How can I get my kitten to stop suckling on my stuff?

Cats

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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra - I have a kitten she is about 7 or 8 weeks old and like to suckle on blankets or my shirt or anything she can paw really I wanted to know why she does it and how can I stop her from doing it please.

Jo Robertson

Answer

Hi Jo– thanks for your email. Your kitten sounds cute. You wrote that your 7 or 8-week-old kitten is suckling on your stuff and you wonder how to make it stop.

That is a difficult behavior to stop. You can try rewarding your kitten's behavior when she is not suckling but she may be a a little young for this. I don't think punishment when you catch her doing it is the right approach either.

The easiest thing to do is to direct the behavior to something you find acceptable. I've had cats that like lambs wool – so you could direct that behavior to an item such as that. She is really just being a kitten and trying to find some comfort.

An article that might be helpful to you is Wool sucking. This article may be interesting but it is directed toward older cats that continue this behavior.

Many kittens suckle things but most stop as they mature. It is probably similar to sucking your thumb as a kid. Most kittens grow out of it. Like I mentioned above, the easiest thing might be to direct the behavior to one particular item that you find acceptable.

When she goes to sleep, you can put her on that item and pet her, coo at her and if she wants to suckle, she can.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra



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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.