What Does It Mean When Your Cat Kneads You?

Youve just sat down on the couch and your cat has climbed into your lap. Instead of curling up and settling down for a nap, though, your cat proceeds to knead you, his claws poking into your skin again and again. Kneading is a natural behavior for cats, but it can be pretty uncomfortable when your cat decides that your lap is the best place to knead. Some cats can also get quite enthusiastic with this behavior, making the experience a painful one for you. If youre wondering, Why do cats knead me? then youre in luck. Two experts have shared their insights about this feline behavior and the causes behind it.

Nursing kittens knead their mothers belly to stimulate milk production and flow from the teats. Its thought that kittens carry this action into adulthood with positive associations of their comfort when nursing, she says.

The wild ancestors of todays house cats would knead to pat down grass and other vegetation, making a soft spot for resting or giving birth, explains Campbell. You might notice that your cat kneads when they are content as you pet them your feline friend wants you to feel the love, too! says Wang.

Is it good if your cat kneads you?

Cats will knead on many types of soft surfaces, including their humans (especially when you are petting them). Besides being another way to mark you using the scent glands on their paw pads, your cat kneading you is a sign they feel comfortable around you. Kneading is an instinctive cat behavior.

What does it mean when a cat kneads and purrs?

Kneading in kittens. A kitten kneads on his mother’s abdomen as a way of telling her he is hungry and ready for her milk. Kneading and purring. At the same time, the kitten usually purrs, which is a sound created by rapid vibrations of certain throat muscles. Purring is a signal for attention.

Why is my cat suddenly kneading me?

Many continue kneading well into adulthood because the action puts them into a contented mood. Here are other possible reasons cats knead: … Cats have scent glands on their paw pads and the kneading action releases this scent as a way for the cat to tell other cats in the area, “Hey, back off. This is my turf!”

What should I do when my cat kneads me?

If the cat kneading is painful, try redirecting your cat’s knead-iness to a pillow or a blanket, and keep her claws trimmed. Never punish your kitty for kneading, though, because the behavior is instinctive.

Cats often get stereotyped as cold and distant, especially compared to dogs. While it is true that dogs are more obvious (and slobbery) in their affection towards their humans, cats love their humans, too they just have different ways of showing it. A lot of the ways that cats show love involve marking their humans with their scent, essentially telling the rest of the world, This human is mine! There are also some ways cats show affection that may be somewhat unpleasant, but your cat really does mean well.

Their sandpaper tongues, front paws, and sharp teeth are the perfect tools to keep themselves clean and healthy, since grooming behavior is not just about cleanliness but also maintaining body temperature, improving circulation, and hiding their scent from predators. Grooming your cat is a great bonding experience, and it comes with the added bonus of getting rid of a bunch of hair that would otherwise end up all over your furniture and clothes.

This sounds nice in theory and it can be when its something indoor-friendly like a toy but if youve got an indoor-outdoor cat, you might be greeted with the grisly sight of a dead or dying animal. It may seem counterintuitive for your cat to destroy your things as a way of saying I love you, but they are just leaving visual and scent markers in places of importance in their territory. An unfortunate effect of your cats affection is that some of the places they consider important are directly related to you, which puts your spot on the couch or your favorite armchair in danger.

Many cat owners are familiar with kneading or, as some fondly call it, “making biscuits.” But what is the story behind your cat‘s gentle curl of her paws? Although kneading can have many different causes, it‘s often a sign your cat feels safe near you and loves you very much.

Cats in the wild sometimes knead to gather all the grass and leaves together to make a thicker bed. It‘s similar in some ways to a dog scratching his bed or turning in circles before lying down.

Others think cats may turn to this action when they feel overwhelmed because it‘s an activity that commands all their attention. Interestingly, some breeds are more prone to this type of kneading, like Siamese cats. If your kitty feels a little stressed because of another cat in your home, then try the Comfort Zone Multi-Cat Diffuser .

Kneading is a sweet activity that’s often your cat‘s way of showing she loves you, feels comforted by you, and considers you part of her family.

Kneading is when your cat alternates their front paws in a rhythmic fashion on a soft, squishy surface. Cats knead on beds, on soft blankets, and sometimes, they knead their humans.

A nursing kitten will instinctively knead at their mother’s abdomen to help stimulate milk production. Because kittens use this motion to satisfy a need, they often associate the habit with a good thing and bring it into their adult cat life, as well.

Have you ever noticed how your cat kneads your lap after you‘ve given them a rather satisfactory petting session? Unfortunately, this can be a painful experience, as some cats use their sharp nails in the kneading process. Our house cats’ wild ancestors kneaded tall grasses to make a cozy and secret place to sleep and rest .

If your cat is super comfortable on your lap, they may knead it to make it even more comfy for their resting needs. Kneading a person or a comfy place is sometimes a discreet way your cat is telling other kitties to back off . If your cat purrs while kneading your thighs, this is their way of using all of their persuasive tools to get something from you — chances are it‘s food.

1. Purring

One of the most obvious signs that your cat is loving on you is when they purr contentedly, especially when you’re petting them. Purring is one of many sounds that cats use to communicate with us, and when it is combined with a relaxed body posture, your cat is telling you that they feel happy and safe with you. Purring is one of the first ways that kittens learn to communicate with their mothers. Kittens can express to their mothers that they are calm through purring, and a mother will use purring to soothe her kittens. Because it is such a low-frequency and low-volume sound, cats use purring as a method of communication with those closest to them.Not all purring is “I love you” purring, though. Sometimes your cat will purr when they want food (often accompanied by insistent “feed me” meowing). Cats will even purr when they are not feeling well as a way of soothing themselves. There is even scientific evidence that the vibration of cat purring has healing properties, including bone regeneration. Mostly, though, your cat purring at you means you are one of their favorite people.

2. Slow Blinking (AKA “Cat Kisses”)

If you’ve ever wondered why your cat gets up in your face and blinks at you, it’s not some form of kitty Morse code. It is, however, a form of non-verbal communication that cats use to express their love. When a cat closes their eyes, it is a sign of complete trust. These slow blinks (or “cat kisses”) demonstrate that they don’t feel frightened or threatened (as opposed to an unblinking stare which can be a sign of aggression or fear). When your cat gives you some love with their eyes, give it right back. By blinking slowly back at them, you are telling them that you are not a threat. It tells your cat that you love them, too, and is a great way to solidify your bond.

3. Exposing Their Belly

If your cat rolls over and exposes their belly to you, it is a huge sign of trust. The tummy area is where many of a cat’s vital organs are located, and their natural instinct is to keep this area from being exposed to predators. When your cat shows you their belly, they are literally trusting you with their life, and there is no greater show of love and trust than that. Now, this exposed belly may be a statement of love, but it is not an invitation. As tempting as it might be to reach out and give some belly rubs to your kitty, most cats do not like to be touched in that area. Your dog may love tummy time, but your cat is liable to give you a swipe or a nip if you try it. As hard as it is to resist, it’s better for the both of you if you admire your cat’s belly from afar.

4. Grooming

Cats like to keep themselves nice and clean, and they spend a lot of time grooming themselves. Their sandpaper tongues, front paws, and sharp teeth are the perfect tools to keep themselves clean and healthy, since grooming behavior is not just about cleanliness but also maintaining body temperature, improving circulation, and hiding their scent from predators. While it is normal for cats to spend a lot of their waking hours grooming themselves, cat owners should watch out for excessive grooming (including fur loss) because that can be a sign your kitty has a skin problem, an injury, or is suffering from anxiety.In addition to its health benefits, grooming is a social activity. Cats will groom each other as a sign of friendship, so if your cat starts to groom you, you know the love is fur-real. While kisses from that scratchy little tongue might not always feel the greatest – especially for people with sensitive skin – just know that your cat is telling you that you are family to them. Grooming is a calming activity for cats, and they want to share that feeling with you. Grooming you is also a way for a cat to mark you as their human. They have scent glands around their mouth, and these glands produce pheromones. This is your cat’s signature scent, and they will use it to mark their territory, including you!Just like your cat is showing you love by grooming you, you can grab a brush and show love right back to them. Grooming your cat is a great bonding experience, and it comes with the added bonus of getting rid of a bunch of hair that would otherwise end up all over your furniture and clothes.

5. Rubbing Up On You

Just like grooming you can be a way for a cat to mark you as theirs, so is the way they rub against you. In addition to the scent glands located around the mouth, cats also have scent glands in the chin, forehead, cheeks, lower back, tail, and paw pads. Your cat may be rubbing their cheeks against you, head butting you, doing figure-eights around your legs, or wrapping their tail around you. All of these are ways for your cat to show affection by marking you with a scent that distinguishes you as someone close to them. Your cat will rub up on you in the same way that they will rub up on their favorite spots around the house or on a cat sibling. By marking you as their territory, what your cat is really saying is that you are safe, comforting, and familiar. Sounds like love to me!

6. Kneading

While this may not be the most comfortable one of the bunch, your cat kneading you is a sign of love and affection. Kneading (also known as “making biscuits” for the way it resembles a human making dough) is when a cat pushes their front paws up and down on a surface, alternating between left and right. Some cats retract their claws while kneading – others don’t. Cats will knead on many types of soft surfaces, including their humans (especially when you are petting them). Besides being another way to mark you using the scent glands on their paw pads, your cat kneading you is a sign they feel comfortable around you. Kneading is an instinctive cat behavior. Newborn kittens will knead at their mother to help stimulate milk production while they are nursing, and so the act of kneading is associated with comfort.What is comforting to your cat is not always comfortable for you though, considering the happier your cat is, the harder they will knead you. Even though they are loving on you, those sharp claws can be unpleasant to say the least. If your cat is a serious kneader, you may want to keep a blanket on hand to put some cushioning in between your kitty’s claws and your skin.

7. Bringing You “Gifts”

Another not so pleasant way that your cat might show you love is to bring you presents. This sounds nice in theory – and it can be when it’s something indoor-friendly like a toy – but if you’ve got an indoor-outdoor cat, you might be greeted with the grisly sight of a dead or dying animal. Cats are natural hunters and carnivores, and it is instinctual (especially for female cats) to hunt prey and bring it back to their kittens. Bringing back these types of “gifts” is most common in spayed female cats, which makes sense because they don’t have any kittens to bring food home to. So who do they turn to? You, their closest family member. While us humans may not find a dead rodent to be a great gift, to your cat, there is no greater token of love and affection.

Cats of All Ages & Sizes Knead

Kneading is an activity shared by cats of all shapes and sizes. It involves pushing forward with the front paws into an object—like a blanket or even your lap—while alternating between the left and right paw. Some cats purr while kneading, and others may knead a bit with their back paws too. Some gently knead, while others extend their claws and can leave a scratch.Both female and male cats display kneading behavior. Kittens and elderly cats may knead. Even big cats in the wild, like lions or tigers, are known to knead as well.

Cats Find Kneading Comforting

Most of the time, cats knead because they find the action comforting. When they were kittens, they would knead while nursing. As adults, this sense of comfort still carries on whenever they knead. The nostalgic feeling of kittenhood may spill over into a kneading action whenever they feel particularly comfortable or happy. So you might notice your cat kneading when you‘re petting him or talking to him, for example. In this way, kneading serves a function similar to purring.

Cats Knead You Because They Feel Safe

If your cat is kneading you, it‘s likely because she feels safe with you. Just like she kneaded her mom when she was a kitten, she’s now kneading you—her new “parent.” If she feels safe and secure when she’s with you, she may express this with a gentle knead. It‘s the same reason your cat may purr when you snuggle close to her.

Kneading May Help Mark You as “Territory”

Kneading can also serve as a way of marking territory, just like scratching does. Cats have scent glands in their paws, so both kneading and scratching provide ways to leave their “mark” for other cats to notice. This is why your cat may knead his favorite blanket or even you. He’s telling the world you belong to him and you‘re part of the same family.

Some Cats Knead While Chewing on Blankets

Sometimes cats don’t just knead blankets before falling asleep. Sometimes, they knead and suck or chew on the blanket simultaneously. This action can be really cute, but it‘s possible for a cat to spend too much time doing it. There are several theories why cats do this.Others think cats may turn to this action when they feel overwhelmed because it‘s an activity that commands all their attention. Interestingly, some breeds are more prone to this type of kneading, like Siamese cats.

Sometimes Cats May Knead Excessively

Although kneading is a healthy, relaxing activity for your cat, it can sometimes go a little overboard, similar to a cat‘s scratching instinct.If you notice your cat is kneading more than usual, it could be because of stress. The comforting action might help lessen any discomfort he’s feeling. If you recently adopted a second cat or there’s a stray wandering around outside, your cat might knead as a way to mark his territory because he feels insecure.Sometimes your cat‘s kneading may hurt you because his nails are too long. In this situation, simply trimming his nails or getting some cat scratchers can help. Or put a thicker blanket on your lap so you can’t feel the claws.