Unexpected Truth to Know About Why Do Cats Knead?

May 08, 2020
Why do cats kneadYou may have noticed that your cat has some strange habits like kneading against any soft object or your lap. This bouncy kitty massage is like making dough for a biscuit. If you’re also wondering like many other cat parents why cats knead, read this article below.

Cat kneading is a common behavior in cats of all ages, but some cats also don’t show this behavior and it is also normal. Some cats knead with front paws and others use all four paws, some show this behavior when petted, some for no reason.

The cat kneads on different surfaces and objects like pillows, blankets, other cats or pets, or even people. The exact reason for cat kneading is still unclear but people who study cat behavior have proposed different theories for this behavior.

The male cats kneading behavior means almost the cat will be more aggressive after that, meanwhile, the female cats kneading behavior happen frequently once the cat gets into heat. I can feel that when my female cats kneading on me. Therefore, here we discuss some common theories that justify this cat kneading behavior.


Kittenhood memories

This is one of the most repeated and common explanations for cat kneading behavior that states that cats instinctively start kneading mother’s teats during lactation to stimulate milk flow. You may think that after kittenhood, my adult cat still exhibits this behavior, but why do they continue to knead soft surfaces and objects like blankets, pillows, etc.?

As cats get older, they link this behavior with the rewarding comfort of nursing (tasty treat). Sometimes cats also suck on the surface they are kneading; this will further prove this explanation. We can say this behavior is a leftover of kittenhood.

Since this behavior is associated with lactation and their mother, cats also display this behavior when they feel happy and relaxed.


Loving touch

You may have noticed that when you were petting your cat, it is likely that she is kneading and purring. She loves your touch and, in response, shows affection by kneading. This is also one of the theories.

May this kneading becomes unpleasant when she used nails to show this behavior, especially when she is very happy. Never punish your cat for this behavior. You can cover your lap with a pillow or blanket before you sit down to avoid scratches.


Making the bed

Cat behavioral scientists also proposed a theory that Wild ancestors of our domesticated cat kneaded grass and foliage to create a smooth surface for sleeping or giving birth. Now our cats sit on our lap or blanket and instinctively knead the area to prepare to relax and sleep


Knead to mark their territory

Cats and dogs are territorial creatures. Cats have scent glands on their soft pads that they used to mark the territory. This is also one of the theories that cats mark their territory by kneading on any surface.

At some point, cats knead you to activate their scent gland and mark you as "you are mine." This is the way to tell other cats to keep their paws away from you.


To Stretch their muscle

Cats love to walk around the house and then sleep. After taking a nap, cats sometimes knead to simply stretch their muscles.


Final Word

Why do cats knead? The answer to this question may not be easy or simple because the best things are always difficult to explain. Most cats show this behavior because of their instincts and showing affection. Never punish your cat for this natural behavior because sometimes do cats knead their owners also.
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