Why Your Cat Kneads

Have you seen your cats knead? You may think it is rather cute seeing your feline work hard at the “biscuit factory”, but it may make you curious as to why they do it. During kneading the cat pushes in and out using their paws, alternating between left and right. Some cats knead without showing their claws and some extend those fierce talons, while kneading and then pulling back. The kneading motion resembles the baker kneading the dough, which is why some people call it making biscuits. Cats do this on a sofa, a blanket, the bed, and of course in your lap. Normally, you can also hear the cat’s purring while kneading. Other cats may drool as they relax their jaw. It is normal for a cat to knead in a trance-like state in a steady, rhythmic movement.

There are many reasons why cats may knead. One way is it could be lingering behavior from when they were kittens. Cats start to knead when they are just kittens before they are able to get around on their own. During nursing, kittens knead on the area around their mother’s teat to make the milk flow. The kneading helps stimulate the production of milk. Cats can even continue this behavior into adulthood. They continue to knead soft surfaces even if it does not yield milk. It is because they identify the motion of kneading with the satisfying comfort they felt during nursing with their mother. 

Your Cat Kneads


They also knead when they are happy or content. This is usually a sign they feel happy, safe, and secure. If your cat is extra cuddly and swirled up and kneads on your lap as you are cuddling him, he is repaying the favor and informing you he loves you as well. This is how your cat shows their love and appreciation for you. This is an especially good reason to make sure you are Keeping your cats’ nails trimmed  So anytime, the cat kneads you don’t have to worry of getting hurt from their sharp claws.

Felines are natural yoga masters, and they love to work out on their kinks in their bodies that they may get from sleeping in one position for too long. This is one way they can stretch it out and keep their little bodies flexible. Another reason why cats may knead is, because their cat ancestors love to lay down on soft, cozy surfaces to sleep or give birth to their kittens. By kneading down on tall grass or leaves, cats were able to create a comfy spot to lie down in and to check the ground for unwanted visitors lurking under the foliage. Cats are territorial animals, and one way of protecting their area is to instill their scent. By kneading their claws into the surface of an area, they are stimulating their scent glands located in their soft pads on the bottom of their paws, thus making that item their property and claiming their territory.

Cats have many unique and funny behavioral traits and kneading is one of them. Kneading is not only specific to certain breeds of cats because all cats do this. Although there may be many different reasons why your cat kneads, one thing is for sure, kneading is a natural, common, and instinctual behavior, and mot importantly, it is super cute!



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