If you’ve noticed your cat has a habit of sucking on blankets, do you need to worry? Is it a sign of a problem or is it completely normal in household felines? The answer to why cats suck on blankets is not as simple as it seems. Some cats simply like the feeling, while for others cats it’s a sign of anxiety, and when your cat constantly ingests the fabric from blankets, it could be a sign of something more serious.
So do you need to worry? Well, it depends. Let’s talk about the possible reasons why your cat may have a habit of sucking on blankets.
Reasons Why Cats Suck on Blankets
Cats tend to be secretive. When they’re in pain or distress, they will try to hide it as much as they can. And this includes feeling anxious or stressed. If your cat is adjusting to a new environment, recovering from an injury, or you’ve introduced new pets in the house, your cat may feel anxious and intimidated by the changes. To help ease the anxiety, your cat may be sucking on blankets to soothe themselves.
Sucking on a soft non-food item may bring about a feeling of calm in cats because it reminds them of their mother’s warm and soft body when they were nursing. You might want to evaluate your cat’s environment to see if there are changes to its litter box, its relationship with other pets in the house, and other behavioral changes that may have caused your cat’s anxiety.
Your Cat May Have Been Weaned Too Early
Kittens who are weaned too early and separated from their mothers may enjoy sucking on blankets because it reminds them of their mothers. Some kittens never get over the behavior and develop the habit well into adulthood. Kittens 8 weeks old and below knead on and suckle at their mother’s nipple to nurse, but if they’re separated before they are 8 weeks old, they may seek the comfort, safety, and security they had with the suckle mechanism, and thus, have a habit of sucking on blankets.
Blankets Remind Them of You
If you’re always away at work or you’re frequently not been at home recently, your cat may seek the comfort of your scent by sucking on your blanket. Cats are highly sensitive to smell and any leftover scent you may have can give your cat the comfort they seek when you’re not around. Another reason could also be boredom since you’re not there to play with them or your attention is somewhere else.
Certain Cat Breeds
Certain cat breeds are known to suckle blankets more than others. Oriental breeds such as Siamese and Birmans are more likely to nurse on fabric than others. This is because they usually require longer weaning periods than most other cats. If they have been separated from their mothers, Oriental breeds may suck blankets more as a way to comfort and wean themselves out of sucking.
Sign of a Health Problem
Certain cats that may have underlying health problems will develop a habit of sucking or chewing on blankets or other non-food items. A condition called pica is the act of ingesting fabric and other items and could be a sign of leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus, anemia, or dental disease. Pica is the act of suckling, tearing up an object, and ingesting it.
If your cat’s behavior is bothering you, or if your blankets are being damaged by the act, there are things you can do to help stop the behavior. While it is usually not a sign of worry, you should bring your cat to the vet to check if it is suffering from any medical condition, before you take the necessary steps to help your cat stop the behavior.
How to Stop Your Cat From Sucking On Blankets
1. Play with Your Cat
Some cats may be sucking on blankets because of boredom or you’re not giving them enough attention. Playing with your cat not only provides it with stimulation or attention but also prevents your cat from feeling neglected. Sucking or chewing on your things may just be a call for attention because you’re not spending enough time with your kitty.
2. Comfort Your Cat
If your cat is showing signs of anxiety or stress, you might want to pet your cat, let it sit on your lap, or cuddle with it. Soothing your cat on your own may prevent it from sucking on your blankets to soothe itself.
3. Create a Safe Environment
If you’re bringing in new pets to your household, help make the transition easier on your cat. You can gradually introduce the new member of the house, or you can make your cat’s territories more secure and exclusive, and don’t make any changes in how you treat your pet kitty. Cats are sensitive to change and any new additions can cause stress and anxiety, which may lead your cat to suck on blankets to reduce its uncomfortable emotions.
4. Bring Your Cat to the Vet
If you’ve tried the previous tips but your cat is still sucking on blankets, it may be time to bring your cat to the vet to check for underlying medical conditions. Your cat may simply be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and sucking on blankets might be its way of easing the pain. Or, it could be a sign of something else.
Why do cats love sucking on blankets?
Cats love sucking on blankets for many reasons, one of which is to ease their anxiety. Sucking a soft item reminds them of nursing on their mother’s nipple, so it helps to bring them comfort and security. However, there are also other reasons, so it’s best to check with a vet if you want to feel confident that your cat is healthy.
Do cats want to eat fabric when they suck on blankets?
No, cats don’t want to eat the fabric but they love the act of suckling, especially cats that were weaned too early. Some cats, though, suffer from pica, which is the act of sucking, tearing things apart, and eating them. Pica is a sign that something may be wrong with your cat’s health.
Can you give a blanket to your cat as a comfort toy?
It’s not ideal to give your cat a blanket as a comfort toy because your cat may tear it apart, ingest it, and result in gastrointestinal problems such as intestinal blocking, indigestion, choking, and other digestive problems. There are certain toys designed for cats, especially for suckling and these are better ideas to help your cat soothe itself.
Sucking on blankets or otherwise known as “wool sucking” in cats is quite common and usually not a cause for concern. If your cat is damaging your blankets, you might want to try the tips mentioned above to help them stop the behavior. However, when your cat is tearing your blanket apart and eating it, then that can be a cause for worry. If you’re unsure about your cat’s habits or behavior, take it to the vet to give you peace of mind.