Kittens knead, suck and bite on their mother’s nipples to stimulate milk production, and they may go on to suckle, scratch, and chew on all sorts of things aside from their mamas’ teats. If you have a new kitten and she is scratching or chewing on your arm or your furniture, it might be a good idea to provide her with something safer and more comfortable to chew, such as a kitten pacifier. Keep reading to learn how to make your own kitten pacifier at home.
How to make a kitten pacifier
1. Select a durable pacifier.
The first step in making a kitten pacifier is to choose a good-quality pacifier made of silicone or latex. Do not settle for plastic, since it could harm your kitten. Latex is made of softer material, but silicone is durable and lasts longer. You may also reuse a baby’s pacifier, but make sure it is clean and that the material has not hardened and still offers some resistance.
2. Find a blanket or toy that your kitten loves.
A blanket or a toy that your kitten uses and loves will be the perfect thing for your kitten pacifier. Your kitten will recognize the familiar scents on it, which will make her more likely to accept and use the pacifier.
3. Tie the two items together.
Let your kitten try the pacifier first, and see whether she recognizes it as something similar to her mama’s teats. If she rejects it, tie the pacifier to the toy or blanket and secure it with a nylon string. The familiarity of the toy should help her accept the pacifier.
4. Keep the pacifier clean.
Clean the pacifier thoroughly before your kitten uses it, and make sure that only your kitten uses it. Keep it safely away from other pets in the home.
What is a kitten pacifier?
A kitten pacifier allows kittens to safely and comfortably chew and suck without harming their owner or household objects. It is used to wean kittens from the mother, or for kittens that were removed from their mothers too early. However, cats of any age may still benefit from a pacifier, since it provides a feeling of calm.
Kittens are not supposed to be removed from their mother until they are about 10 weeks old. Aside from providing them with nutrition, suckling is also a source of comfort and provides a sense of security for young kittens.
If your kitten has a pacifier, she is less likely to destroy cushions, blankets and other objects in the home. If she is stressed or anxious because of sudden changes at home, letting her suck on a kitten pacifier can help. It will settle her nerves, reduce stress and replicate the feeling of being soothed by her mother or the rest of the litter.
Kittens also go through a teething phase, once when they are about two weeks old and again at around three months old. A kitten pacifier can help ease the discomfort during these phases.
Most importantly, a kitten pacifier can build trust: by tricking your kitten into believing you are her mother, you can help her trust you more.
How to introduce the pacifier to your kitten
It should smell like you.
If you adopt a kitten, you become her closest kin because she is now separated from her mother. The pacifier should smell like you so that your kitten feels safe and comfortable. Keep the blanket or toy you have chosen for the pacifier next to your body, or keep it beside you in your bed while you sleep. This will allow your kitten to pick up your scent on the item.
Keep the pacifier moist.
Kittens prefer pacifiers that are moist and soft. Dip it in milk so your kitten can lick it, or use water to keep it moist. The smell and taste of the pacifier when your kitten first uses it will have a big influence on how well she accepts it later on.
Select the right time to introduce it to the kitten.
The best time to introduce the pacifier is when the kitten is about to doze off. She will be more responsive then as she feels calm and instinctively wants to suckle on something to soothe her as she falls asleep.
Make more than one kitten pacifier.
Create more than one pacifier and place them in your kitten’s favorite spots. This way, your kitten will have options and can choose her favorite pacifier.
Being a cat parent to a newly-adopted kitten requires patience and commitment. Kittens that are recently separated from their mothers or were weaned too early tend to scratch, nibble and chew on your arm, blankets, and other items in your home. A kitten pacifier will allow her to suck and chew comfortably and safely while preventing her from damaging anything valuable.
To make a kitten pacifier, choose a latex or silicone pacifier and tie it to a blanket or toy that your kitten loves. Ensure that this item has your scent on it by keeping it near you before making the pacifier, as this will help your kitten feel safe and secure.
Image: istockphoto.com / Xanya69