What do I do about a 12-week-old kitten sucking on private parts?

Our question this week was:

I hand raised (via bottle) 3 orphan male kittens from the age of about day 5. They are 12 weeks old now…weaned, healthy and great loving pets. I gave 2 away at age 8 weeks and kept one. He has started to suck on his “private parts” at night. Seems quite proud of himself. I try to discourage this behavior by distracting him but he keeps going back to what feels wonderful. Will this behavior stop when I have him neutered? Or is there something else I can do to stop this behavior?

Judy Temple

Answer

Hi Judy– thanks for your email and question. I’ve seen or heard about other kittens doing this or even sucking on littermates. I think it is a comfort thing – maybe like toddlers sucking their thumbs. There is no easy solution to correct this behavior. It will probably stop as the kitten gets older. Neutering may also help.

I recommend that you talk to your vet about it and see when he or she recommends neutering him.

In the meantime, you could use an e-collar that would allow him to eat and drink well but not reach his private parts. Maybe even doing this for a week or two can help break the cycle.

Also, make sure he has plenty of play time and stimulation. Laser pointers, crinkle balls and feathery flyers are favorites of many kittens.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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