Cat Kneading

Why do cats knead?

Kneading is also called “making biscuits” because the action resembles someone kneading dough. The cat will push out and pull in their front paws, often alternating between right and left limbs. Usually it’s combined with plenty of purring and possibly drooling. The cat may look zoned out – completely content in the moment.Cat kneading

Kneading is an instinctive trait. Kittens knead their mother’s belly to stimulate the flow of milk. Nearly all adult cats will knead. It’s likely the instinctive behavior comforts and soothes cats.

Kneading might be done to pat down an area, making a cushy, cozy bed for sleeping. Many cats will knead a blanket or towel before taking a nap on it.

When cats knead, the scent glands on the pads of their feet will mark the surface being kneaded. So, the scent left is a territorial marker. An added bonus – if the cat is kneading your lap or chest, she’s saying she owns you and also feels comfortable and safe with you. Try keeping her little nails trimmed so she doesn’t puncture your skin or snag clothes.

Some female cats will knead before going into heat.

Don’t punish a cat when they are kneading. It’s a natural thing for them. If you don’t like it, or their nails are hurting you, then coax the kitty to lie down. Or try gently holding her paws together, grab a toy or have a towel handy to drape over your body and allow the cat to do her thing. It’s a true compliment if you have a cat that kneads you! They are at ease with your company.

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Jessie Cat says: I knead the blankets before I take a snooze. And if my human is beached on the couch with a blanket over her, I’ll knead where her legs, belly or chest are covered.

Gina says: Yes, she does this a lot. And I find it super sweet and so far, her nails have never hurt me.

7 responses to “Cat Kneading

  1. I have a sweet little male kitten that I rescued from a life of probable feralness. He was on my porch and he was so small and thin and I watched for awhile and saw no sign of mama. He was probably only about 4 weeks old. When I first brought him in he gave me a hard time about it, struggling and trying to take swipes with his teeny little claws and hissing his teeny little hisses (which was more funny than scary).

    Now 3 months later, he likes to climb on me when I’m lying down and knead on me….while he’s trying to nurse my earlobe. It’s so adorable I let him do it despite the occasional claw jab and the sometimes sore earlobes. His little motor is so loud when he does this it’s almost hypnotizing.

  2. We have tamed an absolutely beautiful Torti who was the meanest cat ever. She would spit and hiss and lash out with her nails like switch blades. It took a while but we finally broke through that tuff exterior she had. I am the proudest that I was able to get her tamed enough prior to having her spayed where she didn’t have to be labeled for life with a cut ear. When I went to pick her up from the clinic I asked how she was and they told me she never once tried to scratch or bite them to my surprise. What made me the happiest the other day was that after a year of feeding her, giving her a bed on our porch(probably the first bed she ever had), holding and petting her, that she was sitting on my lap and began kneading me. Out of nowhere this formally viscous cat who would have been euthanized had the humane society ever picked her up was sitting on my lap purring and telling me that she was comfortable and trusted me enough not to harm her and that she in return could love back no matter what her life was before. She does get in one of her moods still where she will try and scratch at me only this time it’s like she realizes what did I do and backs off. She is still trying to learn the socials queue’s that she never learned as a kitten being on her own her whole life.

  3. My new 1 yr old tabby is getting used to me he is kneading on me and purrs a lot. He is eating well and playing. He has been with me for 3 weeks today and got neutered 2 weeks ago so healing well.

  4. both of my 1 yr old sibling cats knead. it is a wonderful bonding moment between the furkids and I Love it!

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