December 9, 2021

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Why Do Cats Suck on Blankets? 5 Reasons

3 min read

Have you ever had a cat who sucked on everything in sight? I never have, but in some ways I almost kind of wish I had. There’s something ridiculously cute about watching a cat kneading and sucking on blankets while purring his fool head off. Need proof? Check out the video below. Of course, if you live with a blanket or clothing sucker, I’m sure it’s not nearly as cute to you.

Blankets

If you’ve suffered from kitty spit-soaked bedding or ruined sweaters, I totally get that you’d probably trade your wool sucker for one of my feline family members. You’ve probably also wondered, “Why do cats suck on blankets?” Well, wonder no more. Here are some of the most common answers to “Why do cats suck on blankets?”

1. Kittens suck on blankets if separated too early from their mothers

This answer to “Why do cats suck on blankets?” makes sense in some Freudian way, but I’m not sure it holds water. I adopted my cat, Siouxsie, and her twin sister when they were just six weeks old because back then I didn’t know kittens should be kept with their mothers for at least eight weeks. Neither Siouxsie nor Sinéad ever sucked fabric, though. I don’t know many orphaned “bottle baby” kittens, so I don’t know if this behavior is more common for them than for other cats.

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2. Certain cat breeds are more inclined to suckle blankets and similar things

Siamese and other Oriental breed cats are more likely to nurse fabric than other cats. Although there doesn’t seem to be any genetic cause for this, it’s well known that Oriental breed cats require a longer weaning period than most other cats.

3. Your cat sucking on blankets or other fabrics is a form of relaxation

Another answer to “Why do cats suck on blankets?” Like thumb sucking in little children, nursing wool is a behavior that provides a sense of comfort and safety. A sensitive kitten may grow up into a fabric-sucking cat because that behavior reminds her of being safe and surrounded by her mother and littermates.

4. A cat nursing on blankets, clothes or other fabrics is a demonstration of trust

If your cat takes to sitting in your lap and nursing your clothes, she’s showing you that she feels complete faith in your ability to protect her from harm. It takes a lot of concentration to nurse, and it would be hard for her to focus that intensely if she didn’t feel safe.

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5. A cat may suckle blankets or other items to cope with overwhelming stress

There are, unfortunately, some negative answers to the question “Why do cats suck on blankets?” It seems counterintuitive that nursing behavior could show total trust or total freak-out anxiety, but it’s true. When a cat starts using behavior that reminds her of the safety of her kittenhood as way to comfort herself when she occasionally feels stressed, that’s cute. But when anxiety pervades every aspect of her life to the point where she’s suckling constantly in an attempt to self-soothe, that’s a problem.

What to do if your cat is sucking on blankets or other fabric

So, what should you do if your cat is suckling on blankets or other fabric and you’re concerned about it? First, you’ll need to get to the root of the stresses in her life and try to resolve them. Add vertical and horizontal territory for your cat, use interactive play as a tool to help her gain confidence. Perhaps even talk to your vet, who may prescribe a short course of anti-anxiety medication.

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