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Ask Amy-Why Cats Suck?

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Some baby-cats want a pacifier even after the milk-bar closes. Image copr. MariaMagnus

Now you negative-thinking folks out there, just STOP IT! I’m not talking about anything negative about cats, just that some like to–well–use fuzzies as pacifiers. Dogs do it, too, and I’ve addressed that before in previous Ask Amy videos.

Do your cats suck on toys or other objects? Kittens taken too early from their mom sometimes develop these behaviors and will suck on their own tails or a litter mate’s toes, for example. Others target fabric which may develop into a behavior described as “wool sucking” that seems most common in Oriental-heritage cats (Siamese, Burmese, etc) as a part of pica behavior–eating inedible objects.

The sucking behavior seems to be accompanied by kneading, which makes sense. Kittens knead against the mom-cat’s breasts to stimulate the milk to be released. So in adult cats, the kneading behavior hearkens back to this feeling of safety and well-being, and some cats simply take it a paw-step further and suckle on something at the same time.

Do your cats suck? How do you handle the behavior? Is it a problem for you, or an endearing foible? Does the suck-isity turn you into a better housekeeper to keep woolies out of your cat’s paw-reach?

And for the doggy version:

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . Tide Detergent Cleaning Up on Black Market « Author Piper Bayard

  2. This brings up a curious question our family has about Silvia. She strayed into a pool party where my boys were and they brought her home. When she’s bored she finds a sock and carries it in her mouth and meows at the same time. At first it was weird and we thought she was crying. When we discovered what she was doing we knew each time she was trying to get attention. Is this sock sucking? Here’s a picture of her:

    • Hi Ali, What a beautiful cat! I love the black and white kitties, they’re so striking.

      From what you describe, it sounds like Silvia is treating the sock in a similar fashion to prey–what she might do after catching a mouse. My Seren-kitty does this with her sparkle-ball toys, and I’ve heard other cats find soft toys to “kill” and then carry around and “announce” the kill. It’s a very distinctive cry/call, too, that really does seem to include bragging rights, LOL! If she were sucking the sock you’d probably see her kneading and mouthing/sucking on it while reclining rather than carrying it around.


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