Cats And Cloth Sucking

Have you noticed your cat sucking on cloth, particularly wool, on several occasions?  Some cats, especially Siamese, may develop a habit of cloth sucking cloth suckingas a form of comfort, comparable to a baby with a pacifier.  Cloth sucking can become dangerous if your cat begins gnawing on the material and ingests it.  Cloth fibers can become lodged in the intestines and cause a potentially fatal blockage if not addressed quickly.

If your cat develops a cloth sucking habit, here are some suggestions to reduce it:

  • Keep your cat busy.  As with most behavioral problems, diverting attention to other activities helps reduce the issue.  Make sure your cat has plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep his mind off his cloth habit.
  • Divert your cat.  When you notice your cat cloth sucking, offer him a toy or treat instead.  Be sure to praise him when he stops the unwanted sucking behavior.
  • Limit your cat’s access to tempting clothing and linens.  Keep your closet doors and drawers closed to limit your cat’s access to cloth.  Be sure to put dirty laundry in the hamper rather than leave it lying around where your cat can find it.  Put clean laundry away promptly.  WIth the cold weather, you may have heavy knit scarfs, gloves and hats around, be sure to keep them out of your cat’s reach.
  • Limit access to one item.  You may find it easier to give in a little bit to the cloth habit.  If so, limit your cat’s access to one item only.  It’s important to watch your cat closely with the item to be sure he isn’t ingesting fibers from the cloth.  Only give the item to your cat when you are able to supervise him.  Giving your cat access to one item will hopefully keep him from destroying other items.
  • Talk to your veterinarian.  If it appears your cat is becoming obsessive about cloth sucking, discuss the problem with your cat’s veterinarian.  Ask for a recommendation for an animal behaviorist in your area.  Anti-anxiety medications may also help if behavior modification alone doesn’t correct the problem.

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.