I have a 13 year old neutered male cat and recently adopted a 9 week old female kitten. I'm not having any problems with them getting along, rather they get along too well. My Tom is allowing the kitten to "nurse". It's doesn't seem to bother either one of them as the kitten is kneading and the Tom is purring. Should I be concerned, if so, how do I stop this?
Type of Animal: Cat
Age: 9 Weeks
Name of Cat: Cleo
I've thought about using "bitter apple" spray, but haven't as that might stop my Tom from grooming himself.
Hi there,Inappropriate nursing is typically a sign that the kitten was taken from her mother or weaned too early. They retain a very strong drive to nurse, particularly during stressful times (like being introduced to a new home).It is generally not a problem and will typically fade with time as they become more accustomed to solid foods. On occasion (i.e. stressful situations), they may revert to it briefly.So long as it is not bothering your tom and the kitten is not ingesting too much hair (coughing, gagging, passing a lot of fur in stools), the behavior should fade and hopefully disappear with time (usually by 6 months at the latest).If it doesn't, or if it becomes a problem for the kitten or the tom, you can try re-direction, i.e. providing a favorite toy, play activity, or treat when you catch him nursing. In extreme situations, they require medication from your veterinarian, but this is very rare.Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.Thanks,Dr. Paul
Thanks for the information, the reason I asked was that someone told me that nursing might cause mastitis in my Tom.
Cleo seems to have a good appetite and eats her Blue Buffalo kitten chow and samples my Tom's food as well. Additionally, I haven't seen her coughing up any hairballs
Possible, but not likely. I would just keep an eye on it. If you start seeing any reddened skin, sores, or swollen, warm nipples on your tom, I would start the redirection sooner rather than later.Dr. Paul
Small Animal Medicine and Surgery internship, Veterinary Acupuncture trained, Wildlife and Exotics
Hi Preston,I'm just following up on our conversation about Cleo. How is everything going?Denver ER Doc