3 month old Kitten sucks his paw pads/toes

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


Manly Minou
Purred: Sun Oct 25, '09 4:57am PST 
My foster kitten sucks his paw pads or his toes when he settles down to nap. He purrs very loudly at that time too. When in that mood, he insists in being on my lap if I'm at the computer or on lying in the crook of my arm if I am in bed.

Any experience with this and will he outgrow this behavior / how to help him stop (it is highly annoying to me).

Does it come from being weined too early?


I still suck my- thumb...
Purred: Sun Oct 25, '09 7:37am PST 
Hi, there --

Hope this will help you. I've got a lot of experience with "thumb sucking," as we call it. Coop does this all the time. We even posted a video of it on our page, if you'd like to take a look.

I don't think that toe sucking is necessarily a bad thing. I've actually done some research, and the reason they usually suckle is because they were orphaned or were separated from their Mom too soon.

As I said, this is a regular habit for Coop. Every night, he jumps on the couch next to me, suckles his front paw and kneads either the blanket or me with the other.

He's always purring when he does this, and he really enjoys being petted while he's doing it. Coop is naturally affectionate, but he always gives me kisses and grooms my hands as he's suckling.

What I've done is I've given him his own blanket on the couch just for this nightly ritual. (That way, he can get the blanket wet and not the couch.) I also check his paw regularly to make sure that he's not biting into his paw pad or irritating it in any way.

When it first started -- not long after I brought him home -- I did have my vet look at his paw just to make sure there wasn't a cut or something that I was missing. But he's fine.

If you're worried about it, I'd say to check with your vet. Other than that, I think your foster baby is just probably trying to get some "mommy comfort." It's like a child sucking his thumb.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, just let me know.

Coop and Coop's Mom


I'm the- snugglebunny
Purred: Sun Oct 25, '09 11:56am PST 
At least he is doing it to himself. Jake will come up to me and do this to my neck! If he can't get my neck...it's the crook of my arm. I hope he outgrows it but I just take it as a source of comfort. Most likely they will outgrow it...but sometimes they don't and we just to let them do it.


I am a- god...deal with- it
Purred: Thu Dec 17, '09 12:21pm PST 
Puck: My human often sees me doing that and doesn't do a thing. That's because she knows it's to relieve itching and helps keep my toes and pads clean. She checks for sores on occasion and hasn't found any yet. It's also comforting sometimes, so don't worry. Lots of kitties do it.

Member Since
Purred: Tue Apr 2, '13 1:30am PST 
I have 4 furry babies and the 3 youngest (all littermates) do this. My bottle fed baby, Leo, actually sucks on his foot and as soon as the other two hear him (he sucks loud) they come running and both start sucking on the fur on Leo's tummy. When Leos off playing, the other two have started trying to 'nurse' on my 2 yo male. I call him their 'mommy daddy' because he treats them like he's their Mom & lets them nurse on his fur . When he notices me cooing over him about it, he leaves, a cat's gotta maintain some dignity! LOL!!

Member Since
Purred: Wed Jan 8, '14 6:06pm PST 
My sister has rescued a kitty, he is at least more than 2 months now. He used to suck (imagining for milk) other cats and puppies or dogs belly or even neck. When he is handled by the hand he would suck on the thumb. After 2 weeks a new kitty about a month old was rescued. He became like a brother and was no longer sucking anyone. However the kitty died. The night of the kitty's death he started sucking his paws and arms. So I would say its a separation disorder and not only a craving for his mom's milk.