Why Does My Cat Suck on Blankets?
You go to use your favorite blanket, but you quickly notice that there’s a big soggy spot. Maybe you’ve even caught your cat in the act of sucking on a blanket. It’s not exactly the most attractive behavior in cats, although it is fairly common. So, why does my cat suck on blankets?
The Breed of Cat
Before we get into actual reasons why cats may suck on blankets, it could be due to the breed of cat itself. Some breeds of cats are much more likely to suck on blankets and fabrics than others.
For instance, Oriental and Siamese cats are much more likely to suck on blankets than others, which may be because they have a much longer weaning period than other cats, something we are about to discuss below.
Separated from Mother too Early
The first real reason why some cats will suck on wool and other fabrics is because they were separated from their mothers too early. Kittens need to be kept with their mothers for 8 weeks before they are separated from them, with around 10 weeks being ideal.
Some experts even recommend extending this period to 13 weeks. If a kitten is weaned or separated from its mother too early, when you get it, it may very well suck on blankets and other fabrics.
This is a way for the young kitten to recreate the feeling of suckling on its mother. Simply put, the cat was not yet ready to be separated from its mother. If you suspect that this is the case, the issue should resolve itself over the next few weeks or months.
Yet another reason why a cat may suck on blankets is due to stress. Suckling is a very relaxing activity, something that requires concentration, and something that reminds cats of nursing on their mothers. If a cat is stressed out, it may lead the cat to suck on blankets.
Cats that fall back on kittens behaviors are often stressed out. Stress in cats can be caused by a number of factors including but not limited to improper feeding, not getting enough attention, medical conditions, not living in ideal conditions, and more.
If you suspect that your cat is sucking on blankets due to stress, you need to try and figure out what the underlying cause of that stress is, and then go from there.
A cat may also suck on blankets simply because it helps them relax; this is not the same as sucking on blankets to relieve stress. Just like you might watch TV or read a book to relax, a cat may suckle on blankets. It is just a very relaxing way to consume time.
Many experts will agree that this also has to do with suckling, as it appears that cats feel very safe and relaxed when they are reminded of kittenhood. There’s just no better way to relax and feel safe than by being with mother.
Although not exactly a reason why cats might suck on fabric, if your cat is sucking on a blanket, and it is close to you or even on your lap, this is a big indication that the cat trusts you. It could be that your cat just likes sucking and chewing on fabric, or maybe the combination of sitting on your warm lap and recreating the feeling of nursing is very comforting. Either way, a cat that sits in your lap while sucking on a blanket is a cat that really trusts you and feels comfortable with you.
There are some medical conditions which may cause a cat to suck on blankets. If you notice that your cat is always sucking on blankets, it may be suffering from something like obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD for short, although this is rare.
What is rare, but also possible, is that your cat is suffering from some sort of oral affliction, something like gum disease. Painful and sensitive gums may lead a cat to suck on a blanket to find some relief from the pain. If you suspect that there is a medical condition to blame for this behavior, you want to take your pet to the vet to have it checked out.
Although it is not the first thing a cat will do when bored, bored or lonely cats may suck on blankets just to pass the time. It is something to do. If this is the case, the cat will likely also chew and claw the blanket, not just suck on it.
If you are worried about continued blanket sucking, take the cat to a vet, just to ensure that nothing is medically wrong. Other than that, try to keep blankets out of reach, at least if you don’t want them soaked with kitty saliva. Keeping the cat busy and providing it with toys and activities may also help discourage this sucking behavior.