Kneading (or making biscuits as some say) is the motion that domesticated cats make by pushing their paws in and out and switching between the left and right paw against a soft surface such as a blanket or your lap. Some cats keep their claws retracted, while others will push them out when kneading. While this odd behavior is undeniably cute and worthy of a spot on your Instagram story, you might be wondering why they knead in the first place. Even people who study cat behavior ask the same question and dont have a solid concrete answer. However, there are a number of theories out there. Grab your feline pal and keep reading to learn some of the most popular hypotheses out there.
This possibly traces back to the roots of their wild ancestors, where they would pat and knead tall grass or shredded leaves to create a soft spot for sleeping.
Why do cats knead on their owners?
Kneading to convey comfort — Happy cats appear to knead to show pleasure. Cats often knead while being petted, or when snuggling into a napping spot. Your cat may also knead on your lap to show her love and contentment, and then settle in for a pat or nap. A stressed cat may knead to create a soothing, calm mood.
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!”
Why does my cat knead me and purr?
Cats Knead You Because They Feel Safe. 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.
Its almost like a state of feline nirvana: Your cat curls up in your lap and rhythmically presses one paw, then the other, with eyes half closed and a trickle of drool running down her chin.
A good massage can incorporate a variety of techniques, from deep tissue work to compression to gliding. And while your cat probably isnt the best massage therapist (weve got one word for youclaws), chances are, they have experience with at least one classic massage techniqueand thats kneading.
Kneading and pressing their paws against a surface could just be your cats way of getting a good stretch throughout their muscles. Wild cats would knead the grass as a way to make the ground more comfortable before grabbing some shut-eye.
So, if you notice your cat kneading the blanket before they go to sleep, they may be mimicking the behavior of their great-great-grandcats. If your cat uses their claws when they knead, keeping their nails short and trimmed can help make it a more pleasant experience. So the best thing you can do is chalk it up to another interesting, strange feline behaviorand sit back and enjoy your cat massage.
Ever wondered: Why do cats knead? Why does your cat stomp on her favorite bed or blanket (or your leg or chest) with her front paws, as though making dough for biscuits? Ever wondered why cat kneading seems to make her high, intoxicated with sweet memories of springtime and youth? Here are five cool things about cat kneading, aka cats making biscuits.
Kneading, or what many veterinarians call “making biscuits,” is an instinctive behavior that begins in kittens shortly after birth. Noted zoologist Desmond Morris coined the phrase “milk treading” to describe the movement of a kitten’s paws against her mother’s mammary glands to stimulate milk flow. This behavior certainly serves a purpose for kittens, but why does it continue into adulthood? Animal behaviorists speculate that an adult cat kneads to show contentment, to calm herself when she’s feeling anxious or to mark a person or object with her scent from the sweat glands in her paws.
What is kneading?
So, before we jump into some of the reasons your cat may be kneading you, let’s quickly cover what kneading is.The term “kneading” refers to when your cat pushes his paws down on a soft surface, alternating paws—similar to the way you would knead dough before putting it in the oven (hence the name). Some cats knead, some don’t. Some cats use their claws, some knead without claws. Some cats knead their humans, some cats stick to softer surfaces, like blankets or carpet—it all depends on the cat.
Why does my cat knead me?
Now that we know what kneading is, let’s talk about why your cat might be kneading you.There’s no one-size-fits-all explanation to kneading (or to why some cats knead constantly while others knead infrequently or not at all). There are, however, a number of reasons that might be behind your cat’s kneading behavior:
Your cat is kneading on instinct
Kneading is one of a kitten’s first instinctual behaviors; they knead their mothers as a way to stimulate milk production and get the nourishment they need. So, to a kitten, the equation goes something like this:kneading = milk = nourishment = healthy catSo, in many ways, kittens are rewarded for their kneading behavior. And even though the reward stops once they stop nursing, they still have positive associations with the behavior—and may continue it out of habit (except now they’re kneading you instead of their mother).
Your cat is marking their territory
Cats have scent glands on the bottom of their paws, which they use to mark their territory. Kneading is a way to activate those glands—so, when your cat is kneading your lap or shoulder, what they might be doing is marking you as “theirs” (and letting other cats know to keep their paws off you).
Your cat is getting their stretch on
Everyone needs a good stretch every now and then—and that includes your cat. Kneading and pressing their paws against a surface could just be your cats way of getting a good stretch throughout their muscles. In that case, you might consider kneading a form of feline yoga!
Your cat is getting ready for bed
Today, cats are domesticated—but their ancestors weren’t! Wild cats would knead the grass as a way to make the ground more comfortable before grabbing some shut-eye. So, if you notice your cat kneading the blanket before they go to sleep, they may be mimicking the behavior of their great-great-grandcats.
Your cat is showing you some love
Does your cat have a tendency to knead when you’re petting them—and when they’re purring happily? If so, the kneading could just be a way for your cat to show you a little love! Cats have plenty of ways they show affection—and depending on the situation, kneading could be one of them.
Is kneading a problematic behavior?
So, there are plenty of reasons your cat might be kneading you—but the question is, is kneading a problematic behavior?And the answer is probably not. Unless your cat’s kneading seems obsessive, it’s a pretty harmless behavior. If your cat uses their claws when they knead, keeping their nails short and trimmed can help make it a more pleasant experience.
1. Cat kneading is hypnotic
Cats can become so relaxed while kneading that they enter a trancelike state, complete with drooling and a thousand-mile stare. “Hey, Bubba Lee Kinsey, where’d you go?” I’ll say to my gray tabby when he really loses himself in the moment and achieves a Zen-like state of enlightenment, which can only be broken by the sound of my other cat eating something Bubba wants.
2. Cat kneading is comforting
Your cat has been kneading since she was a kitten — in fact, she kneaded her mom’s belly to stimulate the flow of milk while she was nursing. This instinctive behavior is comforting to your kitty and can take her back to simpler times, much the way that eating a giant plate of macaroni and cheese and drinking some electric blue Kool-Aid can make you feel like a kid again (at least until you finish and realize your skinny jeans are, like, way tight now).