6-month-old male Maine Coon scratches everything and sucks the tip of his tail. What can his caregiver do?

A Reddit.com user (u/missandei86) appears to have recently adopted a young Maine Coon cat. He's a handsome blue Maine Coon cat with golden eyes. His human caregiver also says that he has a great personality and is super affectionate. He is also loud and he begs for food.

6-month-old male Maine Coon scratches everything and sucks the tip of his tail. What can the owner do?
6-month-old male Maine Coon scratches everything and sucks the tip of his tail. What can the owner do? Photo: u/missandei86.


I get the distinct impression, from the description, that this Maine Coon is feeling insecure. This accounts for the begging for food and constant vocalisations with his owner. And when a cat scratches a lot, they deposit scent on the objects that they scratch which is reassuring to them. And if a cat is sucking the tip of the tail this looks to me like a cat that has been weaned too early

He is sucking his tail for reassurance. It's a bit like a boy who still sucks his thumb although he is too old to do it. Boys and girls who do this do it because they feel anxious. And I think this cat is feeling anxious. He may feel anxious because he has a timid character and not because the environment is particularly difficult making him feel anxious. It's just the cat's nature.


ASSOCIATED: Crazy Cat Sucking?

In order to resolve the matter, I would suggest that the owner does all he can to relax her cat and this means playing more with him. Playing is a distraction; it burns energy and it relaxes the cat. When you play with your cat you are connecting with him which is reassuring for the cat. 

Nice solid scratching post
Nice solid scratching post. Photo: DW.

Anything that might be upsetting this cat should be removed from the environment. This might mean people who are noisy or perhaps strangers who are coming and going. It might mean an outside cat is disturbing him because that cat is on his perceived territory. Or it might mean another cat in the household i.e. the resident cat is more confident and might even be bullying this newcomer.

There needs to be a box ticking exercise to go through all the possible reasons why the cat is nervous or anxious. And then they can be removed or modified to help alleviate that anxiety. And gradually one would hope the cat becomes more confident. Early weaning problems, I think, can be difficult to remove because they are imprinted on the brain. He may go on sucking the end of his tail for a very long time.

ASSOCIATED: A cat’s journey from anxiety and fear to calm and happiness

Buying a really good solid scratching post will help to direct him towards an object which can be scratched to his heart's content. You're not going to stop the scratching and in which case you simply have to redirect it to things which are acceptable to scratch. You would hope that he would gain confidence leading to a reduction in the symptoms.

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