All About Cats

Chewing/Sucking

Cats can have some pretty wacky habits sometimes. But don't feel alone if your kitty chews or sucks on wool, other cats, or even your skin! 

 

Wool Chewing

 

Many experts believe that the theory behind wool chewing is that some cats crave more fiber in their diet and therefore find it in wool objects, thus chewing those objects to shreds. To cease the unwanted behavior:

Remove, and keep out of the cat’s reach, all objects made of wool. Leave nothing out for the cat to get into, because if this habit is allowed to persist, the cat could really cause harm to him/herself.

- Consult with your vet about a potential diet change. Consider feeding dry food and potentially allowing the cat to free-feed. Talk with the vet about a higher fiber formula.

If a cat refuses to eat high fiber cat food, see if your vet will allow you to add a half-teaspoon of canned pumpkin or bran to his wet food. Start slowly, adding only a few flakes at a time and work up to a half-teaspoon.

Also, provide greens for the cat to chew on such as wheat grass or “cat grass” found in pet supply stores.

 

Wool Sucking

 

Wool sucking is usually attributed to a kitten’s early or abrupt weaning. The cat or kitten continues to nurse on clothing, fabrics, owner’s earlobes or fingers. Some cats even suck their own flanks, tails or paws.

Keep in mind that most cats outgrow the behavior. It is self-calming and soothing.

Put all objects you can out of his/her reach.

The best way to stop the behavior is to distract the cat. When he starts to suck, gently detach him from the object and then pet him or play with him.

Also consider using citrus sprays on the objects or Bitter Apple.

 

Sucking on Littermates/Whisker Chewing

 

This is similar in origin to wool sucking, and is handled in much the same way. Kittens will usually outgrow it and even if they don’t, it is not altogether harmful. As long as the kittens involved are consenting to the behavior, it’s nothing to be worried about. If any of the cats involved seem agitated, distract the sucker with toys when he begins to suck or chew. Consider a brief time-out from each other to break up the behavior.