Why Does My Kitten Suck on Blankets?

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Why Does My Kitten Suck on Blankets?

Do you ever look down at your adorable little kitten and see them making biscuits? And then you look down and see them sucking on blankets? It can be a confusing moment when you see your kitten sucking on a blanket. Especially If there is not extra food on that blanket.

If you are concerned about your kitten suckling on your blanket, fear not. There are a lot of reasons why kittens will suck on blankets or sweaters.

What is wool sucking?

Did you know that kittens suckling on a blanket actually have a name? It’s true. And it is called wool sucking. Wool sucking occurs when your cat sucks on a blanket or other fabric items, such as a sweater, bathmat, or carpet. Any cat can exhibit wool sucking, but it is most common in some breeds. Burmese cats, Siamese cats, and Oriental mixed breeds most often have kittens that will suckle on blankets. And while breeds do play a factor in wool sucking, young kittens are also more likely to suckle on the blankets and sweaters.

Why cats suck on blankets

Why do cats suck on blankets? One reason cats may suck on blankets is that they were weaned too early as kittens. Kittens that are orphaned or separated from their mothers too early are more likely to suck on blankets.  When a kitten is separated from its mother too soon, you may see the cat nursing on a blanket later to replicate the feeling of nursing. Especially if it is accompanied when kneading as kneading is very common in kittens. That is the motion kittens will do to get milk from their mothers. So those two together are a sign they were separated from their mothers too early.

You can prevent this type of suckling by allowing kittens to stay with their mothers until they are old enough to leave the nest.  This can be prevented by allowing kittens to stay with their mothers until they’re at least 8-10 weeks old. Even though cats are able to eat solid food at around 6 weeks of age, they may not be physically or emotionally ready to be separated from their mothers or littermates just yet.

If your cat wasn’t separated from their mother too early, then another potential cause could be stress related. A sudden change in your kitten’s environment can cause stress that can lead to regression. It can be something as big as moving to a new home, the arrival of a new baby, or even bringing another kitten into the home.

Separation anxiety is another stressor that might lead your cat to turn to wool sucking as a coping mechanism.

Finally, in extreme cases, dietary deficiencies or other underlying medical conditions can also increase the likelihood that your cat can suck on a blanket.

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How to discourage wool sucking

Wool sucking is not something that could cause you much concern for kittens. The only reason you would decide to discourage your kitten to stop suckling if you are concerned for your kitten’s well-being.

One way to decrease your cat’s urge to suck on blankets is to make sure they’re getting enough playtime. Playing with your cat regularly can distract them from their urge to suck on wool objects while simultaneously relieving stress. They need to know that whether it be stress or their lifestyle, you are there for them. You can even initiate playtime when you notice your cat is about to start sucking to divert their focus away from the behavior.

Another way you can help them is to take measures to ensure that your cat is adequately stimulated when you’re not at home. Consider getting your cat a food-dispensing toy, or rotating your cat’s toys every 1 to 3 days to increase usage. Some kittens have had great success with automatic laser pointers. While others enjoy enhancing their environmental. You can do that by providing a cat tree or scratching post so that your cat can displace anxiety through climbing or scratching.

When to call the vet

In some cats, wool sucking is just occasional. As long as it’s only happening every once in a while.  Or the cat isn’t chewing or ingesting the material, it’s okay to allow them to continue sucking.

However, if you notice the behavior is starting to impact your kittens mental health, it may be worth consulting with a veterinarian or cat behavior expert. It’s also good to make sure the behavior isn’t a symptom of an underlying medical cause.

There may be adjustments you can make to your cat’s diet as well. Increasing the amount of fiber in their diet can cause them to feel fuller and may help reduce their urge to suck on or ingest fabrics. Discuss these changes with your veterinarian only in extreme cases. No need to cause additional stress on your cat unless it’s absolutely necessary.

 

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