HomeCat Healthmental healthMy cat suckles on my arm. Advice please.

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My cat suckles on my arm. Advice please. — 10 Comments

  1. When I first adopted Tootsie at 6 yo, she would often get into bed with me, and lick my hair, especially at the top of my forehead. She would go at it for at least 10 minutes, and slobbered a lot. It was really sweet, and I really did have to stop myself from laughing. Gradually this behavior stopped, and although the slobber was not always pleasant, I kind of miss the behavior.

    I figure that she was establishing our cat- human bond, and stopped after she was confident the bond had been established. Or maybe she was just making sure that even though I was much bigger that she, I was acceptable as the other cat in the household. Cats do often? groom each other.

    From all comments above, it does seem that perhaps the cat did not go through the complete weaning process. Plus I’ve never had to deal with a cat suckling my arm or such. Still, my inclination would be just to “go with the flow” so to say, and enjoy the little cat/ “big cat” bonding- well that’s what I think is happening, but it’s just a WAG.

    • Yes, Tootsie was grooming you – called alogrooming, one cat grooms another. Bit surprised it stopped. It may have been a sign of her desire to be friends with you. When you had shown her you were a true friend and companion she felt secure enough to stop.

  2. A vet’s input:
    ‘If the cat is not hurting itself or others with its suckling, there is no need to prevent the behaviour. That is just the cat’s way of comforting itself’

    In my own opinion trying to stop it can do more harm than good, there is no need to take away a cat’s form of comfort, like humans they need some way to cope in the stressful world this is now.

  3. I agree on the cause, weaned too soon and I think Michael may have a great idea there with the raw food. I wonder if the hunt-kill-eat game might be best. You get a stick toy with some kind of tease on a string. Use this to lead your kitty around (the hunt). Once they start breathing sorta hard — aka had a good workout, but not overly so — let her catch it (kill). After that is when you feed her the raw food (eat). See above for link to info on raw food…

    The idea of given her a stuffed animal is great. Also, you can try two-sided tape on the place she is nursing on. Cats hate two-sided tape. You could use a mouse pad (from your computer) as a base. Cover it with the tape and place it where she wants to suckle. She will look at you funny for a few days, but she’ll get over it. That is a last resort type thing. I would get another cat for her to suckle on before doing this.

    FINALLY: Please avoid anything cruel that pet stores may try to sell you. It sounds like the owner isn’t that type, but I want to put it out there for any reader who may find this down the road. If you scare your cat in some way serious way they will avoid you for a long time, if not forever. We want to change the behavior, not betray the kitty.

  4. ps as the cat has been doing this for 4 years if it was a serious condition of lacking something she would be very ill by now.

  5. I agree with Ruth it’s nothing to worry about and trying to stop it may do more harm than good,think of it like taking a baby’s dummy from him,it causes distress.
    This cat’s owner says she still has a go at times,so this is not a constant desperate type of sucking,it’s a comfort sucking because of the cat’s shy nature and it does no harm.

  6. Cats suckle for a variety of reasons. Being weaned too early is just one of them. Some cats have chemical imbalances. They suckle to try and get salt for one thing. Natural lanolin in our skin is another attraction. Cats who chew on blankets may be low in fiber. A change in diet and some behavior modification may be needed. And…..many cats return to kittenhood because it is a safe, ‘warm fuzzy’ place to be. Whatever the causation, prudent retraining is essential.

  7. This is nothing to worry about and nothing the cat lacks and this person sounds a very good cat caretaker.
    It probably is because she was weaned too soon but many cats suck on their person or something they are wearing, for their entire lives.
    It reminds a cat of their kittenhood and how they felt safe and loved by their mother and the person they suck on is their substitute mother, it comforts the cat with no harm done.
    Our Jozef is 11 years old and still does it at times purring loudly, on a bit of my old dressing gown we call ‘Blue Mammie’ and he’s the happiest cat you could ever meet with a full life indoors and outdoors.

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