Cat Problems

  1. Okay, this will sound really, really weird, but my kitten (3 months old) sucks his thumb. I can't get him to stop and I'm afraid he'll get an infection in his paw. You know how when cats lay down to sleep/relax they work their paws back and forth? We'll I found out that this was because it reminds them of nursing from their mother which was the most relaxing time in their lives. I know it's weird, but bear with me! I got this cat when he was only a day old and nursed him with a bottle. I had a hard time weaning him and he nursed for several weeks longer than most kittens do. When I held the bottle, he'd grab it with his paw to try to keep it to his mouth. I think this is why he is doing this now. If anyone has any tips on how to end this behavior, I'd greatly appreciate it!
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   RN-PA
    AWWWWW-- Your kitten sounds adorable!!! I've heard that kittens that are taken from their mother before being weaned tend to have more of an "oral fixation". I once had a kitten who was taken from his mom too early and was often "nursing" on things and he chewed a lot, too-- even wrecked a wool jacket I loved by chewing a hole in the pocket.

    I've never heard of a cat sucking its paw before and wonder, too, whether it could get infected. I would ask your Vet about the behavior and find out whether it's potentially harmful. The only other thing I can think of would be to try to distract your kitten by playing with it-- drag a string or other interesting toy around to get him on another track.
  4. by   NurseDennie
    Oh that poor baby - he really did leave his mama too soon. He took the bottle longer than kittens generally nurse, probably because you were nice and let him. Mama kitties wean their babies pretty angrily, and just don't LET them nurse. Half-grown kittens who are well able to eat kitty food will *try* to nurse, but the mama cat will swat them away from her in a very rude and unmotherly way.

    RN-PA - I'll bet your kitty who nursed on stuff and ruined a wool jacket was a Siamese? They're well known for that trait.

    I don't know about a kitty sucking his thumb, either. My sister had a kitty who would nurse her own teats! Can you imagine? My sister found her outside in the snow (Toledo Ohio) and saw that she did that. My sister said that she was OBVIOUSLY meant to be a part of her strange and unusual household.


    Last edit by NurseDennie on Feb 20, '02
  5. by   RN-PA
    I'd never heard that about Siamese cats, NurseDennie, and this cat wasn't Siamese-- Just a mixed breed. I feel bad, but I ended up giving the kitty to a friend who had a farm, because I couldn't take the destruction, and he also always used to attack and bite my ankles. (This was way back in 1979.) I hope he put his oral instincts to good use keeping the rodent population down on the farm.
  6. by   Paprikat
    Awwww, what a cute kittie!
    I have a friend who's kittie was taken away too early too, she always came up to my friend when she was sitting on the couch or lying in bed and SUCK on her earlobe. It was the weirdest thing and probably wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it. It still does it, and it is 6 years old. I don't know if you'll ever get you cat to stop sucking his thumb. It is a comforting thing for him to do. My kitties still do the "milk treading" only on my crocheted afghan. Perhaps maybe mention it to the vet.
  7. by   Mary Dover
    I have a kitten who's about 4 months old now, that was abandoned by her mother. The animal shelter (or pound) is just down the street from my job, and my coworkers and I often adopt the 'escapees'. Anyway, I don't know this kitten's circumstances, but I do know that when we found her, it was obvious it was too soon for her to be away from her mother. A friend took her for a few weeks. I agreed to babysit while she went out of town for a few days at Thanksgiving, got pretty attached to the kittie, and well she's still here. Several weeks ago, she (the kitten -not my friend) started the sucking behavior. Mostly she likes soft things like blankets and t-shirts. She started to do it so much, I figured it was probably kind of a normal thing for one who had been removed from the mother so early. I searched online for any info I could find, but came up with nothing. I have often wished I could find a kitty pacifier, but she probably wouldn't like that as much. My husband and I have gotten quite a few laughs at the ways she 'gets her needs met'.
  8. by   shyviolet78
    Thanks for all the responses. I have also joked about getting a kitty pacifier! The cat also sucks on other things, like blankets or my earlobe. His mother abandoned him and she has since had another litter that she also abandoned. I didn't know there were negligent mothers in the animal kingdom. My kitty is very attached to me, he's actually sitting here now trying to get under my hands on the keyboard. He follows closely wherever I go and is always meowing to be picked up. My other cats are much more independent, but I got each of them at 4 months.
  9. by   canoehead
    Well, I also had a cat that sucked on my earlobe even as a grown up. I think that if the cat gets comfort from it there's no reason to stop her from sucking her thumb, but if she is getting an infection they make bitter tasting stuff for kids who bite their fingernails. Personally I would find it hard to take this away from her but if it's for her health....make sure she gets lots of love and attention as she tries to break her bad habit, it's sure to be hard on her.
  10. by   AliFromCali
    No i dont find it weird that your cat sucks its thumb haha i have a cat that is almost a year old and she sucks on her tail.
  11. by   jnette
    Quote from Paprikat
    Awwww, what a cute kittie!
    I have a friend who's kittie was taken away too early too, she always came up to my friend when she was sitting on the couch or lying in bed and SUCK on her earlobe. It was the weirdest thing and probably wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it. It still does it, and it is 6 years old.

    Oh YES, I'll believe it !!! Because I had a male cat (got him as a kitten) who did the exact same thing !!! He'd suck my earlobe constantly.. and as a kitten, it was rather sweet.... but then as a fullgrown tom, it did get a tad annoying, if ya know what I mean... :chuckle But he just HAD to...anytime he thought he could get away with it. Never did break him of it.

    The "treading" or "kneading".. I believe all cats do that regardless of age.. I know mine all did at ALL ages. Love to watch them.. so relaxing even to me when they do that.

    But a kitty that sucks it's widdle thumb.......? OMG, how SWEEEEEEEEEET !!!