A cat sucking on a blanket.
A cat sucking on a blanket. Photography ©ElenaBoronina | Thinkstock.

Kitten Suckling — Is It a Bad Thing?

Kitten suckling can be a sign of stress, compulsive behavior, or even just happiness or contentment — so why do cats and kittens suckle? Should you worry?
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About a week into our kitten Norton’s life at our house, we noticed that he was suckling himself, using one of his own nipples. He’d go at it in a really focused way, and knead his paws at the same time, purring loudly. Having no experience with this, we took him to the vet, who reassured us that the behavior was nothing to worry about. She noted that the nipple was not inflamed or infected. The vet said that kittens may outgrow this kitten suckling behavior, and that sometimes kitten suckling happens when a kitten has been orphaned too young. The latter had been something I wondered about.

Still, I wanted to find out more. Would this kitten suckling behavior go away? Did it mean he was stressed or just contented? If I distracted him, would he stop? (When Norton suckles, which now seems to be occurring less and less, nothing can distract him.)

Kitten suckling — what is it?

Kitten Suckling
Cats or kittens may suckle on things like blankets. Photography © zlyka2008 | Thinkstock.

Kitten suckling can occur when cats suck on their nipples, other areas of skin and other objects. Cats might suckle on rugs, your skin tags, your ears or your fingers. Jamie Bluebell came to us as a kitten and for a very brief time, she would suckle on a skin tag on my husband’s armpit. She also liked to suck on the frames of his glasses. But Jamie got over it fairly quickly, and from what we know, we think that Jamie was not orphaned as young as Norton.

The causes of cat or kitten suckling

The causes of kitten suckling can include being separated from mom too early. Ideally, kittens should not be weaned from mom earlier than six weeks. But according to ASPCA information online, cat or kitten suckling can also be a sign of stress, compulsive behavior, or even just happiness or contentment. It’s a hard behavior to nail down.

Is kitten suckling bad for kitties?

Sometimes kittens suckling is harmless. But sometimes, according to this Catster article, cats or kittens can do damage to each other or themselves if they suckle too hard or for too long. The article refers to what is probably a high-stress situation — kittens in a Humane Society who are motherless and suckling each other to the point of damage.

Should you do anything about kitten suckling?

My vet proposed no solution. She saw no reason to be concerned in Norton’s case.

If you’re not concerned about suckling and your cat continues, you can try to make the situation a little safer. For example, if your cat loves to suckle blankets, make sure that the blanket fabric doesn’t pill or have loose threads that your cat could swallow.

Obviously, trying to physically stop your cat from suckling (in the moment) or yelling at your cat when he’s suckling are not good solutions. If your cat is suckling from stress, this will only stress him more.

Here’s what I’m going to do about kitten suckling

Most of what I’ve read (and observed at home) say to me that kitten suckling is not a bad thing. It seems that Norton is getting comfort, and he’s not acting like he’s doing it from stress. The site is not infected, as my vet pointed out, and we’re keeping an eye on that. The frequency of suckling gradually seems to be diminishing. And if we’re playing with Norton, or snuggling, suckling seems to be far from his mind. So I’ll wait it out, and see what happens. In my situation, I’m not worried. Norton seems happy and not stressed or compulsive.

In short — and the ASPCA article worded this in a helpful way — if the kitten suckling is interfering with your cat’s quality of life, then it’s time to seek help. If your cat is damaging his skin, or the skin of another, or seems to be suckling as a kind of stress response, seek help. Get the help of a certified cat behaviorist or your veterinarian.

Tell us: Have you ever had a suckling cat or suckling kitten? What did you do about kitten suckling? Let us know in the comments!

Thumbnail: Photography ©ElenaBoronina | Thinkstock.

About the author

About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.

Read more on similar cat behaviors on Catster.com:

162 thoughts on “Kitten Suckling — Is It a Bad Thing?”

  1. I adopted two sibling kittens at 8 weeks old about a month ago. (Brother Moss and SisyerMinnie the sister) They both tested positive for FIV at birth and at 7 weeks, but have been very healthy, energetic and eating like their wet and dry food. They are BERY close , and I couldn’t be more grateful to have them in my life. I noticed about a week or more ago that Moss (the brother) burrowing into his sister’s “nether regions” and suckling voraciously. He also suckles in her nipple area, but of course since she was still healing from her spay, I worried he was hurting her. Though I must admit , she doesn’t seem to mind it AT ALL. And if she does want him up stop, he does without a problem. She never suckles on him, or me or blankets or anything… it’s just him. And I’ve noticed he does this when we watch “our show” ( Animal Planet) at bedtime when they have finished their dinner, had a treat and are ready to chill after their nightly kitty spaz session ( they play “catch the baby snake” with my black elastic ponytail holders, and prance these black bands around in their mouths very proudly, as if to show off to me their big catch!! It’s husterical and super duper cute) But Moss HAS started to lick my nose and he sometimes burrows under my neck and tries to suckle.. Minnie is not a biter at all, and Moss seems to only baby bite like he’s teething, but he will sickle so voraciously on his sister’s rear Em’s sometimes that I’ve nicknamed him “Chester “ ( and what rhymes with Chester ?? )
    He is always purring loudly when suckling, and I know my kittens are in the perfect caring home for their meeds. They are not left alone for more than a few hours at a time, as I’m retired and almost always home. My concern is that I’ve read articles on suckling ( mostly kittens suckling their owners or a blanket, not many on sibling suckling) the articles seem to say two completely different things.. that this behavior is because kitten is stressed and miserable OR POSSIBLY because they are just happy and content.
    Though Mossy seems happy, I worry he misses his mommy and he may get depressed or something. Especially since both of them are still testing positive for FIV, and may well test positive for life.
    Why do so many articles say that this behavior shows stress , when all I see is contentment?

  2. I have 3 cats, I adopted the first 2 about a week apart from each other after I found them after being abandoned, the first was a little boy (Kuro), who was about 3 weeks old and the other a little girl (Luna) who was less than 2 weeks old when I found them, they were both very dependent due to being abandoned so young, they both suckled on my skin directly when laying down to sleep with me, mostly my ear or arm, Luna kept trying to get my lip whenever she could, Luna did it a lot more frequently than Kuro, but it didn’t seem to be from stress because they would only do it when they were laying down to sleep, Kuro did end up growing out, Luna on the other hand still does it, although now she prefers to do it on my favourite soft blanket, but only when it’s on me, she lays on me or against my side and does it for a bit whilst I pet her until she falls asleep, to me it seems that she does it when she’s content, so I don’t worry about it, my hubby says she’s just a big mama’s girl, they are both 2 years old now, and I recently found another little kitten, a girl (Yumi) who was about 3 weeks old and she instantly became super attached to me and my hubby, she loves sleeping on his lap when he’s on his desk but she only sleeps with me in the bed around my neck where she also suckles, and she does this cute thing where even if I’m not laying down she climbs up to my should snuggles into my neck whilst I support her lower torso and suckles for a few seconds whilst purring really loud and falls asleep, she doesn’t suckle for as long as the other two did so I think she might grow out of it, but I hope she doesn’t grow out of snuggling into my neck, it’s super cute, my hubby gets jealous cause she doesn’t do it to him lol xD

    Overall none of my cats seem to do it out of stress, so I don’t see a problem with it, if your cat does suckle but seems relaxed and isn’t harming themselves or others I think it’s fine, I also regularly wash the blanket that Luna likes suckling, to avoid her ingesting any fluff or dust that might harm her

  3. Annette Volpe-Correa

    I adopted two kittens, brother and sister. The male is constantly suckling on his sisters paw and purring at the same time. I keep pulling it away because I don’t want her paw to become raw or infected. I don’t know what to do to put an end to this behavior.

  4. We have a male cat who is now 6 years old. He was 5 weeks old when we got him and he was being fostered by a family with a dog and small children. He had. Booboo on his nose and was covered with fleas. We took him home, bathed him and made a vet appointment. From night one he slept in the bed with me and my husband. I cuddled him close and he immediately started suckling under my neck and kneeding. He never stopped and I wouldn’t change it for anything. He is a Daddy’s boy during the day and a momma’s boy at night. He eventually curls up under my chin and falls asleep. We now have a second male cat we got a little over a year ago. He was also very young. He doesn’t siuckle or kneed but loves to sleep between me and my husband or under the covers. We love our boys!

  5. We got a kitten from the local cat adoption place when she was 12 weeks old, she had been spayed and chipped. When we turn out the light, she cuddles with me for a few minutes, then curls up by our legs and sleeps.
    Then in the past 2 or 3 weeks, since she was 17 weeks old, when she cuddles before sheep, she has started burrowing into my shoulder length hair and suckling the soft skin anywhere around my neck and kneading the skin between my collarbone and jaw. Occasionally she also does this when we wake in the morning. Her kneading and suckling have become far more vigorous of late, but she seems content and comfortable.
    My heart is glad that she seeks me for comfort but she is starting to hurt my skin with her claws. I don’t want to make her feel rejected but I have to do something. What do you advise?

    1. Hi Diana,

      These articles might provide some ideas!
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/about-cat-kneading
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/why-do-cats-knead
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cats-making-biscuits-all-about-cat-kneading
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-nursing-on-herself-blankets-or-other-objects-should-you-worry
      https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/how-to-trim-cat-nails

    2. One of my kittens did that a lot too, and I loved it but like you said it does start to hurt, what I ended up doing was finding a blanket that was really soft and kind of felt like the fur of a cat and then I’d cover my neck with it but make a little nook where I’d put her and gently pet her, sometimes she’d still move and get to my neck or even my lip at times, but gradually she did stop going for my skin and started suckling on the blanket when I’d cover myself to sleep, she also seems quite happy doing it and will only do it on the cover when it’s against me, I guess it doesn’t really get her to stop suckling if that’s what you want, but if she seems to really enjoy doing it and you don’t mind her doing it you could try doing this, hope it helps

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  7. After reading these responses, I am wondering if adult cat suckling could be from being born to a feral mom cat? I too fostered a feral mother that had 5 healthy kittens. They were weaned at 10 weeks old. I adopted 2 males, and one at 7 months old is still suckling to this day. It seems he just does when he is sleepy and wants to do this before he goes to sleep.

    1. Hi, I have a porch kitty called Templeton who we will take with us when we move. She is a stray and stays around our house now that we feed her every day. She is extremely thin and can slink through the porch railings. She is all black long hair manx with green eyes. Her tail is just a puff ball. She licks her paw rapidly like a baby sucking its thumb. She does this whenever anyone is near her and while she’s being petted. She is very affectionate and loves being pet. She sticks her butt up in the air whenever someone pets her, doesn’t matter where. My MIL said this is a female cat submissive mating behaviour. I figure I had better take her to the vet’s and get her spayed in case she is old enough to go into heat. She’s a very lovely little fluffy black cat. Any ideas on why she has these behaviours?

      1. Hi there,

        Thanks for reaching out! Definitely get her spayed. You can search for articles on all types of cat behavior here: https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/

  8. I’m a foster mom for kittens for our local animal shelter. I had a litter where 3 of the kittens would suckle on the ears of the others. The kittens didn’t seem to mind that their ears were being suckled but after awhile, they were losing fur on their ears and a bit red. My local shelter suggested I put organic apple cider vinegar on the ears of those being suckled to safely deter the behavior. I had very limited success. So,ended up separating the kittens into 2 different play yards off and on during the day. Now, I have 2 of the stuffed mom cats you can purchase, that have a battery heartbeat and heating pouches velcroed into their abdomens and now my kitten litters love and adore their surrogate mom and suckle on this stuffed mom…that is machine washable! Learn as I go!

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  10. Melodie Hudgins

    Sidney and her 3 litter mates were found huddled and hungry under a bush across from my apartment by the landscaping crew. Mom would not be returning so they boxed them and were told “take them to the cat lady”. I bought KRM bottles, cans of kitten food, a tiny litter box set them up in a room away from my girls. Next day my vet checked them out gave them a birthday 4/19 said they were fairly healthy. Overthe next. 4 weeks taught them to interact with people eat food use a litter box cuddle and love. Catness and Mickie taught them tp cat. They suckled each other. At 8 weeks i placed them in homes Sidney decided to stay here she has 1 special blankie she suckles. Less and less it makes her happy. I keep it safe and clean. Sidney is very healthy and happy. 3 year old Catness id joyful to have her as a playmate. 12 year old Mickie content to mother her
    We ate happy girls!

  11. The photo of the little Sphynx kitten nursing a blanket is just too precious for words! The look in his eyes is pure innocence with a hint of mischieviousness. So cute!

  12. My cat, Hatter, has the nickname of “Chupamanta” which translates to blanket sucker. He has had this trait ever since I brought him home. He never outgrew the behavior (he is now 8yrs. old), and wherever there is a plushy blanket, he has to suck on it. It doesn’t matter that he even has several of his own plushy blankets. They are ALL his blankets, and to prove this he must suck on them all. Silly boy!

  13. Over the years I’ve had many cats that suckled. One was dumped at 3 weeks and I bottle fed him. For the rest of his life he would suck on my fingers. Another sucked on my neutered 4 year old male cat for several years.

  14. Renee Chandler

    My cat Lila Mae has sucked on the end of her tail for years now. It is not wounded or infected. Over the years I have noticed that she does it when she is feeling good and contented. If she’s sick her tail is dry. We always know when she’s feeling good by her wet crusty tail????

  15. I have 2 kittens I inherited from my son. His cat had 5, I kept the two boys. They didn’t leave their mother until they were 9 weeks old yet they LOVE to suckle. It appears they only do it for comfort. It usually occurs ONLY when they are laying close to me and then start suckling on my blanket and purring away! Complete harmless as far as I can tell. Happy kittens, almost 5 months old & still do it!

    1. I had a kitten years ago, she adopted us. I had no idea she was suckling a lovely expensive woolen throw I’d bought, until I discovered several holes in it. she grew out of it eventually. haha

  16. Hi yes I have a female 5 month old blue point Himalayan kitten and since I got her at 6 weeks old every other day she tries to suck on my Male 4 year old nipples. She is a very happy cat and very energetic and lovi g and all that so I feel that I should be stopping this. I say no to her and move her head and she eventually stops but I dont thinks a good thing for my Male cat any ideas would be great thanxs

  17. My 12 week old male kitten is nursing on my 18 year old male cat’s neck. The 18 year old’s skin is getting irritated. His fur is almost always soaked. The 18 year old stops purring when the kittens starts sucking on him. Is there anything I can put on the 18 year old that won’t smell bad and upset him but will taste bad??? I’m afraid the kitten is going to cause a blister or wound that could get infected.

    I believe the 12 week old was properly weened. He didn’t do this when we first for him at 8 weeks. He’s only been doing this for the last 2 weeks.

    1. Hi there,
      You might want to ask your vet this question. These articles might provide some insight, too:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-nursing-on-herself-blankets-or-other-objects-should-you-worry
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/why-do-cats-suck-on-blankets
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/why-do-cats-knead
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cats-making-biscuits-all-about-cat-kneading

  18. Have been fostering 3 orphaned kittens since 3 weeks old and now 4 months old.
    Bottle fed and now all eating regular food. However still suckling on each others ears and our dog’s mouths and one likes to suckle a mole on my neck before he goes to sleep. After reading all the other comments I guess I will just let it run its course! Also have a 20 yr old cat that got as an orphaned kitten and she still kneads my hair at night!!

    1. DeeBennett, I had an almost identical situation! Last summer, I took in a foster litter of three sisters whose mother rejected them after she prematurely stopped producing milk. These girls were extremely tiny for their age and didn’t begin to wean off the bottle until they were around 6 weeks old–after they moved on to soft food, I continued to supplement them with bowls of milk replacer just to put more weight on them. I kept them until they were 12-13 weeks old to get them each to 2 pounds. They didn’t suckle each other or my adult cats, but anytime I held them, they’d go to town with whatever they could reach! When they got big enough to sleep on my bed, I’d frequently wake up with one kitten sucking my lip, another sucking my nose, and another sucking my earlobe. Fuzzy shirt or exposed toe? Yep, they’d suck on ’em. I warned their adoptive families about this, and they’ve since reported that each of the kittens outgrew this eventually. I also had a cat who sucked on his own stomach when he was a baby; once he got too fat to reach there easily, he switched to his thigh. He lived to be 15 and did it his whole life…aside from it looking quite strange and resulting in a frequently-slobbery leg, he never had any issues. It was just a funny quirk of his. lol.

  19. My former boss found a feral kitten and we adopted him. He appears to only be 6-7 weeks old. Every night he sucks on my neck and tries to nurse me. It’s sweet but very odd. He also doesn’t care for his kitten chow and will steal food right out of your hand or plate! Should I be worried about the nursing ?

    1. Here are a few other articles on this topic:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/why-do-cats-suck-on-blankets
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-nursing-on-herself-blankets-or-other-objects-should-you-worry
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/why-do-cats-knead
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cats-kneading
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cats-making-biscuits-all-about-cat-kneading

  20. Hi I adopted 2 kittens, pick them up at a Dairy there where about 6 weeks. We now have 2 months with them. I started to knowest that my daughter ears had been getting red. One day I went into her room and seen one of the cats sucking her ear. My daughter is 7 and loves to sleep with them. But I don’t if I like that’s she gets her ears sucked on when shes sleeping… only 1 of the kittens does that, and only does it 2 her..

  21. I have a kitten that someone handed to me at 1 week old. From the very first day, his main happiness in life has been food, and suckling on people’s hands. He’s now 10 weeks old, and still does it when he’s in a lovey mood. It’s a little gross because of all the drool, but it seems to comfort him and makes him unique :)

  22. I had gotten a kitty from a friend who found her in a Walmart parking lot. She’s been fun, the vet said she was about 9 weeks (2 weeks ago). She’s rambunctious and fun and this morning she has found a nipple. I didn’t realize what the sound was and the purring was really loud!!! So I look over at her and her belly, she found a nipple. She kneeds her bed and purrs really loud and is suckling. I can distract her for a second but that’s about it, this has been over 2 hour period. I will keep an eye on it and go from there.

  23. My flame point siamese does the suckling thing but he does it on my neck. He only does it when hes getting ready to fall asleep. He doesn’t seem stressed at all and to be quite honest I love it lol I’ve never had a cat love me or need me so much. Hes just so sweet and so cute and loving. He only does that to me not my husband. He also wont sleep anywhere but right up by my neck or chest he loves his momma so much. Is it weird that I let him suckle on my neck? Or is it wrong?

    1. My kitten suckles on my ears to fall asleep. She purrs like crazy and kneeds my neck. I adore it. But I have been getting some sores on my ears. Oh well. It’s hurts a little but not enough for me to force the munchkin off of me. It makes her so happy.

    2. I have the exact same situation at home with one of our little boys.. I don’t think it is weird or wrong.. I think it is sweet.. They somehow see us as a motherly figure and find comfort when they are near and close to us..

      He has been doing it for quite a while now.. At this point I am wondering if he will ever stop.. He’s about 4-5months old now and he started it when he was around 9-10weeks old

      I still think it’s cute though.. Except when he wakes me up in the middle of the night to suckle haha

    3. Ellen Christine Oskoian

      It’s PRECIOUS! My little Pepper, 6 months, still does this to me as well, but on my robe when he’s tired. He purrs and kneads. His brother, Pumpkin does it sometimes too. It’s so sweet and I love it also! It makes me feel like a proud mama!

      1. I have a precious 2 year old cat that I got at 6-7 weeks and didn’t nurse and knead or “make biscuits” til she was 12-14 weeks. Then during a playful mood I thought she was trying to get my earlobes. she seemed to want to nibble them. I redirected her several times thinking it was going to hurt. She wouldn’t give up and I waited to see what would she do with them because I was so curious why she wanted my ears. she started nursing my ear lobes. Since when she is in a loving mood she will try my ears or fingers and anyone who will let her. It’s an odd thing but has not worried us much. It is weird feeling on my earlobe and I had an ear hickey once so I’d rather give her my finger. Lol

  24. I’ve had several suckling cats in my time, all early orphans. My current one was taken from a bad situation and was taken very early from her mother (not by me). I usually don’t mind the habit but this kitten only wants to suck on me, at night. My ears, chin, nose, hair, anything she can get hold of and it’s driving me CRAZY!

  25. My cat is 2 years old this morning and she LOVES suckling on my eyelids and ears at bedtime! It’s strange though because I got her from a friend of mine who’s cat had her, and I didn’t get her until she was 10 weeks so I know she wasn’t separated too early, and as far as I know she’s living a very happy (spoiled) kitty life! It doesn’t bother me when she does it, but it’s just funny to me!!

  26. Our kitten, Katness, has done this since we got her(too young). She is the third cat of mine to do this. It never caused any problems that I noticed, except to one green blanket(may it rest in peace). My husband doesn’t like that she does it, he’s concerned it’s bad for her. After reading about it he feels ok with it. Let the purring begin!

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  28. My 10 week old kitten cuddles up on my chest and sucks on my neck purring at the same time, she doesn’t do it with anyone else in the house, I would love to know why she does this

    1. Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for reaching out! These articles might provide further insight:
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/why-do-cats-lick-you
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-cat-affection-signs
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-nurse-blankets-clothing
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/cat-nursing-on-herself-blankets-or-other-objects-should-you-worry

    2. I have a year old cat rescued at about 6 weeks that sucks on a fur pillow sham every night. He’s a pet, pet, nip cat during the day .. but when he is sucking on that fur sham you can do anything to him. He’s so relaxed and calm. I just make sure I have 2 fur pillow cases so that I can wash one while he’s sucking on the other. He does not touch them during the day.

    3. So does mine and he only does it with me when hes getting ready to go to sleep. It worried me at first but he seems so content doing it I just let him

  29. I have a 4 year old Chocolate Point Siamese and a Lynx Point Siamese whom was both born here, my all black mama, Sweet Pea had the litter of 4. 3 Siamese and 1 all black like herself. We kept the 2 different females and gave the male Siamese and the black one away. Either way, Daisy Rae loves to knead and suckle on me. She’s my Chocolate Point and Lily Lou my Lynx Point, is very shy. But, they are beautiful. Just don’t quite understand why she took only to me. Sweet Pea was my cat and only my cat. Would go out of her way to be mean to others, she followed me everywhere just like Daisy Rae does now.

  30. I have four kittens and had mom and another as well until the kittens were 9 weeks old, at which point, I took them back to the shelter to have them spayed and neutered. Momma remained and I adopted four of the five kittens at that time. The kittens suckle on me nightly! They purr so loudly and although it gets a bit “drooly” I just believe they are content and happy. I usually feed them shortly after their suckling and then they come back to bed and fall asleep. I do not believe they were taken away from mom too early, but I do hope the suckling behavior eases up in the next few months!

  31. I brought my kitten home two weeks ago (He was 8 weeks) but my friend I got him from rescued him from the street nearly two weeks earlier. So I KNOW he was separate from mom at least by 6 weeks. He’s my little cuddle bug. He sticks his nose IN my nose and licks my lips as well as any other skin he finds. He mildly suckled when I first got him but now at bedtime or nap time if I’m home he will grab my arm and hug it then pick a finger and suckle until he falls asleep. He’s not rough with my arm or finger unless I try to move. I’m not going to stop him from doing this. It definitely comforts him and reinforces that Im “momma.” It’s just sad this poor little street kitten went through that. I’m giving him the best life I can.

  32. I have a question hoping someone sees this and can possibly help since I can not find a thing about this online! I own a 2year old boy cat (Louie) and about 2 weeks ago I adopted a female kitten (pearl) who is almost 9 weeks old. They have been getting along great my older male cat followers her everywhere and is very protective over her they play and cuddle together all the time. But I just noticed today that my older male cat is trying to nurse off my baby girl kitty! He has been biting or nibbling on her nipples like he wants to nurse off her. Does anyone know anything about this? The kitten has not tried to nurse off the older male at all. I find it kind of odd since he is 2years old and he is trying to nurse off the little kitten. When they play she typically rolls on her back with paws out to side she will let him bite her (not hard) and when she meows he stops. Now he has been a only cat since he was a kitten (we got him when he was a year old from someone who adopted him as a kitty and he was an only child with them and us untill 2 weeks ago.) Can someone please help? Any info would be helpful like what should i do? Should i continue to try and make him stop when he does this?

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for reaching out! We suggest contacting your vet to see if he or she might be able to help with this behavior.

    2. Ellen Christine Oskoian

      My kitty does this to his brother every day. He does it to me also. Neither of us mind because it’s so sweet and he’s so content. It’s normal behavior. He’s treating the other kitty as substitute momma, and it’s harmless. Mine are 6 months old. They may or may not grow out of it, and personally, I prefer they don’t because I love this display of affection. It is precious.

  33. I adopted two sibling kittens, a male and female, three weeks ago and the male wants to suck on my breast. I’m male and repeatedly explained there was nothing there for him. I prevent the practice but he keeps trying and still kneads with his paws. He is very affectionate and seems happy and content in his new home. The vet says it’s normal behavior but I still question why. He doesn’t seem stressed and does purr up a storm. Both kittens are adorable. Can/should I buy cat milk for him or let this run its course?

    1. Michaela Conlon

      Hi there,

      Thanks for reaching out! Here are some articles with more information about milk and cats:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-food/what-foods-are-toxic-to-cats
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/5-tips-about-cats-and-cows-milk

      We also suggest contacting your vet with this specific question for your kitten.

  34. My 9 week old kitten whom i’ve had since 2 days old just started suckling my fingers two weeks ago and it;s so violent that he hurts me. He starts to get a hold of my finger and he digs his claws into my arm so I can’t move away, then he bites down so I can’t move my finger out and he starts yowling and I start screaming because it hurts every time. It feels like I’m going to have to amputate my finger and this last time he drew blood. I’m desperate. I don’t know what to do. I don’t have money for a vet.

    1. Michaela Conlon

      Hello Mariana!

      Thanks for reaching out. Sorry to hear your kitten is causing such pain. These pieces might help provide some insight about what to do:
      https://www.catster.com/cat-behavior/how-to-stop-kitten-biting
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/catsifier-cat-pillow-nipples-suckle
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-suckling
      https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-treat-cat-bites-puncture-wounds

  35. I have a cat I rescued from the street as a kitten. She was probably 8-10 weeks old then, with a dislocated hip, and who knows when she left her mom. She always lays on top of me, purring her heart out, and suckles my left shirt collar. Always the left! Lol OCD, anyone?! Anytime I lay down, even for a nap, she will come and do that. She kisses my face, sits on my stomach, and kneads me during this process, too. She only does it to me, not my husband, and it seems like it makes her happy. I thought she would outgrow it, but she’s over a year old now. It’s only bad when she decides she needs me at 3 am when I’m trying to sleep!

  36. Our new cat that we have had 6 weeks came from the spca and sucks the end of her tail, she had been in the spca for at least two years. We already love her to death, she loves attention,but will still not let us pick her up. Just wonder what kind of life she came from.

  37. My girl Comes up on the bed in the mornings and suckles on her hind paw while purring. She wasn’t separated from mum early :)

  38. I’ve had a lot of experience with cat suckling, and it seems pretty common. A friends cat used to suck her own nipple while kneading on her belly. My Aunt’s cat Charlie sucks on a blanket while his sister, Peaches, sucks on Charlie! Both of them were found orphaned at a young age. I had a cat that would wrap her arms around my neck and lick/suck my ear lobe. She also drooled, so it wasn’t pleasant for me, but I allowed it because it made her happy. She was separated from her mum at only 5 weeks old. My current cat Josie likes to knead and suckle on my shirt. She was also separated from her mum too young.

  39. My cat Harley is now 6 years old and every night before going to bed he has to suckle on every one of my fingers. He actually wraps his paws around my hand and pulls it to his mouth and goes from one finger to the next and then does the same thing with the other hand.

  40. We have had our kitten since he was rescued last December. We know nothing of his background just that he was caged and starving. He has come on leaps and bounds and is so loved but he has always suckled on my ear lobes. It’s not a substitute Mother thing as he is not fussy as to whom he suckles on, my hubby, adult sons and even friends. He only seems to suckle when very tired and uses it as a baby would use a dummy. For Snoopy it acts as a pacifier. Although it can be annoying when he wants to latch on to my lobes at 2am or 6am he purrs so loud as is so comforted by this I find it hard to say no, especially when it upsets us so, at the horrid start to life this little one had. I know some may think it weird but hey ho.

  41. Yes, we adopted 2 rescue kittens at 10 weeks old. Their mama was feral and they were taken from her when they began showing the same characteristics. They both would suckle on Pepper’s tummy at bedtime. The foster mom told us that the others had done the same thing with this particular kitten. We let it go on for several weeks seeing no harm. Then Pepper decided he no longer wanted Jack to suckle. It took a few days for Jack to adjust as Pepper continued to suckle on his own tummy. After several more weeks he just seemed to grow out of it. There were never any bare or sore areas on his tummy so we saw no harm. They were so little.

  42. Margaret Sullivan

    Got a beautiful semi longhaired tabby male kitten from ISPCA in August 2016. He has a wonderful nature and is so affectionate, no aggression. He still suckles his fur lined bed while kneading and purring at the same time, pure happiness and contentment. I had been told prior to getting him he was a feral kitten but was well handled by the time I got him. He’s a joy to own

  43. My four year old does it on a blanket EVERY DAY usually at night – and is happily purring the entire time. I adopted her from a vet clinic where she had been brought in with her 2 siblings – not sure how young they were but she shows signs of being a bit feral – she does not like me to pet her that much or pick her up but she loves me in her own way – she is always within a foot of me staring at me – and in the mornings she throws her body at me purring…but at night she sucks away at the blanket purring for hours….she is happy so I don’t see anything wrong with it – :)

  44. my all white blue eyed cat Suckled my fingers on the way home , he was in a box of kittens the kid said they were 6 weeks old. he was the biggest too. long soft fur. later I was asked if he was deaf and was told they have a knot in their tails. he had the knot but not deaf suckling calmed him and after a while he would roll on to his back, eyes would roll up into his head and he’d go into trascendent sleep. I could take him in the car and my aussie would play with him and he would follow the dog from about 20 feet behind. I had to walk the dog around the block for feAR when kitty would cross after we did.

  45. I have two sibling cats that are 10 years old now, I got them when they were 8 weeks old. One of them has always done this to a certain pillow I have on the bed. He will fall into a daze while suckling and occasionally look away from the pillow and still be doing it just nonchalantly while staring at me. It’s pretty silly but he doesn’t seem to be doing it out of stress and it’s -his- pillow so I just let him do it.

  46. Casandra Goldsmith

    My kitten Nemo does this to blankets. He was orphaned early in life so I was not surprised when he started doing this. It’s not every day, it’s not bothering anyone, and it’s not harmful to him. So we don’t mind.

  47. My tabby queen do it at bed time… she got on me and suckle for 10 min on my furry blanket and fall asleep.. i found her roadside when she was 3 weeks old. She only suckle on me and no one else. She purr she trill.. everything which she want… i love my her so much that i can not explain :) :)

    Thanks for your cute info on Suckling..

  48. I just wanted to say that the header pic (suckling hairless Siamese kitten) is so freakin cute I cannot even – too cute for words- must be tapping into my motherhood instinct or something…

  49. My little cat Nino do the same. We found him on the streets with about one month of life. We think this behavior is because Nino was separated of mother too early, probabily got lost. On the beggining, Nino only did it on our clothes (only when it has the smell of sweat) or any piece of skin uncovered. Now everytime he is sleepy, he come running on my direction to suck near my breasts and then he sleeps on my belly. I have 5 other cats but none of them do this.

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