Some cats seem to be stuck in the habit of suckling. It’s an inborn instinct for kittens. They attach to the mother and get the life-sustaining nutrition they need from birth until they’re weaned by their mothers. Most cats move beyond the suckling stage when they begin to eat solid food, but others seem to remain sucklers for life. One of our housecats couldn’t resist his urges and he would suckle on anything he could find. He would perch on our shoulders and attempt to suckle on our hair. We didn’t know that there were useful devices to help satiate his need for suckling. Yes, they make cat pacifiers to cut down on the messy and slobbery wake left by suckling cats that soak blankets in saliva and anything else they can find. If you have a suckling cat, you’ll find the information we offer highly valuable. Here is everything you need to know about cat pacifiers, what they’re used for, and how they can help with the problem of suckling cats.
What is a cat pacifier?
A cat pacifier is much like a pacifier made for human babies. It’s an artificial nipple created to help satisfy the suckling instincts of cats that continue to suckle after weaning or do not outgrow this stage. Animal shelters report that kittens turned over in large litters frequently suckle on the fur of their siblings in the absence of a mother cat to nurse them. It’s not clear why some cats continue this behavior but it is believed that removing a kitten from his mother too soon can be one cause. The behavior can be annoying, and even dangerous behavior that makes a mess, leaving behind crusty residue from the saliva, and the dried cat spit that is left behind can become airborne and make allergies in humans much worse. It’s a problem with one good solution, and that is a cat pacifier.
Who makes cat pacifiers?
Catster reports that an entrepreneur named Cheryl Edwards developed a cat pacifier she called the Catsifier in 2006. The product became popular with some cat owners and shelters, but when the economic crisis hit, the company went under. The Catsifier was brought back by popular demand in 2012. This is the first commercially produced cat pacifier introduced into the market. The invention gave other inventors a few ideas and now cat pacifiers are more common.
The Catsifier is a cat pacifier that is made to more closely resemble a mother cat in its construction and design. It comes in the form of a pillow cover measuring 17 inches x 17 inches. You can place it over any pillow form of this size, but you don’t need a pillow for it to work. Four nipples, built into the fur fabric placed securely, emerge from the fabric. They’re the ideal size for nursing kittens but also work for larger cats. It gives them the same sensation of nursing on the mother cat, but nothing comes out of the nipples. The Catsifier is made to accommodate a pinch of catnip inside the pillow cover if you prefer to add this extra for your suckling cat. The Catsifier is a comfort toy that helps to stop suckling cats from damaging blankets or bothering humans with their behaviors. You can find the Catsifier at the official company website.
Which cats benefit the most from a cat pacifier?
Kittens are encouraged to nurse on their mothers until they are at least four weeks of age. Some kittens are removed from their mothers too soon. It’s only natural for them to want to continue the suckling behaviors. Kittens that are abandoned are the most likely to continue suckling behavior longer than other kittens, and sometimes throughout their lifespans. Cat pacifiers are the most often needed for kittens of all ages, but primarily for those that are four weeks and older, who continue to suckle. Younger kittens need to eat when they are hungry versus using a pacifier that provides them with no nutrition. Cats that are orphaned are also more likely to become sucklers past their initial kitten phase.
Why do some adult cats continue to suckle?
Adult cats that try to suckle on your skin, hair, or blankets are the exception rather than the rule. This is behavior that is not exactly normal, but all cats are individuals. If you have a fully grown cat that exhibits this behavior, there are a few possible reasons why, and it might be helpful to know what they are. According to Cole and Marmalade, adult cats that continue to suckle obsessively usually engage in these activities because they are stressed. It is a coping mechanism for cats with neurotic tendencies. It is a mental health issue that can happen to any cat. It’s a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder and your cat may not be able to help or control this behavior. He may resort to the behavior any time that he feels anxious, angry, or depressed, which can be often if he has been traumatized early in his life. Cats with high-stress levels may also obsessively lick themselves, meow repeatedly, or groom intensely.
The dangers of compulsive suckling
Compulsive suckling in cats of any age can be dangerous for them. It’s unpleasant for their human owners because of the germs and allergens they spread, not to mention the bad smell it leaves behind on blankets, but there is a bigger danger for the cat with this obsession. Compulsive sucklers will suckle on anything they can find. This includes potentially dangerous items that can be sucked into the windpipe, or swallowed. There is a high risk of any object or objects swallowed obstructing the cat’s digestive system. The dual threats of choking or becoming obstructive can be deadly for suckling cats. Pet parents of suckling cats are responsible for monitoring their cat’s behaviors to try to prevent this from happening and it can be stressful and time-consuming for everyone in the family.
Are cat pacifiers dangerous?
High-quality cat pacifiers are not dangerous for your cats if they are well constructed of durable materials that can hold up under repeated use. It’s essential to check on the condition of your cat’s pacifier regularly and inspect it for signs of wear or damage. It should be replaced if you see any signs that the materials are beginning to wear so it does not become a choking hazard. Cat pacifiers are not dangerous for kittens or adult cats and there is no known health risk other than those that are old and damaged with a risk of causing choking or obstructions. The opposite is true for cat pacifiers. They can help to prevent your cat from suckling on dangerous objects. It helps to satisfy the obsessive-compulsive feelings that these cats have when they are stressed out. It can even help to lower the amount of licking and compulsive grooming behaviors, lessening the amount of fur your cat ingests.
Can you make your cat pacifier?
Yes, you can make your cat pacifier but you must be careful about the construction to ensure that it is safe and healthy for your cat. Choose only the most durable materials. In this case, latex is the preferred material for the nipples. You can find latex nipples in kitten bottles made for orphaned kitties at most veterinary or pet supply stores. It’s essential to get the strongest and best quality nipples for this project, so don’t go with the cheapest ones you can find. You can also use material from a human baby binky that is high quality, to make the nipple. Find a baby pacifier that is round-shaped and small enough to fit in your cat/kitten’s mouth. It may take some sleuthing but they’re out there. The wider pacifiers are usually too large. Choose soft blanket material or fake cat fur that is strong and will not come apart when your cat kneads it constantly. Kneading is a behavior that goes along with suckling in most cases. Think in terms of strength and durability overlooks when selecting the fabric for your cat pacifier project.
Assemble the materials
According to PetKen, the cat pacifier needs to be secured to the fabric. You can also mount it in a soft cat toy. You can use any type of heavy-duty thread or nylon thread to sew the pacifier securely into the cat toy or fabric. The human baby pacifier has a solid base to which it is attached. This will hold it firmly in place and you can slip it under the fabric to conceal the base, then sew around it to seal it firmly into the fabric. This is where you use your creativity to keep the pacifier held securely in place. There are several different ways to make a cat pacifier but the main thing to keep in mind is to ensure that it is safe, sturdy, and secure. You don’t want to give your cat a product that puts his health at risk.
How can I limit my cat’s suckling response?
There are a few things you can do to try to help your cat with his obsessive-compulsive disorder, but there are a few things you should know beforehand. Cat neuroses like this are not going to go away overnight. There is likely little that you can do to cure the problem, although each cat is an individual and may outgrow these behaviors in time. It depends on what caused the behavior to begin with. It’s something you may never know. Since your cat’s behavior may either be caused by separation too early from the mother or a stress-related disorder, the pacifier can help him to better cope with his emotions in a safer way. The best that you can do for your cat is to help shield him from stressful situations. It’s sometimes helpful to have a quiet and comfortable area of the home that is free from traffic and loud noises. Give him a sanctuary where he can go to be in a soothing environment when you have guests or strangers in the home. Often, a retreat can help your cat to feel less stressed. It’s not likely that you will be able to stop your cat from suckling when he feels anxious, but you can supply him with a stress-free area that may offer some relief.
Suckling cats are sending you a message. Their behaviors signal that they’re feeling stressed out and attempting to find a way to cope with their feelings. You may never be able to stop your cat from suckling as it’s something he will either grow out of or not. You can help him to cope in safer ways by providing him with something safe and effective to suckle on that will make him feel more satisfied and less stressed. The problem is much more widespread than many cat owners realize. Cats may start this behavior as kittens, then outgrow it as they age, but some adult cats are sucklers for life. These are the ones that you need to monitor and work with. As pet parents, it’s no fun to find cat saliva on your favorite blankets or pillows or have a cat try to nurse on your hair or neck. Some suckling cats ingest dangerous objects that can make them sick or even kill them. There’s not much you can do to stop them, but you can provide them with a safe alternative that presents no danger to their health. Either purchase or make your OCD kitty a cat pacifier.