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Question
Posted by: Lynn | 2004/03/12

Young Kitten biting owner at night - Trying to suckle?

Hi

I have a young kitten (around 5 months) I adopted from a petshop just before xmas. They found it in a box the morning. It was parasite infected and malnourished and after various visits to the vet it's healthy and happy and growing at alarming rate.

However it tries bites me in the neck, face and crook of the arm at nights, kneeding and purring profusely. I suspect that it is trying to suckle. If I pick him up and put him down, he just comes back and tries again. This is painful (He has sharp teeth) and last night he barely missed my eye.

I know he probably does this because he thinks I'm his mother or something and I don't want to break this bond or lose his trust - but how do I get him to stop? Do I buy him one of those dolly bottles and fill it with water? I have tried giving him a blanket or my t-shirt to suckle, but he seems to prefer warm flesh - especially my cheek or earlobe.

Please help....

Regards

Lynn

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Lynn
This is care seeking or giving behaviour and the same as your kitten would have done to his mother. It is comforting to the kitten and his way of giving and receiving attention. Kneading, purring, licking and even sucking are common in pet cats and many never grow out of this behaviour. This is because when they are cared for by humans they never need to grow up. They are fed and protected by us and therefore don't have to hunt and defend themselves in the wild. It is normal although can be excessive when the licking, biting and sucking becomes extreme, so I suggest that when it gets too much you just remove your kitten from your lap, hand or whatever to discourage it. Close him out of your room if necessary. In order to live with this cat you are going to have to be firm with him and keep rejecting him if he is too rough. He will soon learn to be gentle. You can give him a toy to suckle on instead. Kittens that were removed from their mothers too early (before 6 or 7 weeks) usually show more extreme signs of this behaviour.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: jenn | 2004/03/17

Same with my 5 week old kitten. He likes to cuddle in my hair at nite, and knibble my neck or ears.

Reply to jenn
Posted by: Sara | 2004/03/12

I had a kitty like this once too!! she used to fall asleep with a mouth full of my neck happily sucking.. when she got too rough with the paddeling id just stick her on my hubbys chest so she could suck his neck for a while and when hed had enuff hed stick her back on me!

Reply to Sara

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