Should I discourage her? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Should I discourage her?

Back when Nito was just starting to accept the kittens, Chica would jump at every opportunity to snuggle him. When he groomed her, she'd need his tummy and nose at it and try to suckle him. It was pretty cute.

My sister mentioned to me, after she'd adopted Chica's brother Keanu, that he would do this to her neck at night. I didn't believe it until he did it to me! It was super cute, I'll admit, to have him kneading and snuggling gently into my neck.

After they were spayed and neutered, Nito did not recognize them for a while. Chica could no longer get groomed by him, or knead his tummy. She turned to me. Every night she insists on getting all over my face, and she noses really eagerly into my ear and hair mostly, and will push and push trying to get farther into my neck and hair. Her claws knead all crazy and she sometimes tangles them into my hair! She also sucks on my hair too.

Now, I enjoy this behavior from time to time, but it's obnoxious when she "molests" me in the middle of the night. I literally have to hold her face back to keep her away. Kicking her out of the bedroom is out of the question, I love sleeping with her and don't mind having to deal with her (MOST nights). When she does it, her ears go back and she purrs totally loud and seems almost zoned out. She'll knead and any little crook she can reach but loves hair. I'm wondering if this behavior is destructive to her in a psychological manner, or if it's alright that I let it continue? Nito has now allowed her to knead his tummy like she loves to, but only tolerates it for a short while before scolding her.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 06:30 PM
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Re: Should I discourage her?

This behavior is an indicator of having been separated from mama too soon. If you don't stop her it will continue her whole life, the longer it goes on, the harder it will be to break. It may be cute now while she's a baby....but will become seriously annoying when she does this as an adult.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-09-2009, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Should I discourage her?

Yes, that is what I've always heard about the kneading/suckling behaviors. I've heard of cats sucking of wool etc.

Another one of our cats was obsessed with going after noses and ears, shoving his nose into in as far as he could at night. Hopefully getting pushed off the bed at night when she gets into it will give her the message that it's not appropriate. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 times, but after a few tries I use a scruff hold to put her on the ground and she'll take a hint. Is it one of those things I should stop completely, or can it be allowed every so often (like when cuddling on the couch, etc)
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-10-2009, 12:37 PM
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Re: Should I discourage her?

My family rescued a stray kitten once that was far too young to be separated from its mother. It displayed the same behavior for a few months, and we never discouraged it. Once he grew up, he moved onto blankets, robes and stuffed animals--anything that has a certain texture that he likes. He doesn't actually suck on things anymore, but he still does the kneading/purring/zoned out thing, and rubs his nose on stuff. It's clearly not normal, but it doesn't really bother anyone.

Interestingly, he's generally a really unpleasant cat, haha. Seriously though, I believe that being separated from his mom/littermates so young really damaged him. He's very aggressive, dominant, awkward, acts out a lot. That isn't to say that your kitten will develop the same issues--Kipper was VERY young, and feral, and probably a little bizarre inherently.
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