Suckling Behavior in Kittens


Question from Ashley:

Hello, I have a kitten, well he’s a few months old now. He was taken away from his mom a bit too early and he suckles on stuff, like my robe and other soft things, is there a way that I could stop this behaviour?

Answer from Amy:

Your kitten’s behavior is a display of affection. Most cats grow out of this behavior, but some may find suckling comforting and soothing, thus continue doing it. You may find your kitten licking you while suckling or even nibbling your elbows or knuckles while he is rubbing you down.

Do not discourage him by using punishment, especially when a young kitten is engaging in a nursing behavior.

Since it is bothering you, you can stop petting, stand up and walk away when he starts suckling on your clothing. He will soon associate suckling with less affection from you.

Another way to keep him away from your clothing, robe or other soft things that you want to make off-limit to your kitten, is to apply a bit of bitter apple on the fabric or near it. Cats strongly dislike the taste. They will soon stop the behavior as a result. Bitter apple is completely harmless to kittens.

Finally, while you are using any of the methods above, in conjunction it is great to prepare a warmed blanket or an expendable shirt and place it somewhere you want your kitten to stay in. He will feel cozy immediately with the warmed blanket. This is a lot more pleasant to your kitten than using a spray bottle.

Image:

Source:
http://www.kittencare.com/dry_nursing.html

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2 Responses to “Suckling Behavior in Kittens”

  1. Jenna says:

    My cat, Mia, used to do the same. She was also taken away from her mother just a bit too early. She used to try to do that on our ears, knuckles, or even b/w our thumb and index finger. Soft fabric too. Biiiiiiiig trouble happened when she suckled a hole THROUGH my moms CASHMERE sweater. EEKS! But she grew out of it rather quickly. She's 13 now, and still here and there will be getting a rub down or snuggling and turn to suckle on our knuckles for 2-3 seconds (very rare now, once or twice a year), but promptly stops…..that "comfort" thing sort of makes sense in terms of that!

    • lovemeow says:

      My cat Jackie gives me a massage every time before he lies down on my lap. He is such a sweetie :-). He is now playing with my hair as I speak.

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