Overall, nursing is a natural behavior in cats, especially kittens. Throughout their life, the average felines nurse on a wide range of objects as well as humans in their surroundings. Most cat parents feel that it's fine to let kittens nurse on their feet, hand and other body parts but others have certain concerns. "Should I do something if my kitten tries to nurse on me times and again?", "Is constant nursing a sign of physical/mental issues?", "What needs to be done if kittens use claws while nursing?", ...
You have similar questions mind? If that happens to be the case then you have come to the right place. Check out the following information to understand the nursing behavior in kittens and related issues,
Nursing In Kitten: Possible Motivations
Generally speaking, kittens would nurse on their owners for various reasons but if your fluffy friend frequently nurses on you, keep in mind these causes.
Negative Emotions (Anxious, Lonely, Nervous,...)
Cats like familiar routines and well-acquainted sceneries which mean abrupt changes in the surrounding could alter their daily behaviors. Under stress, the felines may do all sorts of things to calm down including nursing on people in the house. To your fluffy friend, you happen to be the strongest creatures in its world so it feels safe around you. In addition, kitten also nurses on their owner if they currently have nothing do so when your furball nurse on you, it's probably bored.
Early Separation From The Mom
Generally speaking, kittens should stay with the mother cat for at least 12 weeks after birth. In the case your kitten got separated from its mom before Week 12, it might experience an urge to nurse on something that resembles the queen. So if you notice your fluffy friend nursing on you time and again, you must remind it of its mother. Most of the time, it's fine for cat parents to allow the kittens to do as they please. Nonetheless, the nursing behavior eventually needs to be discouraged as the felines start to mature.
Genetic Inheritance In Certain Breeds
Through somewhat abstract researches, several feline experts theorize that nursing behavior may be hereditary. Kittens that belong to breeds like Tonkinese, Balinese, Siamese and so on have high chances of nursing on their owner. Even mixed offspring of cats that come from such breeds also seem to experience the nursing issue to some extent. Cat breeds of Europe, as well as North American origin, rarely exhibit the nursing behavior.
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How To Handle Nursing Kittens
Because the majority of household cats naturally grow out of nursing as time passes by, all you need to do is to wait it out. Someday in the near future, your kitten shall lose interest in the nursing and proceed to leave you in peace. Until that takes place, feel free to indulge your furball for the time being to deepen the pet-owner relationship. Due to the fact that kittens could soak the clothes of their owner during a nursing session, it's wise to keep blankets on hand.
Mitigating The Behavior: Available Choices
"Should I do something if my kitten tries to nurse on me?". If your kitten is still at a tender age, go with the flow. "My grownup kitten tries to nurse on me and I feel bothered by it. How could I curb the nursing?" Well, if the nursing of your fluffy friend causes your great distress then it's best to introduce some moderations. Down below, you would see a few ways that mitigate the nursing behavior in kittens.
Put Together An Enriching Environment
A lot of kittens like to nurse on their owners simply because they feel bored. As a result, if you ask yourselves "Why my kitten tries to nurse on me?", it's strongly recommended that you re-assess the interior. Place toys, scratchers and so on across the house in order to keep your kitten entertained in your absence. Additionally, you should spare some moments every day just to play with the pet so it never finds itself neglected. If possible, you must consider adopting another kitten to give your fluffy friend a playmate.
Be Careful While Making Changes
The felines have fairly sharp sense so they could notice subtle changes in their surroundings. To avoid stressing your kitten by mistake, which may make it nurse on you, introduce changes at a slow pace. From re-arranging the interior to moving house, you better take your cat into account. In most of the cases, it's widely advised that cat parents give kittens times to acclimatize to the changes. So instead of forcing the felines to accept, let them adapt on their own terms.
Introduce Strict But Gentle Discipline
As the teeth of cats develop, their nursing would cause considerable pain to pet owners. To tell your furball that you don't approve of its action, proceed to remove it right away if you see signs of impending nursing. Repeat the process again and again until your kitten come it realize that it gets nowhere by nursing on you. For maximum effect, you have to be consistent in order to make the message clear. During the correction process, refrain from using physical punishments as that tend to leave negative impressions which creates more issues.
Add More Fiber Into Meals
A couple of kittens compulsively nurse on the clothes of their owners because they don't feel full after mealtime. That means if people ensure that kittens have their fill every day then the nursing should come to a stop. To achieve that goal without putting your kitten at risk of obesity, simply add more fiber to its daily diet. Not only the extra fiber makes the felines feel full longer but it also offers boosts to their digestive system.
Hand Out Kitten-Prescribed Medications
In case everything mentioned above fails then medications may be the last resorts here. That being said, you must obtain clearances from veterinarians before giving your kitten prescription drugs.