Cats are weird animals. That’s one thing that every cat owner knows. They aren’t like any other pet you’ll have, they’re unique and have their own way of showing affection. Lots of us find ourselves asking why does a cat knead?
It’s not behavior you see in other animals and is purely a cat habit. In my opinion it’s one of the cutest cat behaviors because cats are so content to just knead at you while purring away on your lap.
What is Kneading?
Kneading is an instinctive behavior that cats are born with. They flex their paws, pushing into a surface and then pulling on it. It looks a bit like they’re trying to knead biscuit dough or something similar!
Before little kittens can even open their eyes they start kneading. When cats are young they knead to stimulate milk production in their mothers. This repetitive behavior is soothing to older cats, as it reminds them of the calmness of their mothers.
A common misconception that people have after hearing this is that your cat thinks you’re its mom. Your cat definitely knows you aren’t its mother. But if they knead you, they feel a similar level of comfort around you that they did with their mother. It one of their ways of showing you they care about you.
Why Do Cats Knead?
There are a couple of different reasons that cats knead. A cat will only knead when they are calm and content, or are looking for soothing.
Kneading means that your cat is happy and relaxed. My cat kneads when she’s splayed out in a comfy spot, and it’s one of the most adorable things she does. She also is more likely to knead when she’s warm, so we often spot her kneading while she’s basking in a sunbeam.
» Learn how to bond with your cat.
Another reason cats knead is due to the scent glands that are in their paw pads, much like what makes a cat rub their face against you. These scent glands are called the interdigital glands and sit right between their toes. By kneading, the cat is putting their scent onto whatever they’re touching.
They could be pawing at your or your clothing, or even their bedding or a comfy spot. Cats just want everything to smell like them!
How to Get a Cat to Stop Kneading
Although kneading is a positive behavior in cats, some owners find it uncomfortable. Some cats may have their claws out while kneading and can accidently scratch their owners.
You cannot stop a cat from kneading, first of all. It’s an instinctual behavior. Some cats will do this more than others, but if your cat kneads you can’t stop them from doing it.
If your cat is scratching you while kneading, consider clipping their claws on a regular basis to maintain a dull edge.
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Cat kneading is a cute and unique behavior from cats. It’s adorable to watch them so content. Kneading means your cat is happy, so keep doing what you’re doing!
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