You have noticed that your cat sucks like a kitten. Weaned, he no longer has his mother, but persists in sucking on a soft toy, a cushion or a blanket. You wonder at this behavior, maybe even worry. You want to understand why your cat is behaving like this. Welcome to the field of animal psychology! This article gives you the elements to better understand your cat.
Is your cat still really sucking?
In matters of animal behavior, doubts are in order because it is not always easy to interpret signals to which one is foreign. This might not be your first cat, you’ve had others, and you think you know felines well. However, it is necessary to have worked with a lot of cats to gain a real knowledge of these animals, to succeed in extracting general behavioral characteristics which go beyond the individual characters specific to each cat.
To know if your cat is really breastfeeding, you need to identify if it is calm or if he is nervous. An adult cat who sucks copies the attitude of the kitten: its suckling is generally accompanied by a kneading which is that of the kitten on the belly of its mother to stimulate the production of milk by the mammary glands. You can also identify purring which are a sign that your feline is feeling good and that he enjoys doing what he is doing. Some owners may be faced with situations where the cat, without sucking, tramples their belly. It is the same thing: it is a gesture of the order of the reflex, which echoes the first weeks of the kitten’s life.
If, on the other hand, you observe a form of brutality, that your cat pinches and tramples hard, that’s another thing. This is the simulation of the sexual act: he behaves like a male who is preparing to ride a female. During coitus, the male grabs the back of the female’s neck and tries to balance himself before entering her. This type of behavior is observed in male cats, whether they are spayed or not, although it is less common in those who have been spayed, but also in females, spayed or not. In this case, do not let him do it and push him back or put him on the ground, firmly saying NO. Repeat this response to his behavior as many times as necessary without ever giving in: the cat will eventually understand.
Push the cat gently away, on the one hand because it can pinch you hard enough, and on the other hand, because scolding a cat has never proven its usefulness, on the contrary, it can stress it and promote behavior abnormal. In addition, the animal does not understand that it has done a “stupid thing” since this is an instinctive type of behavior.
Why is a weaned cat still suckling?
Explaining why a cat sucks when it is supposed to be weaned for a long time is interesting because it concerns cat psychology. The answers invariably revolve around whether the cat needs appeasement. It’s quite astonishing when you think about it: cats are widely appreciated because they appear to be “Zen” animals by nature, able to calm humans by their presence and contact. Behavior like suckling in an adult cat therefore reaffirms that cats can be ill and also need comfort.
In some cases, the explanation lies in the early separation of the kitten from its mother. In short, the kitten is badly weaned. It is known that a separation from the mother set at the right time promotes a normal and fulfilling development of the animal. A kitten should not be separated from its mother until it has reached eight weeks of life. Unfortunately, it happens that the mother has an accident and disappears prematurely from the life of her kitten. Separated too early from its parent, the kitten will tend, once an adult, to reproduce the behavior of suckling which remains anchored in its depths as a reassuring gesture, associated with happy days. Suckling and kneading would therefore appease the cat.
Some people claim that sucking in cats is the same as thumb sucking: when a baby sucks his thumb, his body secretes endorphins, hormones that make pleasure. This suction is therefore very soothing and promotes the relaxation of the child. In rare cases, adults retain this reflex. It would be the same with cats.
Should we be worried about the fact that my cat is still sucking when he is an adult?
You may have noticed that the cat that sucks and kneads barely sticks out its claws: it hangs on the kneaded support a little, without damaging it. It just creates a little adhesion effect like velcro would ®.
As long as no damage is done, there is no reason to prevent him from behaving like this. Some even suggest that you can to share this moment of relaxation with your animal.But even the velcro ® can damage the surface of a fabric over time. In this case, if you are careful to preserve your interior, you will direct your cat to a blanket dedicated to your cat’s anti-stress ritual.
Some may feel annoyed by this behavior. If this is your case, either you leave the place, quietly letting your cat perform his ritual, or you put him and the blanket on the ground, so that he continues his feeding and kneading without disturbing you.
However, we advise you to stay vigilant. If this ritual is taking up too much space in your cat’s life, it may be that she is starting to get anxious. Its behavior can then degenerate and evolve into a situation that is much less comfortable for the animal and for you. Watch your cat and if necessary consult a veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist to get some valuable advice in concrete terms with your situation and your environment.