Why Do Cats Suck on Blankets? Usually, It’s Harmless, But Here’s How to Make Sure

shallow focus photography of cat under textile

If a cat is baking biscuits on a blanket or on us!–it triggers all sorts of feelings. We see this specific cat’s behavior as an expression of satisfaction and calm, similar to when they used to play with kneads on their mama’s belly when they were nursing. Why do cats get sucked on blankets?

Four Reasons Cats Sucker on Blankets

Leslie Sinn, CPDT KA, DVM, DACVB, is an accredited veterinary behaviorist, and proprietor of Behavior Solutions, and is a part of the Daily Paws Advisory Board. She claims that experts in companion animals do not know what causes cats to suck on blankets. This is sometimes referred to as “wool sucking” and isn’t an uncommon trait among cats. However, there are theories.

1. Self-Soothing

“Our hypothesis would be that this is an oral habit that was left during puppyhood and is part self-soothing purpose,” Sinn tells Daily Paws. “But we’re not the absolute truth.”

There’s also evidence that suggests this behavior is more prevalent for kittens and or orphan kittens who’ve had rough beginnings. “The hypothesis is that deprivation of a kind has caused this infantile behavior to continue,” Sinn says.

2. Anxiety

When your pet is constantly kneading and sucking on a blanket, it could be their method of relaxing. Cornell Feline Health Center declares that certain cat breeds that exhibit this behavior, like Siamese, Burmese, and perhaps Birman and possibly Birman, are more likely to engage in this behavior more than other breeds, “which suggests a genetic predisposition similar to the disorder of obsessive-compulsive for humans.” This could be a way to cope with cats suffering from separation anxiety.

3. Gastrointestinal Distress

“Sucking or chewing on, and/or eating foods that are not food-based could be an indication of digestive problems such as food allergies intestinal obstruction, inflammatory bowel diseases, or other issues,” Sinn says. She suggests asking your cat’s veterinarian team to conduct a thorough examination to identify any medical conditions that may be underlying as well as a general evaluation to ensure the nutritional and health requirements are being fulfilled.

4. Boredom

It’s not because your cat’s sucking the blanket intentionally to draw your attention. However, sometimes our elusive cats have their own methods to communicate, for example, crying late at night or watching us go around. If your cat chews on items like blankets, wool, and even your clothing, it may be asking for something.

“Many felines live in cages and do not have much to do with the time they have,” Sinn says. “Pet parents need to ensure that their needs for emotional stimulation are met with exercises and engaging interactions,” Cornell suggests playthings for enrichment food bowls along with the multi-level cat houses that stimulate the mind.

Make sure that you and your cat enjoy plenty of time together. Sinn suggests looking over tips from the Ohio State University’s Indoor Pet Initiative for fresh ideas.

To better understand the reasons your cat chews onto blankets could be beneficial to keep a note of the times you are noticing the behavior frequently. Do you notice that your cat is doing this in the evening or after you go to work? Do you notice it happening during or after meals? Do they snuggle for a quick knead and suckle while you’re watching the TV? Check him out for a few weeks so that you and your vet can decide whether there’s something to be concerned about, or if the behavior is just part of the cat’s character.

Do cats get sick from frequently sucking on blankets?

There’s no need to worry about it unless there’s an issue that is more severe. “Where issues arise is when the cat begins chewing or ingest the object which could result in GI irritation and/or obstruction,” Sinn says.

Ingestion of fabrics or other food items which is referred to as pica can be a health hazard. Research shows that cats that have pica can be the symptom of an underlying illness like leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus. This is a good reason to consult your vet if you notice that your cat is chewing on a blanket, chewing it up, and then eating the material.

What To do if Your Cat Doesn’t Stop Sucking Blankets, Clothes, and Other Items

If a professional examination clears your cat of medical problems, Sinn says you probably do not need to be concerned about this behavior. Instead, think about different reasons for the behavior and deal with these issues in a timely manner. Sinn also suggests studying the book “Decoding Your Cat from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

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