What Does It Mean When Cats Knead?

What Does It Mean When Cats Knead?

 

Cats can be fascinating and mysterious animals. If you have one as a pet, then you may have seen them “knead.” So what exactly is kneading and why do cats knead? Read on for more information:

 

Cat Kneading Behavior

Cat kneading is a cat pushing its paws in and out usually against a soft surface. It is similar to the motion of human hands when dough is kneaded.

A cat will perform this motion also called “kneading dough” or “making biscuits” on surfaces that are soft, such as blankets, pillows, other animals and even humans.

It appears that kneading is relaxing for cats as the majority of them purr in a contented fashion while doing it. So what are the reasons a cat kneads? Why do cats knead you? And when cats knead? Here are a few possible reasons:

 

What are the reasons a cat kneads?

Cat kneading is relaxing for cats as the majority of them purr in a contented fashion while doing it. So what does it mean when cats knead?

 

  1)   To create a soft area to sleep

The wild ancestors of cats could have kneaded grass to create a soft area to sleep. This cat behavior could have come down the generations similar to dogs turning around in circles before sleeping. Cats knead before sleeping especially against a soft area.

 

  2)   To generate nourishment

Kittens knead against their mother while suckling. This behavior could be carried forward even though they grew up to become adults themselves.

Possibly, the motion is associated by the cat with the comforts of its mother and nursing from it.

 

  3)   To claim an area

Cats have scent glands in their paws. These are located in the pads on their paws. So, cats could be claiming an area using their scent. Each cat has a distinctive scent which can be differentiated by other cats.

Even though you may have only one cat in your household, kneading could be an inherent behavior to mark the area as its own.

 

  4)   To alleviate stress or to show contentment

Cats knead when they are feeling happy or contented. On occasions, cats have also been seen to knead when they are under stress.

Kneading could be a way to alleviate stress (similar to humans biting their fingernails) or showing contentment.

When a cat purrs during kneading, you can make out that they are particularly contented.

 

What do you do if your cat kneads in your lap or some piece of clothing?

Your cat kneading could be an expression of contentment or force of habit. But if your cat has a tendency of kneading a soft piece of clothing or your lap, you can end up with torn clothes or scratches on your legs!

Here are a few tips on how to protect yourself and your clothes (or other soft items) from the effects of cat kneading:

Cat kneading is relaxing for cats as the majority of them purr in a contented fashion while doing it. So what does it mean when cats knead?

  a)   Ensure that you have your cat’s claws trimmed regularly.

 

  b)   Train her accordingly. You can achieve this by moving it gently away from your lap whenever it starts kneading. If you do this in a gentle fashion (without scolding it), then it will get used to kneading away from your lap.

 

  c)   Distract it from kneading. If the kneading is frequent, you can distract your cat by giving it a toy to play with.

 

  d)   Allow the cat to sit on your lap after covering your lap with a thick blanket. That way, your cat can knead away to its heart’s content without inflicting any injuries on you!

 

What Does It Mean When Cats Knead?

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