Friday, December 8, 2023

Why Do Cats Knead And Suckle

Don't Miss

Why Does Your Cat Suck On Blankets

Why Do Cats Knead?

Weve already discussed that kittens are most likely to suckle due to their weaning experience, but there are quite a few other reasons for cat blanket sucking that we should explore. If you understand why your cat wants to suck blankets, you will able to resolve the cause, which is much more important than simply stopping them. After all, you may even find that the behavior is actually the expression of something positive, rather than something negative that needs to be fixed.

  • Habit

An adult cat may suck blankets out of habit from when they were young, possibly because they were removed from their mother too early. This isnt much to worry about, however, as, if they no longer need to be weaned, a habit is just a habit. As long as they are not digesting any of the fabric, and you dont mind them ruining your blanket, there is no harm in your cat sucking at it.

  • Relaxation

Similarly, your cat may continue to suck on blankets, or even pick up the habit, simply because it is comforting. If your cat usually sucks blankets when they are happy, content or relaxing, such as chilling on your lap or while falling asleep, the behavior is probably not a problem, and is, in fact, a pleasure. You may still want to do something about it if you have concerns about pica, but you could also leave them to enjoy their blanket sucking time.

  • Their Breed
  • Their Environment
  • Anxiety
  • Bereavement
  • Pain

Theyre Making Their Beds

Some cat behaviorists also believe that kneading could be a leftover instinct from their days as wild cats. Kneading may be an instinct that harkens back to when wild cats would pat down tall grass or shredded leaves to make a soft, warm bed for sleeping or giving birth. Through the ages, the behavior continues to a natural part of cat instinct before settling down for a comfortable catnap.

Should You Worry About Your Cat Kneading And Biting A Blanket

In general, this seemingly odd behavior is harmless. In most instances, your pet is probably just relaxing or remembering his younger days. In isolation, you should not worry much about this feline behavior.

However, there are situations when this behavior is a sign of behavioral issues. For example, if your cat spends most of his waking moments doing this behavior while neglecting other activities, it may be a sign that your cat is dealing with a psychological problem.

It is also possible that your cat is displaying this behavior to cope with boredom. That means that your pet is not stimulated physically and mentally. To solve this issue, you should carve out time to play with your pet.

Finally, your cat may be suckling and kneading on a blanket to relieve himself from the dental pain that he is experiencing. Cats are known to be masters of hiding pain they are dealing with.

Apart from these underlying psychological and physical red flags, you should also keep a close eye on your cat while he is displaying this behavior.

If he is biting and kneading an old blanket, there is a risk that he can swallow string. Undetected, this can lead to the blockage of your cats digestive tract.

Furthermore, some cats are allergic to certain types of fabrics. If you do not mind your cat sucking and kneading on a blanket, give him another one that is made out of a cat-friendly fabric. Fabric allergy can manifest itself in the form of the following symptoms:

Recommended Reading: Is Blue Buffalo Good Cat Food

Why Do Cats Like Wool

Its a common cliché that cats enjoy chasing a ball of wool. This sparks their hunting instincts its like an organic laser pointer or chasing after a piece of string. As discussed, cats chewing on static wool may be a form of kneading and suckling behavior.

Wool is soft and comforting. This will mean that a cat will enjoy sucking and kneading a blanket or wool rug. However, there may also be a medical condition that encourages this behavior.

According to the BSAVA Manual of Feline Practice, pica is a psychological condition that results in a desire to eat non-food items. If your cat moves from kneading and sucking a blanket to eating the blanket, this poses various health risks.

Your cat may end up blocking its digestive tract or choking. If your cat is trying to eat wool, it may be lacking essential nutrients elsewhere.

Another reason why a cat may be drawn to wool is that they lack stimulation. Cats like to chew for entertainment, even after they outgrow the teething phase. This is why so many cat toys are chewable.

If your cat has started to chew wool, you should play with it more and ensure that it gets more exercise. It may be frustrated with being an indoor cat if it had previously wandered the neighborhood at will.

Chewing is a favorite way of passing the time. If your cat has plenty of things to keep it occupied, its far less likely to resort to chewing.

Should I Be Concerned

cat: Cat Kneading Blanket

A cat will likely knead blankets throughout its life. This is a natural feline behavior. It will find it fun, as well as functional. Just be a little careful about allowing your cat to knead.

Your cat may relax in your lap and start kneading to demonstrate affection and contentment. It doesnt realize that its claws can become painful if they dig into human skin.

In isolation, sucking on blankets is also nothing to worry about. Seeking comfort doesnt mean that your cat is anxious or unhappy.

Dont let your cat repeat this process with anything dangerous. Some cats may attempt to suck shoelaces and shopping bags, for example, leaving them at risk of swallowing plastic.

Also, be aware that most cats outgrow suckling behavior after the second year of their life. Thats not to say that an adult cat will never do it again, just that it will become a less frequent habit.

If your cat sucks blankets while overeating and playing, this suggests that it has an anxiety disorder. As cats do not enjoy expressing vulnerability, they will not seek human help to deal with this issue.

Instead, they prefer to self-soothe. Again, if this happens every now and again, it is fine. If its constant and at the expense of all other daily activities, it may be a psychological issue.

Also Check: Why Does My Cat Touch Me With Her Paw

Pet Parents And Cats That Knead Them

When trying to figure out why cats knead your leg, the dog, blankets, and other soft things, it may seem as if theyre being affectionate. They are showing affection, but for them its more of a self-comforting act. Thats why they also manipulate inanimate objects.

However, they do look to you for their needs and their kneads too! Its kittys way of saying, you make me feel comfortable, safe, and secure, and I love and trust you. Kitty sure wouldnt knead the leg of someone he or she didnt trust.

Do all cats purr while kneading? Most cats do, but some also meow. Check out Butters happily kneading, meowing, and purring up a storm.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Sucking On Blankets Or Other Fabric

So, what should you do if your cat is suckling on blankets or other fabric and youre concerned about it? First, youll need to get to the root of the stresses in her life and try to resolve them. Add vertical and horizontal territory for your cat, use interactive play as a tool to help her gain confidence. Perhaps even talk to your vet, who may prescribe a short course of anti-anxiety medication.

Tell us: Have you ever wondered Why do cats suck blankets? Do you think its cute or icky? Do you know what caused it? What, if anything, did you do about it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Thumbnail: Photography by hamacle/Thinkstock.

Read Also: What Was Hp Lovecrafts Cats Name

Heres What Im Going To Do About Kitten Suckling

Most of what Ive read say to me that kitten suckling is not a bad thing. It seems that Norton is getting comfort, and hes not acting like hes doing it from stress. The site is not infected, as my vet pointed out, and were keeping an eye on that. The frequency of suckling gradually seems to be diminishing. And if were playing with Norton, or snuggling, suckling seems to be far from his mind. So Ill wait it out, and see what happens. In my situation, Im not worried. Norton seems happy and not stressed or compulsive.

In short and the ASPCA article worded this in a helpful way if the kitten suckling is interfering with your cats quality of life, then its time to seek help. If your cat is damaging his skin, or the skin of another, or seems to be suckling as a kind of stress response, seek help. Get the help of a certified cat behaviorist or your veterinarian.

Tell us: Have you ever had a suckling cat or suckling kitten? What did you do about kitten suckling? Let us know in the comments!

The Causes Of Cat Or Kitten Suckling

Why Does My Cat KNEAD Me? Origin and Meanings

The causes of kitten suckling can include being separated from mom too early. Ideally, kittens should not be weaned from mom earlier than six weeks. But according to ASPCA information online, cat or kitten suckling can also be a sign of stress, compulsive behavior, or even just happiness or contentment. Its a hard behavior to nail down.

You May Like: Eggs Safe For Cats

Is This Habit One That Needs To Be Broken

In many cases, pet owners believe that blanket sucking is a habit they need to break. In reality, blanket sucking is not inherently dangerous for cats unless they begin to ingest the fabric and experience gastrointestinal upset or blockages. Additionally, if the behavior is tied to behavioral disorders or severe anxiety, the underlying problem should be addressed for many more reasons aside from the blanket sucking habit itself.

If your cats sucking habit is causing destruction or leading to health problems, youll want to try and curb the habit as early as possible. To do this, youll first need to ensure all their needs are being met. If it persists, try to divert your cats attention by playing with toys or by introducing a safer item for them to suck or chew on. If your cat prefers to suck or chew on one item in particular, try keeping it out of reach so your cat cannot access it. However, avoid removing the item from the cat if they are sucking on it to avoid causing additional stress.

With that said, unless your cats sucking habit is bad for them or your belongings, you can let your kitties soothe themselves in the ways they like best!

Do Cats Knead To Tell Us That They Are Happy Or That They Love Us

None of us have to be actual research scientists to agree that many kneading cats appear relaxed and happy. Cats who knead while they are being petted are obviously enjoying our attentions. Closed eyes and contented purring are further signs that they are relishing the moment.

Some resources suggest that cats knead to show you that they are happy or to tell you that they love you.

Do cats intend to communicate with us about their inner emotions? Do they want us to understand them more deeply? Are they worried about our feelings? Are they searching for the tools to express themselves to us in the absence of spoken language?

Of course, we dont truly know the mind of another human being, let alone the mind of an individual from another species. We do know that cats communicate with us about very concrete things, like their need for food or attention. But Ill leave it to you to decide if you think your cats have more profound thoughts than that, that they are trying to convey.

I think its more important to consider what a kneading cat is inadvertently telling you by kneading on your lap and by falling into a gentle slumber afterward. He is telling you, I choose you. I feel safe around you. I can relax around you. And that, my kitty-loving friends, is about as good as it gets.

Recommended Reading: How Often Do Cats Lose Whiskers

Why Does My Cat Knead Me But Not My Husband

Cats are very particular with scents and one reason she kneads you is that shes drawn to your scent and it makes her calm and relaxed. It could be your natural scent or maybe youre wearing a particular cologne or perfume that your pet cat particularly likes thats why she kneads you and not your husband.

Why Do Cats Knead And Suckle On Me

Why Do Cats Knead And Bite Blankets

The suckling or nursing on cloth is a little more interesting. Adult cats that do this a lot appear to be those cats that were taken away from their mothers before they should have been, and weaned too early. Usually at a very young age. Suckling and kneading at the same time gives cats lots of comfort.

Recommended Reading: Is Blue Buffalo Good Cat Food

Why Cats Knead Their Owners

What if your cat likes to knead peoplenamely, you? If your cat is curled up and kneading your lap while youre petting him, hes returning the affection and telling you he loves you right back.

Unfortunately, this can be quite painful, since the happier he is, the harder hell dig in with his sharp nails. Never punish your cat for this behaviorhe doesn’t realize it hurts.

Try placing a thick, soft barrier between your cat and your lap. To better ensure the comfort of both you and your cat, make a habit of keeping your cat’s nails trimmed with nail clippers, or invest in nail guards to cover your cat’s nails.

A Sigh Of Relaxation And Happiness:

One must observe its pet when they are kneading the blanket. They feel totally relaxed and at peace. This is a way for them to feel happy.

That is why you will notice that a cat does purr while kneading. They are letting all their stress out and try to feel contented. This brings them happiness and joy.

You May Like: How Old Is A 12 Year Old Cat

Why Does My Kitten Pretend To Be Nursing

The most important thing to understand is that cats use body language to communicate with their peers, with other animals and also with their human companions. We can notice different behaviors, postures or facial expressions depending on the emotion they experience in each situation, stimuli in their environment and the message they want to convey. It is important not to reprimand cats for enacting natural feline behaviors.

If cat guardians wonder why their cat pretends to be nursing, this usually refers to the habit of kneading that some adult cats perform, as if they were preparing to extract milk from their mother’s breasts. As we explained in detail in the article on why does my cat knead me?, kneading is an instinctive behavior of cats that comes from the neonatal period of their development.

When they are newborns and have not yet opened their eyes, kittens are entirely dependent on their mothers for survival and nourishment, as they can only consume their mother’s milk and have very limited sensory capabilities and mobility. The “kneading” movement during this period plays a key role in stimulating the production of colostrum which then becomes milk. The kittens exert light pressure on their mother’s mammary glands, opening and closing their fingers to activate and retract their small claws. In this way, they encourage the production and release of milk essential for their development and a strong immune system.

What Is Kitten Suckling

Why Do Cats Knead? | Blue Cross Pet Advice

This necessary action is performed when newborn kittens nurse as a means to stimulate their mothers milk supply. Additionally, a kitten will suckle when separated from their mothers too early. This, among other reasons, is why it is suggested that a kitten is to remain with his/her mother until 8 weeks of age.

When this kitten suckling occurs, it is often done on soft items, i.e. blankets or towels. Kittens and cats may also attempt to suckle on you, their humans. Typically this kitten behavior is perfectly harmless and used as a way to further relax themselves. And we often see it as silly and dont think too much of it assuming that our kittens will grow out of it.

But, in some instances where a kitten has found themselves away from their mother and placed into a high stress environment, a kitten might suckle as a nervous habit in hopes to relieve their intense stress levels. And worse, these stressed out kitties can suckle each other and potentially harm their littermates.

Cheryl Edwards, founder of the Catsifier, says:

If the cats are in a humane society situation or a cat rescue, there are a lot of kittens there, and they will suckle on each otherIve heard of cases where theyve had to put the kittens to sleep because they do so much damage. Sometimes cute sometimes its life threatening.

You May Like: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat Food

Why Do Cats Knead And Suckle

Krieger explains that cat kneading often accompanies wool sucking and cat nursing and is another self-comforting behavior. For example, kittens knead when they are nursing to help stimulate their mothers milk production. When they knead, they are activating these glands and leaving their scent.

Kneading may seem strange, but it is an entirely normal activity for our feline friends. Kneading during nursing Kneading may be a leftover behavior from kittenhood when kittens would knead during nursing, and that comforting feeling continues into adulthood. Kneading to develop a resting place Similar to the theory regarding dogs turning in circles before lying down, kneading may help cats create a soft sleeping place. Your cat has scent glands in her paws, and scratching and kneading deposits her scent, letting other animals know she was there. Kneading may seem like an adorable behavior, but it can be uncomfortable if your cat kneads with her claws out. If your cat uses her claws while kneading, consider placing a special Kneading-only, thick blanket on your lap that will protect you and indicate to your cat that she is only allowed to knead on that blanket. Your cats kneading is a normal feline activity, and one of the many ways we celebrate and bond with these unique, mysterious creatures.

More articles

Popular Articles

Wet Cat Food For Kidney Disease

40 Lb Bag Of Cat Food