cat with pet

Lazarou has been nursing on a blanket. Here’s some thoughts on cat nursing and why you should always let it happen.😺

A cat nursing out of the blue is like an eight-year-old suddenly sucking his thumb. Even if it is a behavior long forgotten it is a form of regression.

Years ago people believed the only reason a cat would nurse was because it was removed from its mother too young. While that is a reason, it isn’t the only one. Perfectly well adjusted cats not removed from their mothers early will suddenly nurse, even as full grown adults. Nursing makes them feel secure and content. It is a coping mechanism.

So if you are worried about your cat nursing out of the blue, ask yourself what it has to stress about. A death in the family, new home, new member of the family, and so forth - all the same reasons a human would be stressed apply to a cat. Also watch for things like new noises and new smells. Try and look at it from your cats’ point of view to figure out what stresses them. Then remove the stressor or try to alleviate their stress, and the nursing should go away. Some stressors (like death, relocation) can’t be fought head-on. Attack such stress with more playtime and cuddles, plus lots of secure & comfortable sleeping spots (if you only have exposed cat beds, get boxes. Secure means give them walls!). Treat the problem, not the symptom.

Don’t stop, redirect: Unless the cat is putting themselves or someone in danger you should let them nurse. If the cat is nursing a human and it’s painful, or if they are nursing something that could harm them, then try and switch them to an appropriate item to nurse (Blankets and pillows work well).

Otherwise, let the kitties cope!