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Why Do Cats Suckle? Surprising Facts!

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Cat Suckling

Do you have a cat? If so, you may have noticed that your cat likes to suck on things from time to time. Believe it or not, there is a reason why cats do this! In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why cats suckle and what it means for their health. Cats suckle to relieve stress, seek attention, and more. Stay tuned to learn more!

Top 6 Reasons Cats Suckle:

1. Stress

One of the reasons why cats suckle is because they are trying to relieve stress. When cats are stressed, they may turn to suckle as a way to comfort themselves. If your cat has been sucking on things more than usual, it may be a sign that they are feeling stressed and need some extra attention from you.


2. Attention Seeking

Another reason why cats suckle is that they are trying to get your attention. If you have been ignoring your cat or spending less time with them, they may start sucking on things as a way to get your attention. Cats can be loving, even needy creatures and they need plenty of love and attention from their owners!


3. Comfort and Happiness

Cats may also suckle for comfort and happiness. If your cat is feeling content, they may start to suck on their toys or blanket as a way of showing how happy they are. This is usually nothing to worry about and is simply your cat’s way of expressing themselves.


4. Health Issues

Sometimes, cats will suck on things because they have a health issue. If your cat starts sucking on things out of the blue, it may be a sign that they are having some sort of dental or gastrointestinal problem. If this is the case, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible to get them checked out.


5. Hunger

Cats, especially kittens, may suck on things because they are hungry. If your cat is suckling more than usual, it may be a sign that they are not getting enough to eat or that they are trying to tell you that they are hungry. If you think your cat may be hungry, try giving them some extra food or treats.

himalayan cat white eating hepper nom nom bowl

6. Early Weaning

Finally, some cats may suck on things because they were weaned from their mother’s milk too early. If a kitten is weaned before they are eight weeks old, they may start to suck on things as a way to replace the milk that they are no longer getting. If you think this may be the case with your cat, you should talk to your vet about it.

What to Do If You Notice Your Cat Suckling

If you notice that your cat is suckling more than usual, there are a few things you can do to help them. First, try to provide them with plenty of love and attention. If they are seeking your attention, give them the time and affection they need. You can also try giving them some new toys or food puzzles to keep their mind occupied. Finally, if you think they may have a health issue, take them to the vet right away.

Each cat is an individual and they all have their own reasons for suckling on things. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Luckily, a loving relationship with your cat will help you recognize the signs and symptoms of a sick kitty. Most of the time, suckling is nothing to worry about, especially in kittens and young cats.

Cat playing with a cat chew toy
Image Credit: kou2341, Shutterstock

Keeping Suckling Cats Safe

If you have a cat that suckles on things, there are a few things you can do to keep them safe. First, make sure they have plenty of toys and scratching posts to keep their mind occupied. Second, try to keep them well-fed so they don’t start sucking out of hunger. Third, make sure your cat isn’t suckling on anything they could choke on, like fringe or loose yarn. Finally, if they are weaned too early, talk to your vet about it and see if there is anything you can do to help. Never go back to bottle feeding a weaned cat unless your vet recommends it. It could worsen the suckling behavior.

Conclusion

Suckling is a completely normal self-soothing behavior that most cats grow out of. Still, for some cats, it can sometimes be a sign of a problem. If you notice your cat sucking more than usual, take the time to figure out why they are doing it. Once you know the reason, you can help them with whatever issue they may be having. If you are concerned about your cat’s suckling behavior, talk to your vet and see what they recommend. The solution could be as simple as more cuddles.

+Sources
  • https://vethelpdirect.com/vetblog/2021/09/05/why-do-kittens-suck-on-blankets/#:~:text=This%20behaviour%20is%20used%20as,calm%20down%20and%20feel%20better.
  • https://blog.petwellbeing.com/3-reasons-for-your-cats-newfound-blanket-sucking-habit
  • https://cattitudedaily.com/why-do-cats-suck-on-blankets/
 

Featured Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

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