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oral fixation

Rafiki

Site Supporter
#1
Rafiki is now about 21 months old and she has begun to develop some oral fixation issues.

She has always been rather nuts about grooming - herself, the other cat, us, total strangers. But now that has progressed to other bits of weirdness.

When she kneads bread on my arm, she will suck on my arm as well. Not just a few licks but she will appear to nurse on my poor arm. She also wants to suck our fingers. She is extremely insistent - she will grab your hand repeatedly with her paws to draw your fingers into her mouth. Then she will suck each finger in turn and slobber all over.

In addition, she has begun to nip. It used to be that if she was overly excited when being petted and cuddled, she would do a love bite to the nose. We have learned that our fleshy noses are very enticing and try to keep away. But now she is also nipping randomly to get attention. When I make her meals, she will frequently nip at my knees. When we are sleeping, our heels become victims. She never bites hard, just a less than endearing little nip.

These behaviors, aside from the bread kneading, only started a few months ago. Any clues as to the cause? And the cure?
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#2
The kneading and sucking is not uncommon, I've seen it develop in older cats as well as kittens. The nipping may be an escalation of her overstimulation. I would use whatever 'discipline' works best for her, whether it be redirection, scruffing, time outs, etc. As long as you continue to allow the behaviors she will continue to persist with them.
 

Rafiki

Site Supporter
#3
Is she going thru some sort of kitten to cat phase? Or just pushing my buttons (and her boundaries)? The finger sucking and little nips both started around the same time.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#4
It sounds like a phase she is going through which she may or may not grow out of. I have a SV who started doing that when she was about four years old... years later she still tries to chew on my fingers when she gets the whim - and she bites hard! Bottom line, best to try to correct the behavior now because there is no guarantee that it is temporary.
 

wcdove58

Savannah Kitten
#5
My seven-month-old F6 female Savannah (Nala) "latches onto" my neck several times a day. It's as if she's nursing; she suckles, kneads and purrs (extremely loudly). It really doesn't bother me; just makes me feel like her "real" Mommy. Although I do have to keep her nails trimmed short because they are very sharp and painful when she kneads me! For me, the best part is after she is finished suckling, she lies in my arms purring until she falls asleep!
 

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