If you don’t understand the reasons behind your cat’s behavior, then it can often come across as strange. One such behavior is your cat suckling on blankets. Many cat owners can recall a time when they have cozied down just for their cat to come along and start nursing and kneading on the soft material. But why does this happen?
Well, you have come to the right place to find out. With this in mind, this article will explore everything you need to know about why your cat is sucking on blankets. Let’s get straight into it.
Cats are among the most independent pets, therefore, it comes as no surprise that they self-soothe when feeling poorly or stressed. By kneading and sucking on soft blankets, they are able to provide themselves with comfort – making themselves feel better as a result. During these instances, you may hear your cat purring, too, which is another way they self-soothe themselves.
As kittens, your cat will have had to rely on their mothers for everything. This includes feeding whereby your cat gets the nutrition they need from their mothers – establishing a strong bong while doing so. Moreover, this also releases happy hormones, such as oxytocin, putting your cat in a trance-like state – helping with relaxation.
Therefore, while they may no longer need to feed from their mothers, that instinct to suckle and knead still remains. As such, your blanket reminds them of that warm, cozy, and safe environment they received from their mothers.
They’re Scent Marking
When suckling on your blanket, such behavior is typically accompanied by your cat kneading with its claws out. This could be a response to their childhood where kittens knead on their mother’s stomachs to help stimulate milk production.
While kneading and sucking on a blanket, they are also transferring their scent to the surrounding areas, too. This is because cats have a lot of scent glands, particularly around their paws and faces. Therefore, this behavior could be considered as marketing their territory, as well as comforting themselves with a familiar scent.
They Feel Close To You
Since sucking and kneading on blankets is a behavior commonly associated with nursing, it only makes sense that your cat reserves such behavior for the ones they love. Therefore, if your cat is sucking or kneading on a blanket near you, this could be considered a great compliment.
Essentially, this means that if your cat is comfortable doing this around you, then you have established a strong relationship – it is their way of saying ‘I love you’. You could be considered their favorite human and even a substitute mother. While this could be regarded as adorable and cute, if this behavior is excessive, your cat may be suffering from anxiety issues.
It’s In Their Breeding
Different cat breeds are more likely to exhibit this type of behavior than other breeds. For instance, if you’re a parent of either a Birman or Siamese cat, then you’ve probably encountered your cat sucking on a blanket.
Can’t don’t only suck on blankets to make themselves feel better, but they do it as a sign they’re content and happy, too. After all, your cat is showing you a side of them that only occurred when they were a kitten and vulnerable – therefore, indicating that they are comfortable, relaxed, and secure in their environment.
How To Prevent Your Cat Suckling?
Typically, at around 12 months old, your cat grows out of the suckling phase when they become adults, however, for some felines, this may take a little longer. In fact, some cats may continue their behavior throughout their lives. If it isn’t causing any harm or isn’t an underlying issue to an illness of anxiety, there isn’t much problem with the habit.
However, if this suckling behavior becomes more frequent and intense, or your cat is beginning to chew and ingest the wool, then you may want to take a further look at the issue. The first thing you may want to do is consult a veterinarian about whether or not there are any underlying health issues that could cause the suckling.
If they confirm that it isn’t a medical problem, then there are a few steps you can take to ease your cat’s sucking behavior.
Don’t Encourage It
To avoid reinforcing this behavior, you should avoid engaging with your cat while they are suckling, even in the pretense that they are stressed. By doing so, you’re providing your cat with feelings of comfort and love that only serves to reinforce this behavior.
Hence, if your cat is feeling stressed or anxious and you give them love when they are sucking on a blanket, they will be more inclined to do it again. Instead of giving them love, you should ignore the behavior. What you shouldn’t do is punish or reprimand your cat for suckling as this could lead to more potential issues later in life.
Limits Your Cat’s Access To Their Blanket
If your cat has a favorite blanket they like to suckle on, you can either hide it or get rid of it. Likewise, if they only suck on blankets in a specific location, restrict access to this or avoid placing blankets there.
What’s better than ignoring your cat is providing them with tons of distractions. For instance, their favorite toys.
Cats can exhibit some strange and wonderful behaviors. Therefore, if you’re not acquainted with them, they can often leave you confused. One such behavior includes sucking on blankets. There are several reasons for this. However, ultimately, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about cats and their suckling habits.