When a cat is weaned too early

Allison.Mau

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Someone in my neighborhood found my boy Jack on the streets when he was about 4 weeks old. I decided to take him in and we have been taking care of and loving him for the past two years! Since he was found at 4 weeks old, he was obviously weaned too early. Through out his time with us we have noticed weird behaviors....sucking on blankets....biting our hands...chewing on wood...which we believe is all caused from this. These behaviors happened more so when he was a kitten and has gotten better. The past few days, however, we have noticed that he is obsessively licking our comforter on our bed and leaving wet spots.

My question is: when kittens are weaned too early.....do they display behavioral issues from this later in life or is it just when they are a kitten? I am curious if the blanket licking is associated to this..now that he is 2 years old.

Thank you!
 

Kieka

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Any time you see a change in behavior a vet check is always a good place to start. Excessive licking could be rooted in a medical cause from trying to self sooth because of an illness or injury that is otherwise invisible (think a kid tugging their ear at the onset of an ear infection).

If that's clear, then you are onto stress causing it. Any recent changes in the household? Is it a new blanket? Did you make any changes to the furniture? New animals in your home (or that may be visible to him)? Again, it could be self soothing like a person who Stims when they stress. It could be something little or something big depending on how used to stressor he is.

If there is nothing new and you've ruled out medical, it could just be something that you've recently noticed more but he's been doing. Or it could be he's developing a habit. Personally, if I ruled out medical and stress, I'd put a sheet or different blanket out that he isn't as inclined yo lick. Just to make sure he doesn't escalate and turn to licking himself. My boy started over grooming and while we got the medical handled, he still has a little obsessive grooming because it took a while to solve the problem. Luckily he directs it outwardly now but I still have to be careful that he doesn't accidentally damage something and ingest something he shouldn't. I tend to hide something if I notice him getting obsessive on a specific item .
 

Alldara

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You should check his mouth for any redness or swelling in the gums. That would need a vet's advice. Chewing is usually a sign of gingivitis or stomachitis.

Hand attacks are something many kittens need trained out of, especially ones that don't have other cats to wrestle with. Does he have some kicker toys that he uses?

Suckling can be normal for cats who lost their mums too soon.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Hekitty was taken from her mom at just short of 5 weeks, and dumped on my doorstep. Although I did supplement her with a bottle as we continued to work on weaning, she also found a lot of comfort in kneading and "nursing" on the inside of my right elbow. LOL, due to the constant kneading, I looked like I had some obscure skin disease from the tiny scabs that ran from mid-forearm to just above my elbow. I was told she would almost certainly outgrow it, but...sixteen years later, after losing her in February, the last of the scabs have just recently fallen off. And most cats will have one particular thing/place that they do this. I think that may go back to the fact that kittens in a litter will find one particular nipple that is a favorite, and stick with that one.

So, yes, this behavior can and does continue into adulthood, and even old age, although the fact that it has increased after falling to a low roar means to consider the possible causes given above. Make sure he is healthy, try to reduce possible stress, and then let him have at it.
 

Tik cat's mum

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I have one that suckles. I was told he was 8 weeks old and mum wasn't interested in the kittens anymore. But when I picked him up definitely wasn't that old. He's 7 and I still go to sleep with a drool patch on my shoulder :lol: But I do have another who was with his mum for about 12 weeks he doesn't suckle but kneads and drools. The new kitten uses a blanket and holds it in his mouth while he kneads and goes to sleep. The younger 2 definitely aren't as bad as the one who left his mum to soon. But some cat's just do it for comfort no matter when they were weaned.
 
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