Suckling is an instinct that first developed in kittens and to be more specific, they use that during feeding. Although most kittens lost that ability in adulthood, still some managed to retain that. Plus, the thought that adult cats nurse sounds weird, so people asked, is that still normal? If so, why do cats suck on blankets? To find out more, keep scrolling.
Why Do Cats Suck On Blankets
Suckling is a normal behavior that’s common to all young mammals. In cats, suckling coupled with kneading is their bodies’ feeding reflex. Also, they remain to do that until they’re at least four weeks old and they’re ready to eat solid food.
Yet, in some cases, some pets have longer weaning periods and others get weaned too early. Hence, that’s a few of the reasons cats suck on blankets and become more anxious even though they’re adults.
Moreover, another factor that relates to why your cat sucks on blankets is the environment. According to research, cats feel anxious when they’re surrounded by noise or unfamiliar people. Thus, they succumb to the suckling behavior because it increases their oxytocin production.
On the other hand, if you’re a first-time cat parent, seeing your adult cat suck on blankets can be a weird thing to watch. So, to find out whether suckling is related to adverse health issues, read below.
Stress and Anxiety
The first and most noticeable reason why your cat sucks on blankets is stress and anxiety. To be precise, stress is the main factor that triggers all other diseases to kick in. Also, when coupled with anxiety, a cat’s immune system lowers and your pet becomes prone to UTI, aggression, and gastrointestinal issues.
Plus, cats are among those animals that self-soothe whenever they feel something off. For starters, they purr not only due to satisfaction, but also to ease their nervousness or pain. Also, in other instances, the cat sucks on blankets to release a calming effect.
Plush beds and blankets provide cats with warmth and comfort during the night. However, blankets are not only used as covering. Apparently, another answer as to why cats suck on blankets is because of the relaxation it gives.
On the other hand, keep in mind that your cat’s surroundings have a big impact on his health. Well, a noisy environment will make all pets uneasy. Thus, cats opt to find ways to ease themselves by suckling on toys or fabric, particularly wool.
When cats don’t have enough active stimulation, they may get bored and act sleepy the whole day. However, in other cases, cats tend to find alternatives for stimulation, like suckling. As weird as it may look, a cat’s suckling behavior is usually not a hazardous situation. Yet, you have to keep in mind that it could also be due to internal factors like boredom.
Well, blankets aren’t poisonous provided there’s a proper precaution. But, if cats ingest its tiny fibers, then that could be a problem. It could lead to stomach upsets or obstruction that may require surgery. In general, it’s a must for pet owners to provide engaging activities and toys for their cats to avoid boredom.
All mammals are born with the urge to suckle. Well, come to think of it, kittens already how to suckle for milk and they didn’t even learn that since it’s their reflex. With that said, it’s normal for young cats to have a strong urge to suck.
On the other hand, that instinct can get stuck into adulthood, and hence, that’s one factor why your cat still sucks on blankets. Plus, some cat breeds like orientals tend to continue their suckling habits later in life since they have longer weaning periods.
Like babies, kittens need milk for nutrition. Moreover, they’re not supposed to be weaned unless they turn four weeks old. Yet, there are instances where breeders sell early-weaned kittens. According to vets, early weaning poses more risks for aggression, anxiety, and fearful behavior.
In addition, when your cat sucks on blankets, then that’s what vets call non-nutritive suckling or simply coss-sucking. Cats depend on their mother’s milk, so when they no longer have that opportunity, they turn to suck on their littermates’ bodies to satisfy their reflexes.
Although it looks harmless, play biting, licking, or even suckling on objects and fabrics pertains to gastrointestinal issues. Further, that behavior could be a sign of obstruction, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, or other problems that need medical attention.
Plus, excessive suckling on objects doesn’t only lead to stomach upsets but also damage to household decor and blankets. On the other hand, the fact that your cat sucks on blankets can also lead to a destructive eating disorder called pica.
Genetics plays a strong role in shaping a cat’s personality. To be precise, some are dominant and they like to engage in active games. While others are calm that they would prefer lying in bed all day. With that said, the situation where cats suck on blankets is also another genetic-driven factor.
According to studies, breed and behavior are proportional. Plus, based on the findings, certain breeds like Burmese cats groom excessively while Turkish Vans tend to perform prolonged wool-sucking attributes.
Are Cats Sucking On Blankets Bad?
Wool sucking is not a cause for concern if it’s not that destructive. Vets stated that sucking is a normal behavior and sometimes, even adults still do that. It provides them with relaxation and comfort, and at the same time, eases their stress levels.
Well, a good rule of thumb suggests that cats sucking on blankets is not a bad behavior provided that they don’t ingest fabric fibers. Plus, if that behavior is not excessive and it’s only very occasionally, then it doesn’t pose a threat.
On the other hand, if it gets too much that the suckling leaves holes in the fabric, then your cat may also need redirecting activities. Suckling only happens when cats don’t feel satisfied, so they cure that dissatisfaction using their ways.
As a pet owner, you can redirect that suckling behavior by getting your cat chew toys. Also, you may want to try engaging activities like playing with puzzles, incorporating treat dispensers, or getting them mechanical toys.
Should I Do Something About My Cat’s Suckling Behavior?
As a pet owner, you shouldn’t be concerned about your cat’s sucking behavior. Well, it’s okay to leave it alone just as long as it’s done moderately. Scientists explained that suckling is a normal mammal reflex and despite it looking unusual, it may be present in all ages.
With that said, it’s also normal for cats to develop emotional attachments to their toys or bedding. Plus, if they feel the need to self-soothe, it’s common for cats to suck on their blankets. Yet, too much of anything is not good, so vets still recommend constant monitoring.
On the other hand, if you’re bothered about why your pet behaves like that, then you can implement some ways to engage his interests. Without further ado, here are some tips on how you can stop your cat from sucking blankets.
- Gradually remove the blanket and replace it with a durable chew toy or treat-dispensing cat toy.
- Provide varieties of enrichment activities to redirect your cat’s attention. You may give him mechanical toys or engage him in walks that will lessen his boredom.
- Remove stressors in your household. This involves eliminating too much noise or strong odor in your home.
- Consult a veterinarian. If your cat’s suckling abilities became aggressive then it could be due to a health problem.
Why Do Cats Suck On Blankets: FAQs
Seeing your adult cat suck on blankets is a pretty much unusual sight. Although that behavior is not deadly, still there are some pet owners concerned about it. Hence, take a look at a few of the frequently asked questions regarding why cats suck on blankets.
As a pet owner, you can stop your cat’s suckling behavior on blankets by gradually taking away that piece of fabric. Then, as an alternative, you may provide your pet with edible chew toys. Also, you can try different enrichment puzzles to keep your cat entertained.
There are many reasons why cats suck on blankets and a few of them are stress and anxiety. In times like that, a cat’s first body response is to self-soothe. Hence, the nursing behavior on blankets keeps cats busy even just for a short while. Also, it provides them comfort and aids in relaxation.
Most, but not all kittens outgrow their suckling behavior. Some vets stated that cats’ suckling behavior stops as they enter ages ten to twelve months old. Yet, unfortunately, for cats that suffered from early weaning, extreme stress, or gastrointestinal issues, this unusual behavior can last even into adulthood.
Suckling is a normal behavior in kittens. But, when it comes to adult cats, it’s an unusual perception. It’s true that oriental cat breeds like Tonkinese and Siamese continue suckling even into adulthood because they take longer to wean. However, in non-oriental breeds, your cat’s suckling behavior could be a health problem.
Yes, it’s a possibility. Non-oriental cats don’t normally suck on blankets because their weaning period is relatively shorter and thus, they stabilize faster. So, when cats, particularly adults, suckle then it could be due to stomach problems, anxiety, or boredom.
In general, why your cat sucks on blankets depends on his environment and upbringing. Suckling is a soothing behavior that’s good for cats. It helps release stress, promotes relaxation, and aids in better sleep. Yet, if it gets too destructive or causes additional health problems, then it’s best to visit a vet.