Wait, what? Pacifier for kittens? Yes, if you live with a feline that loves to suckle on anything they find, a kitten pacifier is a handy tool to have at home.
A kitten pacifier is a great way to wean a kitten off its mother. It comes in handy when raising a kitten that is still holding onto the suckling behavior. Also, a kitten pacifier keeps your feline from sucking and destroying items you treasure in the home.
Kittens are like toddlers. They want to be babied, nurtured, and catered to until they can stand on their four paws. Though a kitten pacifier is not on the list of things to buy for your tabby, it might come in handy if your feline has a suckling habit that does not stop.
Why do kittens have a suckling habit?
A kitten will exhibit a sucking behavior if it was weaned off its mother early. Ideally, kittens need to suckle for 4 weeks before weaning. In this period, the kittens receive all the necessary nutrients from the mother’s milk. The little fur baby also gets enough time to bond with its mother and littermates.
The smallest feline is a masterpiece
-Leonardo Da Vinci
But sometimes early weaning is initiated by the mother cat. Some tabbies get tired of suckling their kittens and decide to cut the supply. Some kittens can get over it, but there are those in the litter that will still have a suckling behavior.
Are some cat breeds more prone to suckling?
Although it is not scientifically proven, some cat breeds, especially of the oriental kind, are more likely to carry the suckling habit. A Siamese, Bengal, Burmese, and Burmilla are some of the cats that would exhibit excessive suckling behavior.
Anxiety can drive even an older cat to adopt a suckling behavior. Cats are like people in that they get stressed and anxious when experiencing sudden change. It could be a change in their usual environment, a learned routine, change in owners, or the loss of a fellow bonded cat.
Woolen materials are a cat’s favorite thing to suck on. If you notice your newly adopted kitty suckling and kneading on your throw blanket, it could be a coping mechanism for separation anxiety.
VIDEO: Cat Suckling on Blanket
Suckling establishes trust
It is one thing if your kitty is suckling and kneading on blankets. But if he transfers the same habit onto your skin or lap, then it is a sign of love and trust. For kittens, suckling is a feeding and bonding action. As they suckle on their mother, they feel safe and loved in their immediate environment.
A kitten would do the same to you if it loves you. This would usually happen when petting the cat and they reciprocate by suckling your skin.
VIDEO: Cat Suckling on a Finger
Why a kitten pacifier?
A kitten pacifier would only be necessary if a cat’s suckling behavior gets out of hand. This is when they choose to suckle on anything anytime. If you are tired of your beddings and upholstery always feeling damp with kitty saliva, then a kitten pacifier is the perfect substitute .
How do you choose the perfect kitten pacifier?
A good kitten pacifier is one that is safe and clean for your cat to suck on. It should also be made from soft material that your cat can easily get attached to.
A Kitten is, in the animal world, what a rosebud is in the garden
Commercial pacifiers are not great because they are designed for toddlers. They may be too big to fit your kitten’s mouth. Also, the material used for the pacifier may be too hard for your kitty to suck on.
The only way to ensure your feline gets the right pacifier is by making him one. It is a simple DIY project that only takes minutes and uses materials available in your home. Here is what you will need.
Step by step guide for making kitten pacifier
Choose the right material- this should be a soft material that your kitty favors. This can be a piece of cloth from an old blanket, rug, or pillow cover. Watch what materials your kitten loves to suck on and use a piece of that
Get a commercial pacifier- go for one with a nipple made of silicon. Silicone is soft, durable, and safe for your cat.
With a need and thread, cover the nipple of the commercial pacifier with the material you chose for your kitten. Ensure you run the thread around the material to secure it. Ensure there are no loose threads that will get trapped on your kitty’s claws or choke him.
The kitten pacifier is ready for use. Now to introduce it to your kitty.
How to introduce a kitten pacifier to your kitten
To introduce your homemade kitten pacifier to your feline, you have to remember what suckling means to them. It is a way of feeding and bonding with their mother. You are going to use the bonding part to get your kitty attached to the pacifier.
Since the kitten has now bonded to you, ensure the pacifier carries your scent. This makes them comfortable enough to accept this new toy you made them.
To entice the kitten more, sprinkle some kitten milk or rub one of the cat’s favorite treats on the pacifier. This encourages the cat to chew and suck on the kitten pacifier. With time, they will accept this new habit of sucking on the pacifier which is more desirable.
Always keep the pacifier clean for your cat. This prevents them from ingesting any germs or harmful stuff that will make them sick. And a cat rejects anything that makes them uncomfortable.
Wait till your cat falls asleep and bring the pacifier to their mouth. In this calm state, your kitten will feel like suckling and the pacifier is right there for them.
A kitten pacifier helps you direct your cat’s sucking behavior away from your precious items. Some kittens eventually grow out of the sucking behavior and abandon the pacifier. If your cat continues to exhibit this sucking behavior, one way to wean them completely is to cut off the pacifier nipple.
Find a warm secure place for the kitten to spend the night. A box layered with warm fabrics is perfect for a kitten to sleep in. Once your kitten is properly house trained, you can allow them to sleep outside the enclosed space.
Sucking and kneading blanket is a normal cat behavior that signifies comfort and relaxation. But if your cat sucks and kneads on a blanket at the expense of other activities, then it could be a sign of anxiety. Cat humping blanket is a sign of anxiety as well and you should address the problem immediately.
The best time to adopt a kitten is when they are 4 weeks of age. At this age, they have suckled enough and are ready to start on solid foods. Adopting a 10-week old kitten is even better because they have fully bonded with their mother and littermates.