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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-11-2006, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Question Suckling Problem! HELP!

Okay here's the deal.
My boyfriend and I found a scared little kitten a few weeks ago who is just the sweetest little guy. He's about 8-9 weeks old and has a major suckling problem. I know why he does it, and that's all good, poor baby just missess mommy. But what i need help on is how to get him to stop sucking on me!!!
For the first couple of weeks he slept in a carrier, but on the week-end i let him roam free. I ended up getting maybe an hour of sleep. Every hour or so, he comes up on the bed, walks over to me, and proceeds to latch onto my ear lobe. If he can't get at either ear, he tries going for my upper lip, and proceeds to drool all over me. And he will sit and suckle for like half an hour, then go and nap, then come back again. He really is sweet, but i can't have him doing this to me.
I have tried to get him to suck on my finger, even a shirt, but he doesn't like those. I have even tried getting him a bottle, but he just won't take it. I am at a loss now, as to how to get him focused on something else. I don't care if he suckles, I know he has to, but I need to stop the face sucking. He sometimes attempts it during the evening if he's not racing around the house playing with his billions of toys.
So any suggestions/advice anyone has, please tell me! I love this little guy and just want him to be happy, but momma needs some sleep too!


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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-11-2006, 05:21 PM
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Here's my opinion. If you're right about his age and he's fully weaned, he really doesn't need to suckle anything. What kind of kitten food are you giving to him? Is he eating well? This may just be a calming behavior (like a little kid sucking his thumb) that he'll grow out of. One of my cats used to sleep on my chest and knead my neck when she was a kitten; thank goodness she didn't try to suck on my ear, I couldn't have put up with that, lol. She grew out of that, but it took about a year. I'm sure plenty of people could argue that I shouldn't have let her do it - but, she wasn't bothering me, so there's the difference. You can wait and see if he grows out of the sucking, but if you let him keep doing it, it could become a compulsive behavior that will continue to drive you absolutely bonkers. If you don't want to risk that, you'll have to draw a firm line, the sooner the better, and refuse to allow him to do it to you at all. As soon as he even starts you'll have to constantly redirect him.

There are lots of other cat people on here, so hopefully you'll get some other replies too. Good Luck!

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-11-2006, 08:40 PM
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I think you should just gently push him away when he tries it. Maybe when you got him his mother was still nursing him even though he was old enough to have been weaned. My kitty Tyler was still being nursed when we got him even though he was way too old to be. His mom just never pushed the kittens away. Well when Tyler came into the house he ran right under all the girls and tried to nurse. The girls all got mad and smacked him and hissed. So Tyler found our cat Boo - a male. Tyler would push Boo down and nurses off of him - well at least suckle on him. Boo lost all the fur around his nipples. It continued for a few months. Boo would look at us like "why is he doing this?" Tyler finally grew out of it. Enjoy your new baby!

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2006, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for your advice.
millie121, yes, he eats very well! no problems there...only issue is getting our other adult cat, Zoe to stop eating his food. lol. When we first got him, he was a bit on the skinny side, and now he's a healthy growing young guy. But you're very right, he is merly like a kid sucking it's thumb...he goes into a complete trance when he does the suckling.
kathydip, poor Boo! sounds like he was anything but thrilled with the kitten sucking on him! very cute story!
I have tried pushing him away repeatedly with no success. For example, last night, i was fast asleep, and my boyfriend told me this morning that Charlie was at me from 2am until about 5:30 at which time my boyfriend finally gave up and put Charlie in the carrier. He doesn't seem to sleep through the night, because when he's roaming free, he's coming to me every hour to suckle. And when he's in the carrier, he's meowing and crying all night long.
One thing i forgot to add, is that the times when he roams, and i wake up to him attached to my ear, i push him off, and pull the sheets up over my head....and even with doing that, he's still at me, walking all over my head and face trying to get at me. he just won't get the hint! i don't want to have to keep him in the carrier every night! i want the little guy to be able to roam and play. i just need him to suckle on something else!


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2006, 01:17 PM
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You mentioned that having him suck on a t-shirt would be acceptable? You could try choosing a t-shirt that doesn't fit anymore, or buy a cheap one just for that purpose and then dip a corner of it in something that would taste good to him, like maybe a little bit of low sodium beef broth and give it to him before you go to bed so he has something to keep him occupied.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2006, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Nara! I will definately try that tonight! I'll keep you posted on it!

Thanks again!


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-12-2006, 05:41 PM
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Um- hate to be the bearer of bad news- but the suckling usually doesn't go away. I had a cat as a child that always suckled my ear- and now Mouse- who is 4- still suckles my chin. She will stop if I tell her to, but she still wants to knead and sleep right at my head. Plus she looks so wounded if I make her stop.


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-13-2006, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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jennawing, how did you get your cat to stop? i have no problem with him sleeping at my head, and kneading doesn't bother me...but how do i get him to stop sucking on me?


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-13-2006, 03:25 PM
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Well, I already said she doesn't just stop- it is a compulsion- the animal has bonded with you- they NEED to be near you and comfort themselves by suckling/kneading. Mouse stops when I tell her no- but I have to physically make her lay in my lap away from my chin- and she still kneads and will try to lick my hand or arm if she can't get to my chin. She thinks anytime I whistle or sing is me calling her and the struggle between her trying to get to my chin and me trying to keep her off begins. I give in some- just to keep her calm- because it is quite crushing to her for me to repeatedly turn her away. I usually let her in my room at bedtime for a bit, but she has to go when I need my sleep because she will keep me awake all night trying to get to my chin. Mousy is very compulsively driven about a lot of things, though.

Oddly enough, though- last year we took in a foster- who had one kitten. Said foster wouldn't feed the kitten (now called Titus) so he was hand-raised and mom was adopted out. Mouse, and our 8yo female, Booger- adopted Titus when he was about 2 weeks old. They, and our then-cat Deuce (A stray we took in who decided not to stay after all- he was about 5 or so) all three of them mothered Titus- bathed him, stimulated him, carried him around and stole him from any person trying to hold him and took him back to his box. During that time, and for about 6 months after, Mouse never suckled on me. She was too busy playing mom to be the baby herself. When Titus got big enough to take care of himself- or big enough to make the other cats understand he was tired of being fussed over- Mouse went back to playing the baby. It was very odd how different she was during that time.


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Last edited by jennawing; 08-13-2006 at 03:32 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-13-2006, 05:05 PM
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A friend of mine had a cat that did that, they got him to stop by getting him a pacifier, he said they just gave it to him when he started going after his ear.. its cute to see a cat asleep on the couch with a nuk in his mouth... i had a picture somewhere but i cant seem to find it his cat still does it sometimes, altho i think its become more of a toy now that hes older. i dunno if this would work, but it might be worth a try. or maybe a lil kitten bottle with water



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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 08:10 AM
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A litter of kittens that I had bottle fed took to a teddy bear of mine. They would suckle and knead on his belly. The poor thing has big bald spots from it. Luckily for the bear they just stopped, otherwise he would be completely bald today! I will try to remember to post a picture of the bear.
At least you won't need to worry about hair on your ear lobes - hehe.

mommy to
Tyler - kitty
Oscar - water turtle
Bean - kitty
Frankie - dachshund
Belle - dachshund
Oliver - bunny
Ophelia - bunny
Penelope - bunny
Teddy - bunny -ok I have given up on 4 of a kind and am willing to settle for 2 pairs.
8 fishes - RIP Little Guy and Greta
and Tabatha - October 11, 2006 - rest in peace our sweet angel bunny
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-14-2006, 11:20 PM
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I have a 3 month old that insist on sucking on my pinkie when ever it comes nap time and a 6 month old that sucks on the tip of his tail. It's just so funny, but I do understand as the little one always starts nuzzling my neck and my ear then he gets my pinkie finger for about 5 min then he's down for the count. He doesnt bother me much in middle of night though fortunately besides biting my toes lol.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-15-2006, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Aww! such cute stories all of you! Aren't cats just absolutely precious!
Well now Angelnstuff, that's something different...I might just have to see if i can get him to take to a pacifier...that sure would be absolutely adorable!

I 'll have to find the pictures of Charlie and Zoe curled up together sleeping and post them, so you all can see my little guy. I have tons on my laptop at home too, so i'll post some of those later. He snuggled up with my dog this week-end, which was super cute. And Zoe my 5 year old cat, ms. growley, got up on the couch with Charlie, groomed him for about half an hour, then draped overtop of him and took a quick little nap. Charlie sure didn't seem to mind!

I have been taking all of your recommendations and trying them all out on Charlie. Hopefully something will work, or at least get him to stop sucking my face...i'd be happy!
Thanks everyone for your advice and input. I'll keep you all posted on Charlie's progress!


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-15-2006, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Here is Charlie the day after we found him.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-15-2006, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Here is Zoe curled up with Charlie. I will post more from home later.
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