried about. My cat rambo does it as well and he's almost 6 months old, and you will hear from others on the site that their much older cats do it too. It seems to be something that comforts the kitty (kinda like a child sucking their thumb). You probably want to work on directing the behaviour off of your body (i found i couldn't get much sleep if rambo was doing it on me) and onto an old shirt/blanket or towel. It sounds like you've done everything right for this kitten....enjoy your furbaby!
post #4 of 12
It is actually not uncommon among "bottle babies" like your kitten to suckle on things - wool, you, they miss their mom and are seeking an alternative. Give her lots of love and try tro interest her in something else when she does it. But if it is not hurting you or her - it is not a problem.
post #5 of 12
i would disagree, suckling kitties should be discouraged from suckling. I have seen adult cats of cat owners who did not discourage suckling, with large patches of fur missing on their tails and bellies, wherever they can reach, as well as nasty skin infections. If she is suckling on you, then add some lemon oil to your hand lotion and use this on your skin to stop her. Give her a substitute to suck besides you, a snugglekittie is a good substitute, but don't let her have cloth, wool, or carpet because fibers come off and can cause problems. It is a reaction of motherless kittens, or kittens that did not spend enough time with their mom. www.kitten-rescue.com is a website that addresses this issue-
post #6 of 12
Here, here! Mine does it to. I have two persians. Both from different breeders. One came from a breeder who has been in the biz for 30 years of breeding and whose kids stay with mom from day one till they are 12 weeks of age. One from a smaller breeder with less years who left the breeder and mom at 10 weeks to come home with me.

The one I got from the smaller breeder and at a younger age does not do this behavior. The one from the more experienced breeder doesn't actually suck on things, but pretends to. He burries his head in my arm pit, my arm, my neck, or any crease in the blanket he can find and kneeds it like dough and purrs loudly. The other never did this. To me it just seems that both being about 13 weeks of age (about 4 days apart), one is more kiddish then the other. The one that doesn't do it seems to be more secure with himself. The other seems to be more skiddish and child-like in actions and mentality, and he only does this at night or when I am holding him, and even then only sometimes. It isn't an actually sucking of skin though, or objects. He just seems to be making the motions.

So it is like comparing two children at age 3, I would say. One may be more tough and dependant, and the other may still like the thumb and/or blanket. To me that is all it is really. Like people, cats are different. I really don't see anything wrong with it at all, then again, it isn't a really big and common problem with me and it isn't actual sucking on things, so I say if it isn't hurting them or you or their growth let them grow out of it on their own.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the replies. What I get from most of this is that she'll just grow out of it and does it for comfort. Someone did say it could cause complications, so I think i'll try to train her to do it on something safer, and slowly see if I can't ween her away from that, like you would a child. Thank you all, and I don't think I've ever had so many replies so quickly. Thats amazing.
post #8 of 12
This is totally normal and as long as she's not nursing on herself, it's nothing to be worried about. It's like a little kid sucking his thumb. She does it for security.

She may or may not outgrow this behavior. My cat is 3 and she still has her teddy bear that she sucks on at night. It's not nearly as frequent as when she was a baby but it is still her security thing. She's happy and healthy and well-adjusted in every other way so I don't worry about it.

Try buying a piece of fleece or a fake sheepskin bed from the pet supply store and see if she will accept that to suck on. It's generally much easier to redirect them to suck on something acceptable and harmless than to try to break them of the habit altogether.
post #9 of 12
My Ellie has always done this and she is over a year old now. I have tried everything I can to stop her without success, and I just hope she will grow out of it. Visitors find it cute when she makes for their arms or necks, but I agree with Hissy that it is better to stop it if possible. I don't know why she does it - she was with her mom till 11 weeks old, which is close to the ideal time.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I read on a website that was linked earlier by someone, that you can give them something safe to suck on by rolling up a piece of cotton and tying it in a bundle with cotton string, and then soaking it in warm water mixed with honey, then ring the excess water out and let them suckle on that. I think I'll try that to get her to stop sucking on the blankets and things, because if one person says thats not safe for her (based on loose fibers and whatnot), thats enough for me. I want her to be as safe as she can be.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
BTW, Cyberkitten, I found an abandoned kitten just like the one in that picture on your signature, and I gave him to my ex g/f. He was the funniest kitten I've ever known.
post #12 of 12
You mention the kitten is eating normal cat food, until the age of 12 months she should be eating kitten food either wet or dry.

I have no experience with the suckling, I hope it works out for you.
Congrats on the new kitty
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