The Fosters: B Litter Suckers

Ah, the things we learn in fostering. I’d heard about “suckers” before but never had any kittens who did this. Well, now I do. I have at least two suckers.

Suckers are kittens who have been separated from their mom, usually at 4-5 weeks of age, who aren’t done nursing yet. They still want to nurse/suck, and they end up sucking on each other. In this case, Bridget was sucking on Bobby’s privates, which is a very bad thing for Bobby. It can lead to permanent damage to his penis. Bridget had me worried on Saturday because she stopped eating, and wouldn’t even let me force free her. Once I saw her sucking on Bobby, I realized that she was ingesting lots of his pee and poop and felt awful. Sunday morning she was as hungry as ever. Separation is the solution for now.

Bridget has her own apartment for the time being, but they still need social time together at this crucial stage of development. I put Becca in with Bridget for awhile and discovered that Becca sucked on Bridget’s tummy, and it looks like Bridget may also be sucking on Bobby, so I am going to be separating all three today. They get supervised playtime together several times a day, but NO SUCKING!!!

The reading I’ve done on this says that this stage passes on 7-10 days, and I hope that’s correct, so they can all hang out together fulltime again. Rescue isn’t for the squeamish or faint-hearted. We spend a whole lot of time dealing with pee, poop, and occasionally sucking on genitalia, but in the end, if we’re lucky, we have well-socialized, healthy kittens ready for a wonderful home and future. I’m taking their first fecal sample in to the vet’s today to see what internal parasites have taken up residence in them so I can start vanquishing them. Let’s hope that the sucking phase passes soon. It would be wonderful seeing them all together again.

18 thoughts on “The Fosters: B Litter Suckers

  1. Good grief! Sounds like an orgy. When I was a kid our cat gave birth and disappeared on the second day. I was around 12 and we started to feed them with doll bottles with diluted cow’s milk. This started happening. My mom found out that the neighbor’s outdoor cat lost her entire litter. That mama cat was more than happy to move in temporarily and mother the cats. We did the feedings for a few days and it was brutal. I was in school and my mom worked but we did our best and they all survived but I’m crediting the new mom for that. We never did find out what happened to our cat but at that time all pets were indoor-outdoor so probably a predator. Kudos to you for juggling all this around.

    1. I’m so glad you had a momma cat who could step in. Feeding newborns is sooo demanding…needing food every couple hours around the clock. I don’t know how anyone manages it.

      1. You can’t if you are working a standard office job. Sometimes it takes a village. We were very lucky and I was lucky to have a savvy mom who was undaunted. They tolerated cow’s milk amazingly well but were with a new mom within about 3 days.

  2. Oh, my goodness–who knew?! The plexiglass is really handy now that they can see, but not touch, each other. The things I learn from you…!

  3. Oh my!!! Bridget was sucking on Becca’s privates a few times when we had them! Hope that stops, can’t imagine it’s comfortable😂. So happy we found you to take care of them. They look amazing , we love your blog! Your updates are funny and entertaining!!

    1. Thanks for letting me know they were doing the sucking before they came to me. It isn’t comfortable or fun for the one on the receiving end!! And I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. The kittens have each gained about 100 grams since they came here, which is great. They are all over a pound now.

    1. I read an abstract of a study out of UC Davis’s vet school that 73% of cats who suck on others as babies don’t get over this issue…hoping that’s not the case here!! Poor little things.

  4. I know very little about raising little ones but seems to me they will try to suck on whatever is available (whoever?) when they still have that “need”……I guess as you found out it’s just a stage (thankfully) and a short-lived one at that!

    Hugs, Pam

    1. Hoping it is a stage, and gone soon…time will tell. Kittens will, indeed, suck on clothing and other items as well as each other.

  5. Glad you figured out why Bridget wasn’t eating. Also glad you found a way to keep them separate for now.

    1. Sad to have to keep them apart, but they get lots of supervised playtime to help make up for it.

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