Why Do Cats Knead



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Sharing your home with a cat brings many rewards, such as companionship and love. However, cats have many strange behaviors, from headbutting you and meowing before they jump to kneading your lap and soft furnishings. Living with a feline friend, you will undoubtedly have encountered many cat antics.

What Is Kneading By A Cat

Kneading is when your cat pushes each paw alternately into a surface, also known as making biscuits, pawing, or playing the piano. For example, you may have noticed your cat pawing a blanket, cushion, another pet, or lap before settling for some petting or a nap.

Why Do Cats Knead. A Grey, black and white cat on a cream-colored cat cushion, both front paws extended, kneading the cushion, with a cream room in the background.

No one knows exactly why your cat kneads. As a kitten, the action helps the milk flow. Therefore it serves a purpose. However, as a cat, kneading doesn’t seem to serve a purpose. However, you will often notice your furry friend purring happily while kneading. This suggests that kneading is comforting or soothing to your cat.

Many believe that the kneading is soothing and releases the same contentment hormones they experienced as a nursing kitten, which makes sense, as your cat wouldn’t do it if they didn’t receive some reward or benefit from the action.

Is Kneading Normal For Cats

Kneading is an instinctual behavior that begins in kittenhood. Nursing kittens knead around the teat when feeding to stimulate the mother’s milk. The kneading behavior continues into adulthood for most cats. Kneading is a normal instinctual behavior in cats.

Cats also have pheromone glands in their paws and are pretty territorial creatures. Therefore, the kneading action will also deposit their scent on the area that they are pawing. Marking the area with their scent will add some comfort for your cat.

Should I Allow My Cat To Knead Me

If your cat has sharp claws, it may become a problem if the claws destroy soft furnishings or your skin. However, as long as the kneading or pawing doesn’t upset you, it is an excellent way to strengthen your bond with your furry friend. As your cat includes you in their contentment memories.

If, however you find that your cat kneading is too painful for your lap or your soft furnishings, there are ways to redirect the behavior:

  • Clip the claws to make them a bit shorter and not as sharp.
  • Have a dedicated thick kneading blanket or cushion – your cat will learn to only knead on the blanket or cushion.
  • Distract from the action with treats or a toy.
  • Lift your cat from the undesired area and gently place it on the desired blanket or cushion.
  • Scent the desired blanket or pillow with some catnip spray or Feliway products to make it more appealing to your cat.

Distraction with something positive will work best for your cat. It will soon learn to only knead on the area that you have selected.

Final Word On Making Biscuits

I do like it when my cat chooses to rest on me. However, pickles can be very fussy about who he spends time with. I don’t like the kneading only when he does it on bare skin – ouch!

We have blankets on the sofa that he enjoys kneading, so we pull the blanket onto our laps and allow him to knead these.

Enjoy your biscuit-making kitties; it’s their way of sharing their contentment and happiness with you.

We hope you found this article helpful.

Before you go, you may find these articles interesting:

Why Do Cats Headbutt

Why Does My Cat Meow Before Jumping

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