New Kitten Help

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Karen Scopino December 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I have adopted two Maine coon mix kittens. Mom was killed when they were ten days old. Both were fostered before adoption. One, Apollo was weaker than the other. We adopted them At roughly eleven weeks. Once they were weaned, they remained together in a bathroom at night. Each night around three am Apollo would start purring and kneading the bed. It took us a number of weeks to realize he was suckling on his penis. I have tried holding him, lambs wool, lambs wool with a nipple in it, ignoring it and giving him lots and lots of attention during the day. I am concerned about urinary tract infections. What should I do?

Briana Jones December 5, 2014 at 11:41 am

Hi Karen,

Maine Coons are a wonderful breed and these kitties are very lucky to have been adopted into such a caring home! Here are some thoughts from our veterinarians: Our first suggestion would be a visit to your veterinarian to rule out any possible medical issues. However, it seems more likely that this is a behavioral issue rather than a medical problem. Although it is not unusual for some male cats (neutered or intact) to display mounting or other sexual behaviors once they are sexually mature, Apollo seems rather young for that. What you are describing is likely more related to the fact that this kitten was orphaned during a critical time of development, when he would be nursing and bonding with his mom. Kittens that have not had this normal time of interaction are much more likely to suckle on objects (wool sweaters, human earlobes, other cats, etc.) even when they are older. However, not all kittens do this, and it sounds as if Apollo’s littermate is not showing this behavior. You may see this behavior diminish as Apollo gets older, or he may move on to sweaters or something else. For now, we would recommend continuing your approach of giving him plenty of attention and definitely not correcting him for this, although you could distract him with a toy. You might also consider trying a plug-in feline facial pheromone product, such as Feliway, in case anxiety is also a component. When you take the kittens in for their exam you can also see what your veterinarian thinks about Apollo’s behavior.

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