Why Do Cats Suck on Blankets?Updated: July 28, 2022
"Cats suckling on blankets mostly happens to young cats that were taken at an early age away from their mother cats."
Is it normal for cats to suck on blankets? Yes, just like human babies, cats also exhibit the behavior of suckling on their blankets. For some pet parents, this can seem normal. However, for some, this can come as a surprise and you might wonder, why does my cat suck on blankets?
In this article, we will help you get familiar with this particular cat behavior and understand why your cat is doing so.
Why Does My Cat Suck on Blankets?
Cats suckling on blankets mostly happens to young cats that were taken at an early age away from their mother cats. The urge to suckle is necessary for kittens to survive. To continue development and growth, this means cats will try to suck on different things, like your fingers, toys, clothes, even other cats, Practically anything cats can get their mouths on can become a target—the most common of all are blankets!
Blankets are commonly available and offer comfort and security to cats, reminding them of their mother cat and the litter they once belonged to. Cats suck on blankets to soothe themselves in whatever they may be feeling at the moment. Suckling blankets also comes with some purring and kneading.
Do Cats Suckle Into Adulthood?
The suckling behavior of young cats usually goes away on its own as they grow older. However, for some, they carry the behavior into adulthood. Here are some of the common reasons why cats suck on blankets:
Why do cats suck on blankets? Suckling is a very strong cat instinct, especially in kittens. Kittens will try to suckle anything they will find soft, warm, and comforting. But every cat is different, some may take much longer to grow out of the habit or never grow out of it. Because it is a natural behavior for cats, suckling has no definite end period. Cats suckling on blankets can be likened to a person with a thumb-sucking habit. Some cats may not be inclined to continue the habit, while others are very persistent.
Aside from suckling being a natural instinct in cats, it is also because of genetics. Some cat breeds are more prone to developing suckling behaviors than others. In the study made on the breed differences of heritable behavior traits in cats, it was concluded that certain breeds like Burmese cats, Siamese cats, and Oriental mixed breeds were most likely to suckle. Genetics can play a large role in behavior, so it is not surprising that your cat sucking on blankets may be influenced by genetics as well.
Stress and Anxiety
If your furbaby is stressed and anxious, they may develop obsessive-compulsive behaviors that may include cat suckling. Obsessive-compulsive behavior in cats, according to PetMD, is a behavioral disorder where your furbaby will engage in repetitious, excessive behaviors that are apparently without purpose. A cat suckling blanket during times and situations of stress and anxiety is searching for a sense of comfort and safety and is trying to soothe themselves from it.
Cats have different ways of communicating. Some cats excessively vocalize or scratch when they are bored. But for some, suckling is their way of telling you that they need environmental stimulation. You may offer your cats these cat enrichment toys to help them cope. Mental enrichment is essential for a healthy, happy cat.
Eating, chewing, or sucking at non-food items may be a sign of underlying gastrointestinal issues in your furbaby. These issues may include food allergies or inflammatory bowel disease. This may look different than the other causes as your cat may be attempting to eat the blanket.
Generally, cats suckling on blankets is not a cause of concern. However, it becomes an issue if this behavior begins to become destructive, ruining your decor, contributing to anxiety, and building frustration in your home. A cat sucking on blankets is harmful both for your cat and members of your family when turns into a stressful situation.
What Should You Do About a Cat Sucking on Blankets?
Now that you know the answer to the question, why do cat suck on blankets, let’s dive into when the behavior needs stopped and how to stop it. Here are a few simple ways to prevent a cat sucking blankets or improve the safety.
Meet your cat’s environmental needs.
Your cat’s environment is very important in living a healthier, happier life. Make sure that they are provided with a happy home environment and offered different enriching activities that will stimulate them physically and mentally. Simple things like the Forager™ Bowl that acts as a snuffle mat for cats or a window perch can help your cat feel more fulfilled. Provide them hiding spaces, enough litterboxes and scratching posts, cat enrichment toys, etc. to help prevent behavioral issues.
Eliminate stress triggers.
If cat suckling is caused by stress and anxiety, identify what causes it and eliminate them. Is it something that they perceived as a threat to their territory? Changes in their daily routine? A dirty litterbox? Loud noises? Or something outside the window? Deal with these stressors to help minimize your cat’s stress and anxiety.
Provide safe cat blankets.
If your cat sucking on blanket is not due to excess anxiety and they are not eating objects, it is not necessary to prevent it. However, loose strings from blankets can unintentionally cause issues and they might end up hurting themselves; or if ingested, might be developing gastrointestinal issues.
A simple way to fix this is to provide a cat-safe blanket. Pet Parents® Pawtect® Blanket is made with LockJaw® edges that prevents fraying and loose ends. These cat blankets are also waterproof so that your cat’s suckling does not seep through to create wet spots on your sofa or bed. Plus, Pawtect® Blankets are made of Sherpup® material for ultimate softness and comfort for your cat.
Consult your vet.
The answer to, “Why does my cat suck on blankets,” can be different for every cat. So, to help determine if this is a problem for your cat, a veterinarian should be consulted. Your vet may want to conduct exams or simply have you monitor the behavior, depending on your situation. This is especially important if your cat seems to pick up the habit suddenly or they are ingesting strings or pieces of fabric.
Why do cats suck on blankets? Cats do so for different reasons. It may be because of their genetics and natural instincts, stress, anxiety, boredom, or gastrointestinal issues. Cat suckling is generally harmless, you just have to make sure that this behavior is not actively harming your furbaby or anyone in your family.
"Pet Parents® Pawtect® Blanket is made with LockJaw® edges that prevents fraying and loose ends."
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