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16 week old kitten with suckling habit

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by hhobbs, Sep 1, 2018.

  1. hhobbs

    hhobbs PetForums Newbie

    Aug 25, 2018
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    I rescued a kitten recently when she was 12 weeks old. Now 16 weeks she’s doing great in the house and very happy. After a week of owning her she began to suckle on my fingers, at the beginning I thought it was very cute and did some research and many websites said that she would have been taken away from the mother too soon.

    I’ve tried to stop her from doing it but she’s gotten into the habit of trying to suckle on any part of my skin she can grab (hands, arms, legs, even my back when I’ve been in bed).

    I don’t know how to put an end to her doing this, I don’t want her to carry on doing this as she starts to get older and she tries to bite to hold on when I try to stop her and this could be bad when she gets older.

    Could anyone recommend something for me to stop her from doing this please?

    She also very relentless at coming back to try and suckle when I push her away or place her back on the floor to try and stop her. I feel as though I’m her frustration at not being able to suckle on a some part of my skin she will find a soft blanket or she has even gone to suckle on her wet food.
    #1 hhobbs, Sep 1, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
    Rhea mother of Zeus likes this.
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    Aww bless the little lass! :) She is just trying to comfort herself by self-soothing with her suckling. It is not uncommon in kittens.

    I appreciate you don't want her suckling your skin, but if you push her away or put her on the floor, it will feel like you, her substitute mum is rejecting her. She already must have felt rejected if she was taken from her cat mum too early in life, at a time when she still needed to suckle mum for comfort.

    So, find an object that is safe for her suckle on, perhaps a fleece blanket made for babies (as it will have no toxic dyes in it) and when she comes to suckle you, gently put the blanket between your skin and kitty's mouth. Don't put her on the floor, let her lie with you, or sit on your lap while she suckles her blanky, so she gets your warmth and feels your heart beat, as she would have done with her mum.

    Remember she is only a baby still. She may stop the suckling eventually, once she is an adult. But if not, it is not an issue, some cats do it all their lives.
  3. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

    May 31, 2010
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    I must be an odd b*gger :), Meeko my Raggie now 8 years old still has his suckling ritual every morning and I wouldn't dream of stopping him .
    He has done it since he was a baby and it is pretty clear he gets comfort from it.
    Okay he dribbles and makes a bit of a soggy mess but he is happy and not hurting anyone doing it.
  4. SuboJvR

    SuboJvR Joey’s Mummy

    Mar 28, 2018
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    There are specific toys you can get for teething which are supposed to be nice to chew on, which may be a good surrogate for your fingers. Joey never took to them though.

    I know it can be a bit worrisome if they get bitey but usually it’s gentle nibbles. Personally this doesn’t worry me, I am a soft touch though. Joey also was taken from mum too soon so I know he finds comfort in it - sometimes when we are playing he just gets his teeth out and play-bites - he has NEVER broken skin - and then he licks my hand and often starts to dose off. To be honest I’m just as bad as him as I do insist on tickling his tummy :D

    When he was a bit younger he went through much more of a nibble/aggressive phase and then, Kickeroo toys were our best friends. My feeling is that this died down after he got neutered.
  5. Rhea mother of Zeus

    Rhea mother of Zeus Snuggling my crazy boy

    May 8, 2018
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    Aw how sweet. My monster boy Zeus is almost 8 months and still suckles himself to sleep with me at night, but on the bedding. Maybe try substituting your fingers for a snuggly blanket?
  6. brownbell

    brownbell PetForums Newbie

    Nov 18, 2014
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    Our cat loves to suckle but only certain materials, bath robes, dressing gowns or onesies are medium of voice, he's 7 and we see no problem with it, he turns into.a baby again
  7. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

    Feb 27, 2011
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    I must be an odd bugger too. My Jasper suckled my fingers and nose for years. It didn’t hurt me and I just let him do it. He didn’t leave his mum till 13 weeks. Here’s a picture of him doing it:

    chillminx and buffie like this.
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