Cats are known for their quirky behavior that boggles every feline owner. However, if you’re taking care of a kitten, you might ask why do kittens suck on blankets?
This behavior is expected with kittens, and it’s the cat version of a human baby sucking their thumb. The warm fuzzy blanket reminds them of their mom, and this action releases feel-good hormones to help them during stressful situations.
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What Causes This Behavior
1. Seeking Comfort
A kitten suckles on their mom for nutrition, which helps them bond and releases oxytocin.
When they grow up, the kitten will find a replacement for the feel-good hormones they got during kittenhood. So, it is possible the kitten thinks the blanket is its mom because of the fuzzy warmth.
2. Cat Breed
Some cats suck on blankets more than other breeds. If you have a Siamese, Tonkinese, Birman, Balinese, Javanese, Oriental shorthair, and Oriental longhair, it’s not a surprise if your kittens nibble on blankets often.
3. Coping Mechanism
Suckling kittens are usually normal, but it can also mean that your pet is stressed. If kittens are prematurely separated from their mother, you can expect the kittens to nibble on blankets.
If it’s a new behavior that lasts for a long time, your cat is experiencing continual stress. Determine other sources of stress such as new environments, new pets or people, and triggering activities such as baths.
If you are asking this question, “Why does my cat lick my blanket and purr?” It may be a good sign that your feline friend is comfortable around you.
When your cats knead and suckle, they are showing their vulnerable side. They feel secure with you if they do this around you or on your lap.
5. For their teeth
Like human babies, growing and developing or falling milk teeth may irritate your pets. Your kitten trying to nurse on a blanket may help them cope with the irritation and the pain.
6. Medical Condition
Eating indigestible items such as fabric or wool can be a symptom of Pica. So if you see your cat biting a blanket and eating them, have your pet checked by a veterinarian to avoid further health complications.
7. Scent Marking
Your cat may nip your blanket in order to disperse their scent. To feel safer, they emit fragrance from their scent glands on those locations that are meant to be their territories.
Is Sucking a Blanket a Good or Bad Habit
You don’t need to be alarmed when your cats nurse on blankets. Most of the time, your kitten will outgrow the habit. It can even serve as a suitable coping mechanism in unavoidable stressful events.
However, you need to ensure your kitten trying to nurse on a blanket doesn’t develop Pica syndrome. You can take the kitty to the vet if you find it struggling and biting aggressively.
Tips to Stop Kittens Sucking on Blankets
If you’re worried and asking, “when do kittens stop suckling” most of the time, kittens outgrow this behavior.
However, if it gets excessive, you can get a cat to stop nursing on blankets using these methods.
- Ensure your cat can’t reach the blanket and other similar objects. – Remove any soft objects that will enforce your cat’s habit.
- Provide alternatives as a distraction – Engage your pet with more play time and other toys. A healthy routine will help your cat relieve some stress.
- Be considerate – Since it may be a coping mechanism, be gentle when handling your pet. Remove any possible irritants and stress sources.
I’m adopting, and I’m worried it will give her this habit. What should I do?
Make sure the kitten is at least ten weeks old before you adopt. Prematurely taking them away from their mother is a significant cause of stress.
When should I be concerned about my kitten nursing a blanket?
When your cat is overdoing it, or if it’s new sudden behavior for an adult cat, you need to consult your vet to rule out any medical condition.
Taking care of your fur babies can be difficult and can even make you anxious. Each cat is different, so getting to know your cat’s quirks will take time.
For cats who suck on blankets, you need to observe them properly to determine the best course of action. Sometimes, it is natural and harmless, and you can let your cat be. Sometimes it can mean something needs to be fixed.
I hope this gives you the answer as to why do kittens suck on blankets.
I am Amy Sawy, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) graduate from the University of Kansas. y husband, Dr. Plummer, and I own a veterinary clinic in Phillipsburg, Kansas. In addition to my professional background, I am a devoted pet owner myself, with a household that includes dogs, rodents, and most notably, cats – a total of five felines in my home.
In 2020, I joined an organization as a professional writer, leveraging my experience and collaborating with my team to deliver the most valuable information for your cat’s care.