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8 month old kitten producing milk.

Species: Cat
Breed: Himalayan
Age: 6-12 months
Hi. My 5 month old kitten (Macy) has been trying to nurse from my 8 month old cat (Lola) since I brought the kitten home at 6 weeks of age. I believe the older cat is now producing milk. Is this possible? And how do I make the kitten stop doing this? Lola does not seem to mind Macy trying to nurse from her, but I think it is gross. Macy eats both dry and canned cat food and has been a good cat food eater since I brought her home at 6 weeks. Thank you!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I don't believe that it is possible for a cat to start lactating because a kitten is nursing off of her. If Lola has not been spayed, is there any possibility that she is pregnant? Pregnant cats will start producing milk near the end of their pregnancy.

With that being said, there still is a small chance that the kitten could indeed be lactating. I have found case reports of male cats that were able to produce milk after they had been exposed to human estrogen products such as estrogen cream.

If Macy was recently spayed, it's possible she has a condition called mammary hyperplasia where the mammary glands get enlarged within a couple of months of being spayed. Sometimes this can be a sign of an ovarian remnant so that is something worth asking your vet about.

To stop this habit there are a couple of things you could try. Probably the most practical would be to find a way to keep the nipples covered. The pet store likely sells t-shirts for cats or small dogs that she could wear. Or, you could try finding doll's clothing. Lola probably won't like it but should get used to it. It can take a week or more for the lactating to start and you might even have to have her wear it for several weeks for Macy to break the bad habit.

Alternatively, you could put something that tastes bad near the nipples such as bitter apple spray. But, this is not really fair for Lola as she would get the bad taste when she grooms herself.

One final way to stop this would be to find a way to separate the two cats for several weeks. This may seem cruel, but it probably would work.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.