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Kitten suckling from a male cat

  1. Aug 14, 2004 #1
    My neighbors have 3 cats, which I'm looking after this week, and looked after for a few days about a month and a half ago. The three cats are one adult male, one adult female, and a kitten. The last time I watched them, the kitten was very small, about 4 weeks old, and the female and kitten had started a mother-son relationship, the kitten and the female slept together, the kitten suckled from the female etc. Then the kitten got too playful for the female cat's likings, it started pouncing on her tail and just annoying her in general, so the female cat's been driven off, and the kitten and the male (who likes to play alot too) have become companions. The kitten is pretty big now, about 3/4 grown, and according to their owners, the kitten has actually started suckling from the male :eek:

    Why would that happen? It's clearly big enough that even if it were with it's original mother it wouldn't be suckling anymore, and it's suckling from a male cat, why does the male allow that?
     
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  3. Aug 14, 2004 #2

    Evo

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    I've seen the same thing happen with my adult male cat Tubby. Kiitens suckle him and he allows it to the point that they make him a bit raw, but he is an excellent mother. One kitten started this behavior around 6 months of age, it was weird. The mother wanted nothing to do with the kitten.
     
  4. Aug 14, 2004 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    My experience has been that kittens that are weaned too young develop a life-long suckling fixation and will continue to suckle and knead on anything that will allow it for the rest of their lives, whether it's another cat, a towel, my favorite angora sweater, etc. The weirdest case I ever saw of this was with a group of 7 Balinese kittens. They all chose one particular kitten from the litter to suckle on. Very odd!
     
  5. Aug 14, 2004 #4

    Kerrie

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    when i got my kitten, she suckled on my velour blanket for weeks since it felt like the tummy of her mommy...then summer came, and i was able to put it away, and she was officially weened...
     
  6. Aug 14, 2004 #5

    Moonbear

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    One of my friend's cats would sit and suck on the tip of his own tail, though shoelaces were acceptable as well. Weaning is sometimes initiated by people rather than by the queen or kitten, which is usually too young. It sounds like in this case, the queen weaned the kitten before the kitten was ready. I'm surprised the male cat is patient or tolerant enough of this behavior, but from the kitten side it doesn't seem so odd...the kitten doesn't really care who or what it suckles on.

    I'm curious about the male behavior of allowing the suckling. Are they neutered males, or the fathers of the kittens? Did they do this with the first litter they were exposed to, or did tolerance of this start after being around multiple litters (maybe an experience-based thing)?
     
  7. Aug 14, 2004 #6

    Evo

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    In the case of the 6 month old that started on the male, he was the father, not neutered. He has since been neutered and I noticed day before yesterday that he's being suckled again. His daughter died some time ago. He's been disappearing for days at a time recently. I think he's found some abandoned kittens that he's taking care of.
     
  8. Aug 15, 2004 #7

    Moonbear

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    Wow, that's so interesting! I never considered cats to be particularly paternal, but it seems they are excessively so...or at least some anyway.
     
  9. Aug 15, 2004 #8
    None of the cats I was talking about have any relationship to each other (unless by chance), they were all purchased from a pet store. I'm not sure if the male is neutered however.
     
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