Why Do Cats Suck on Blankets or Clothing?

Some cat owners are familiar with this funny little cat behavior, I’m sure – the act of sucking on blankets or clothing. Yes, cats can suck on soft materials, and if you own a cat that happens to be a “sucker,” although you might it to be cute, you probably also know it can be an annoyance as well, especially if you get into bed to find your comfy blanket soaked with cat saliva, or you go to put on your favorite sweater, and you find it in the same condition. Whether you own a cat that sucks on anything and everything, or not, you may wonder what the reason is that causes your cat to suck on anything at all. Well, there are a few reasons why some cats suck on blankets or clothing, and here are a few of them.

1. Separated too early from their mother

Cats need their time with their mothers when they are young. It’s been said that this is definitely a good Freudian explanation for cat sucking behavior, because orphaned kittens do go through adaptation issues if they are abandoned or taken away from their mothers too early. All kittens nurse and suckle, like any mammal, for a length of time after they are born. They are typically not separated from their mother until at least eight weeks of age, so if they are, it is thought to play a role in the development of becoming a fabric sucker.

2. Certain breeds have more of an instinct to suckle soft fabrics

There are certain breeds that tend to be more likely of becoming fabric suckers than others. Siamese, among other Oriental breeds have been known to be more highly likely to suck blankets and soft fabrics over other breeds. There is no known genetic reason behind this, however, these types of breeds do require an longer weaning period over other breeds, so this may play a role in their need to suckle on these types of materials.

3. An expression of relaxation

We have all known a child who likes to relax rubbing on a soft, silky material. It’s a form of relaxation for young children, and this is definitely a reason why kittens begin to learn to do the same things, but unlike children, this habit can follow kittens into their adulthood. This behavior reminds them of being around their mother and siblings and relaxes them.

4. A demonstration of trust

If you have ever been holding your cat in your lap and notice her begin to suck on a soft fabric close by, you should know that she is doing this under complete trust of you. There is a lot of concentration and focus needed to nurse, which means that your cat is in complete trust of you, that you have her safety in your hands. She is not on the lookout for anything happening at the moment, but trusting she is completely safe with you, which is a good thing.

5. Way of coping with stress

When cat’s get stressed or feel overwhelmed, they tend to exhibit behaviors as a way of coping. In the same way that your cat can lay in your lap and suck on a close-by blanket or material because she is so relaxed and trusting of you, the same can go for your cat feeling stressed and overwhelmed due to whatever circumstances. She may be doing this to calm herself for the moment, however, if it is a continual behavior, your feline might be feeling under continual stress and you may want to look into this situation to help her relax without having to always suckle on garments.

What should you do if your cat is sucking on clothing and blankets?

If you have noticed that your cat is sucking on fabrics on a regular basis, you should probably try to get to the bottom of the issue and figure out why. You don’t want your cat to be living under continuous stress in her life. One way to help give your cat some other ways of dealing with stressful issues, is to give her things to do, such as adding vertical and horizontal territory for you cat to utilize. These are ways to add interactive playtime and exercise into her day and help her to regain some “cat confidence”. If you still have questions and concerns, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian to see if they can help you with the issue. In some cases, a cat may need to be put on a medication to help control their anxiety level.

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