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Kitten Trying to Nurse on People

April 25, 2021

My cat is 7 and she has suckled me from the day I got her. She wakes me up in the middle of the night. I think she just wants cuddles from her mum. Is this normal?


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April 25, 20210 found this helpful
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I had a cat that did this too (on the belt of my robe). The vet told me it can happen for three reasons (1) weaned too young, (2) some breeds, such as Siamese, have this tendency (3) lack of playtime. If the behavior is rewarded, it will continue. So, in your case I might advise removing the favorite blanket and spending more time gently teasing your cat with string and other items she can use her mouth on to displace some of this energy. Plus give lots of cuddles outside of bedtime if possible. Good luck!

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April 25, 20211 found this helpful
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You mention '7' - is this 7 years old?
If this is years and it has continued from a young age, I can see no way to stop this now.
I cannot see what harm it does as see is sleeping with you and I feel sure she considers you to be her 'mum'.

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If this is only happening at odd times then she must need some sort of comforting so keep her sane and let her be.

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 425 Answers
April 26, 20210 found this helpful
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Most times this happens is because the kitten was weaned too young. Doing this helps the cat feel more secure. I had a grown cat that did this when she was on my lap or in my arms, and she would suckle on any buttons on my clothing. leaving big wet marks around the button. She never woke me in the night though.

As a side note: she never weighed more than 7 pounds and would frequently chase my neighbor's Rottweiler and German Shepard out of my yard and down the street back to their house...

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it was hysterical to watch those two great big dogs running down the street with their tails tucked and looking over their shoulders!!!!! I guess bigger doesn't necessarily mean braver.

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 440 Answers
April 27, 20211 found this helpful
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Don't be alarmed, adult cats suckle because performing this behavior can provide them comfort.
The most common cause of suckling in cats is early separation from their mothers and littermates. Kittens should stay with their mothers until they reach around 12 weeks of age. If they are separated earlier than 12 weeks, they can develop compulsive behaviors, including suckling, later in life.

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Oriental cat breeds are more prone to adult cat suckling than North American or European cat breeds, for example Tonkinese, Siamese and Balinese.

Ignore, redirect or prevent this behavior as calmly as possible. Don't scold your cat or punish her, because this will only serve to increase her anxiety and can cause her to fear you.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 2, 2020

I recently got a puppy (male, 5 months) in addition to a kitten (male, 11 weeks; I was told). I noticed last night that he was trying to nurse off of our puppy. He cries constantly until he starts suckling again. He's made my puppy's belly raw in spots.

Sometimes my dog allows it, other times not. I've tried little bottles of water and stuffed animals, etc. Why is my kitten suckling still? And why on my dog but nothing else?

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December 2, 20200 found this helpful
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It sounds like the kitten was taken away from his mother too soon. You might try getting a kitten bottle and giving him the special kitten milk that's available at the grocery store. Definitely DO NOT give him regular cow's milk!

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I bought the bottle from Amazon. Also, see if there's a kitten pacifier available at a pet store.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
December 3, 20200 found this helpful
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Your kitten's behavior is normal kitten behavior and it can be it was weaned too soon or is anxious or is just finding comfort in the act.

If it continues into after a year of age, then talk to the vet as there could be other things going on.

Please protect the dog by keeping them separate since it is making the pup's skin raw. That is the bigger concern here is the pup could end up with an infection which could be serious so please do everything possible to keep them separated until the kitty's behavior is outgrown.

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You can give the kitten safe toys to play with to distract it, or offer a treat to distract it and also offer lots of positive attention and play time with you or another human in the house. It may try to nurse on your fingers or toes so just be aware, you will want to dissuade that behavior also.

Post back with an update.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
December 4, 20200 found this helpful
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I think that the person you rescued the kitten from was given this kitten when it was very young and was taken from the mom. In some cases, people throw small kittens on the road and they are rescued and taken to a shelter where they will hand feed the kitten and find it a good home. This sounds like what has happened with your cat. That is why it cries so much and sucks on your dog.

Many experts agree that this can be a problem and it is a good idea to curb this. They suggest that you make a good street free environment for the kitten. Make sure you have plenty of boxes, toys, or other items there for the kitten to play with. The young cat needs plenty of love, attention, and needs to feel safe.

Don't just let the cat play alone all the time. You should play with the cat as much as possible. The dog is a good playmate but the cat should not always find the comfort it needs from sucking on the belly of your dog. This could be dangerous for the dog and could cause an infection. Try getting a small cat three and some really entertaining toys for the cat to play with. Introduce the toys and play with the cat to make sure the cat gets interested in these toys.

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December 8, 20200 found this helpful
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This does happen quite often but I feel sure it can be frustrating.
I believe you may have to pay close attention to the kitten for a while to make sure he is not doing harm to the puppy.
the puppy is too young to know what is going on so you will have to be his protector.
I remember reading something about this on Caesar's site (dog whisperer) and he mentioned trying to distract the kitten and the dog as much as possible. He said sometime just a touch on the butt could distract them but I kinda feel both your pets are to young for this to help.
I feel sure the kitten was taken away from the mother too soon and misses the loving a mother cat gives her kittens. Sometimes you can give them a little more attention and this may help to break this need to suckle.

I know some friends that use something 'bitter' that they place on the puppy and it does not taste good to the kitten so they will not nurse. I'm not sure about this as I have never used it but you can read about it.
www.amazon.com/.../B087HJ6199?tag=bornforpets-20&linkCode... (Affiliate Link)

Maybe if you could keep them apart for several hours, especially at night, this might also help.
I feel sorry for the puppy and the kitten as both are so young and do not really have any control over what is going on.
There are lots of sites online about this but maybe one of these might have some suggestions you could try.
www.mypetneedsthat.com/.../
bornforpets.com/.../

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October 13, 2020

My 5 month old kitty nurses on my lip. Every single day. I wake up to her like clock work at 6 am doing it. She does it throughout the day. She does it at night. If I put her down, she meows at me and follows me until I pick her up.

I got her at 8 weeks. She's been doing it for 3 months. It doesn't bother me. I'm just curious. She purrs the whole time laying on my chest kneading my face

A cat nursing on a woman's lip.
 

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
October 13, 20200 found this helpful
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Normally this will happen if the kitten is taken from the mother too soon or was abandoned and a person had to hand feed the kitten. The sucking is like a safety for the kitten because she was weaned too early from the mother. Normally by the time she is 5 months old, this should have stopped. I read that this does not bother you but you should try and break her of this habit. Try giving her some toys to play with or to suck on and not allow her to suck on you like this.

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October 17, 20200 found this helpful
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Seems like she did not get to love her true 'Mum' long enough to satisfy her need and has now adopted you to take her place.
Vets usually see no harm in this but should not encourage it.

Probably not a good idea to let this continue for a long time but try to find a way to gently move her to something else. Sometimes a 'moving' toy will help distract her.
Here is an article that explains other ways to wean a kitten of this behavior.

www.cuteness.com/.../suckling-behavior-cat

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September 17, 2020

I have an 8 week old kitten who was born here. She is the sweetest thing, but she has started nursing on me. She doesn't now on some blankets and clothing, but she will try to get under my shirt and nurse my stomach.

She has never done that before and won't nurse on mom. Ever since the 3 kittens were born I have had to step in because the mother cat had complications during birth and wanted very little to do with the kittens.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
September 17, 20200 found this helpful
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This sometimes happens to mother cats when there is a difficult birth, and the mother cat leaves the kittens too soon. So the kittens tend to respond to you. They see you as the mom. This is very common. If you want to help, be sure to check with a Vet, for care of this fur family to make sure the needs are met. - www.thesprucepets.com/cat-wont-feed-newborn-kittens-554851

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
September 17, 20200 found this helpful
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I have seen this happen with animals when the mother can't take care of the babies and you need to help out. I had to help out with the 3 puppies I had here and 2 of them are almost 3 years old and still are so attached to me and won't leave my side. The best thing you can do right now for the cat is to scold her or take her away from your stomach and discourage her from this act. I would try and find some small cat toys you can get her interested in and when she starts to do this give her one of the toys to play with. She should stop this soon and normally by the time they are 10 to 12 weeks old this should stop all together.

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December 28, 2017

Our 4 month old kitten insists on suckling my husband's chest every time he is near. I don't want it to turn in to an obsessive habit so I tell my husband to gently push him away or blow in his face and my husband thinks it's mean so he always gives in and let's him do it.

Will our cat always do this or will he eventually outgrow it? He's been suckling for about a month and he left his mom at 6 weeks. It bothers me that my husband allows it instead of trying to break the habit.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
December 29, 20170 found this helpful
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A lot of time this happens because the cat was taken away from his mother too early. Normally it is better to leave the babies with their mom until they are around 8 to 10 weeks old. However, people think it is fine to separate the baby and the mother at 6 weeks old. This is why your kitten is sucking. He needs comfort and will soon outgrow this. I know it bothers you, but your husband seems fine with this. Sooner or later your husband will grow tired of this and make the cat stop.

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June 26, 2009

The orphaned kitty I got about 3 weeks ago loves to suck on me. It doesn't matter if it is my elbow or knee. I am hoping to take care of this matter now so that he doesn't continue it into adulthood. I need all the help I can get because it is hard to give him any lovin' when he is doing this.

By joanne from New Port Richey, FL

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June 26, 20091 found this helpful

This is common. One of my cats used to do the same thing when he was a kitten, but he would suck on my t-shirt, especially at night after going to bed. I designated a special t-shirt for him, which I kept in the bed. Eventually he started going directly to his t-shirt, and then outgrew the habit altogether.

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February 13, 2017

I have had a kitten(stray) since she was 2 weeks old. Her mother had 5 kittens all together, she took away 3 and left behind 2. Unfortunately one kitten passed away and I decided to keep "Oreo". I took her to the vet and started giving her KMR milk replacement. Now she's 6 weeks, I started giving her wet kitten food (soaking Whiskas chunks till they become soft enough to mash up). A week ago I stopped the bottle completely, but she still tries to suckle on her food.

And instead of lapping up milk she puts her entire mouth in and suckles as well as nurses on my hands whenever she gets the chance to. I'm worried she will never learn to stop suckling as she was left by her mother too young and doesn't have any other kittens or cats around her to help her learn. I even tried making her watch cat videos. What should I do?

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August 8, 2011

How do I stop my cat sucking my ear?

By Bianca P

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April 7, 2019

Before you say she was taken away from her mother too early she was with the mom until 12 weeks of age. It needs to stop or I'm giving her away since she's hurting her sibling!


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September 21, 2010

Why does my kitten suck on me?

By kayla from Canada, On

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September 8, 2011

I have a kitten about ten weeks old who is guaranteed to dry nurse me whenever I pick him up. I have tried telling him off firmly and blowing in his face. Even when I put something over my lap, he roots around until he finds an exposed part of my top (if not, he resorts to my bottoms). He will bite my arms if I put them there to block him and sits at my feet shouting if I put him down.

I want him to feel loved, but this is really bothering me. Please help!

By Noye

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May 24, 2019

I have an 11 week old kitten and he is suckling. When he does it, it is mostly when he is tired. During the day he doesn't do it as much, but at night he keeps on. I have to cover my shirt with my blanket and that's the only way for getting him to stop.

Any ideas on how to get him to stop? When I got him I was told he was 6 weeks old. But I found out when he was born and he was like 5 weeks old. I need help; it is annoying to me.

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