Kitten Trying to Nurse on Owner's Arm

I have two 3 month old kittens both are brothers and I moved to Kentucky from Illinois. Before I came I got rid of the mother and two other kittens. Well I have been here in Kentucky for a month now and I have noticed that one of my kittens has started this strange behavior of sucking on my arms.


My husband says I need to stop it, but he seems to be so content when he does it. After so long it starts to hurt because he kneads also. My question is does he think that I am his mom? He doesn't suck on anyone but me. And what can I use to stop him?

By Chevette

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September 4, 20100 found this helpful

If yours are anything like mine it's going to be a long battle.
I have a cat that I got when he was 8 weeks old. He'll turn 1 on 9/11 (I know, great birthday, huh?) He doesn't suck on my arms, but he does suck on my clothes. Only the ones I have on at the time. It's been a running battle with him ever since we got him. He doesn't do it as much anymore, but anytime he's in my lap or laying on me I have to be alert to it.


I tap him on the nose with a really strong "don't suck!". If he does it a second time I make him get down.
He's stubborn as anything, but he's getting it.

Good luck with your two. And yes, they may seem contented when they are doing it, but it's a bad habit to let them continue. By the way, mine doesn't suck on anyone else but me either. He's very definitely "my cat" and not my husband's, although he will lay in my husband's lap too. But the sucking is reserved just for me. Lucky me! LOL

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September 7, 20100 found this helpful

I have worked for a Veterinarian for over 27 years. Your cat is still suckling because he was weaned too soon. Please get a small soft stuffed animal and make it his baby. He will grown out of this stage but for now it is very comforting.

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September 7, 20100 found this helpful

We have enjoyed the company of cats and kittens in our home all my life. I'll be 76 in January. The


only cats who ever did any of the sucking as you described are the ones who for whatever reason didn't get enough sucking when they were babies.

Very much like children who either need their bottle longer, a pacifier or end up sucking their thumbs (sometimes for all their adult lives even) as a substitute, the kittens didn't receive enough "maternal nurturing". I have a young friend right now in her 20's who has 2 children, and she sucks her thumb while giving her baby his bottle. It might sound disgusting, and it may have just become a habit, but it's kinda sad to me. I feel so sorry for the people and animals who must still be suffering in a way that we don't really understand what to do for other than to offer the little animals some sort of substitute as K9Cats said. What would you give to a 26 year old woman though? She's tried so hard to quit, she says, but then she gets so nervous, can't sleep etc. It's really sad, I think.


Our son adopted a little kitten who'd been taken from his mother when he was less than a day old. They had to agree with the Humane Society about the care he'd need before they were allowed to give the Humane Society the $85 to bring the little fella home. For the first two weeks, it was around the clock feeding and medicating every 2 hours, then every 4 hours for another 3 weeks. Luckily, their schedule allowed them to do that, and he lived and grew and will be 2 years old this November. Tyson (boy oh boy, did he ever earn his name) still goes to sleep sucking a bite of his fleecy blanket on the foot of my bed. He wants to be close to our Sir Catty-Kit who will be 6 years old in Feb.

Kit does what I call the "Stomp-Mama Dance" on either me or my husband when he wants to go to bed at night. (Another reader called it "Making Muffins" which I think is adorable). Tyson wants to be close to Kit, but he drags his fleecy blanket over with him.


Animals are just like people for the most part. Some are traumatically damaged when they're babies in one way or another. We either have to accept them and their small idiosyncrasies or there's always the chance we could further traumatize them.

Give the little animals who need it something to cuddle with, suck on and keep giving it to them so that they eventually accept it without destroying what life that's left in them. They can't help what happened to them anymore than human babies can help what went on in their infancy.

We always have to think what they would do if the situation were reversed. I believe they would take care of us no matter how troubled we might be for as long as they could.

I do my best to speak for them since they are unable to speak for themselves.


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September 7, 20100 found this helpful

I completely agree with Pookarina and K9cats!

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September 8, 20100 found this helpful

Your kitten will outgrow this. Right now he's looking for his mother's comfort.


Do not force him away! When he begins to hurt you, gently redirect his energy to something else, like a stuffed animal.

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