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Why does my cat suck on my fingers?

One thing that I found with cats is they never do anything without a purpose. We humans often cannot explain why we happen to do something.

We did it for no reason and are usually sorry later. Cats do not make these kinds of mistakes. The actions of a cat always serve a purpose.

After years of rescuing and caring for felines, I don’t believe that I have ever come across an adult cat that wanted to suck on my fingers.

However, I will say that the many kittens we have raised into adult cats did plenty of finger sucking. As they grew into adult cats, they stopped the practice.

If you have ever had children, I bet that when your children were babies, they would reach for a finger or two and plop it in their mouth to suck for a time.

Babies seem to do this more as they start cutting their teeth. I noticed that kittens, when cutting teeth, do the same thing. I never thought this to be a problem, but a natural instinct for all human babies and kittens.

Why Does My Cat Suck on My Fingers?

Cats, whether they are kittens or adults, never do anything without a purpose. Kneading and sucking seem to go hand-in-hand, and they have their reasons.

Even though I have not had cats with a sucking problem beyond the kitten stage, I have noticed that most of our cats, past and present, do plenty of kneading.

This action is simply telling you that they are comfortable and happy. Kneading means your cat is getting its bed ready for a long catnap. My cats knead, turn in a couple of circles, and then sloooowly lay down. Before you know it, the cat is in dreamland.

  • I found out long ago that when cats are weaned too early from their mother, they tend to suck on fingers every chance they get. I know that kittens are taken from their mothers every day and adopted out to cat parents.

However, the kittens we had were never taken from their mothers, Mama Beebe (four) and Mama Silly (six). Our cats have always been a big happy family.

I don’t believe in taking kits away from mother cats unless the mother encourages them to leave. The mother will not pay any attention to them.

I just don’t believe it is a good or healthy practice, and it breaks my heart to see kittens taken away from their mama. This is how I personally feel.

Yes, I can hear you say, “They are only cats, for gosh sakes!” 

They are more than that. Cats have feelings, emotions, and a thinking capacity. No, I do not believe they can actually reason things out. They can decide if they are going to do or not do something.

I never believed in adopting Mama Beebe’s or Mama Silly’s kits to other homes. Our Beebe and Silly were always surrounded by their adult children.

Silly gave Beebe six grandkits. These grandkids’ papa was one of Beebe’s sons, Pudge, who we later named Papa Pudge Bear. Pudge, Silly, and Beebe were awesome guiding forces for the kits.

Mama and Silly were indeed beloved mamas by their brood and by their human family. Beebe was a doting mama and grandma and loved every minute of being around her adult kits and younger grandkits.

Her days were busy and fulfilling to the day she passed on, 19 years later.

If kittens cannot find available fingers to suck on, they will suck on a blanket or anything nearby.

Sucking offers an element of comfort for cats, and as they are sucking, you may hear them purrrrring contently. There is nothing unusual about a cat wanting to suck on a piece of fabric or a finger.

  • Cats and kittens taken away from their mother too soon could bring about excessive sucking.
  • Sucking offers kittens and adult cats an element of safety, security, and contentment.
  • There is no immediate concern if your adult cat continues to suck on fingers or others like their blanket.
  • Sucking offers comfort to the cat. Sucking is one way that tells you your cat is happy, content, and secure in its surroundings.
  • Sucking is a natural instinct for all animals, including human babies.
  • Sucking can signal stress in your cat. Stress can cause unwanted behavioral problems like toileting outside the litter pan and scratching furniture.
  • Your cat may be bored, similar to you being bored as you sit and twiddle your fingers; your cat sucks on fingers or objects.
  • Sucking can signify that you have not provided the proper environment for your cat. Cat parents must have things that offer excitement and activity for their fur babies.
  • Adult sucking can signify pain-related dental problems like cavities, infected gums, and tooth abscesses. Sucking can signal pain elsewhere in the body.
  • It’s all in the genes of the cat. Some cats are more prone to sucking as a standard action when kittens reach adulthood. These specific cat breeds include Tonkinese, Balinese, and Siamese cats.

What To Do About My Cat Sucking On My Fingers? 

If it were me, I would do nothing. Sucking causes no harm. If the sucking is making your kitty feel more secure and happy, let them alone if you know that their health is excellent and there are no signs or symptoms of illness.

It never hurts to explore the reasons why your cat has this behavior, as you will have to intervene if a health issue is present.

  • To eliminate any possible boredom in your cat, be sure to have plenty of toys like catnip pillows, noisy balls, bells, battery-operated floppy fish, cat trees, window hammocks, treats, fresh catnip, cat grass plants, fluffy balls, flying feathers, and cat scratching posts.
  • Provide an outside in a cat-containment playground.
  • Provide a litter pan for every cat you have in addition to one extra pan. Keep these cleaned out at least twice a day and more often as needed.
  • Provide fun hiding places for your cat, like a cardboard box.
  • Some cats like a fluffy blanket or cat bed.
  • Does the kitty have its own water and food dish?
  • As soon as your kitten is older, it is wise to try to avert sucking on your fingers. When the kitty tries to suck, offer it a catnip pillow and sprinkle a bit of catnip on the fabric.
  • Never raise your voice, yell at your cat, or scold your cat for doing what comes naturally, such as sucking.
  • Never shove your cat away, as all of these are a form of animal abuse and can create more behaviors. These actions can cause fear in your cat.

All of our cats have a favorite toy that they cuddle up to, but none have the urge to suck fingers, toys, or blankets. They do like to lick, but you cannot count this as most of their toys have a bit of catnip inside the toy or on the toy.

I may sprinkle a bit of catnip on a favorite blanket.

The best advice for sucking cats is to try to avert this action before the kitten reaches adulthood, by intervening with something exciting and interesting, such as a favorite toy.