Why Do Cats Knead?

Have you seen your cat kneading on the blanket on your bed, on its favorite toy, or even on you while you pet it? If you have a pet cat, you have most likely experienced kneading. But what does it mean? Why do cats knead anyway? What are they trying to tell us?

We have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions about kneading, hoping to answer all the questions you might have about this.

What is kneading anyway?

Kneading is a rhythmic motion that cats make with their paws. They push their claws, fingers, and paws in and out against a soft surface.  

What do people call kneading?

– Making muffins. – Making biscuits. – Kitty acupuncture. – Playing the piano. – Happy paws. – Mashing potatoes. – Kneading dough.

Theory No. 1 – Cat Kneading Comes from Kitten Behavior

Kittens knead on their mother’s belling while sucking at her tit. The movement stimulates milk production in the mother, which gives the kitten the food it desires. 

Theory No. 2 – Cat Kneading Means that They Are Marking their Territory

It is a less known fact that cats have scent glands in their paws, so when they are kneading, they are not only creating a comfortable setting but spreading their scent and marking their territory. 

Theory No. 3 – Cat Kneading Means that They Are Settling Down

When wild cats would find a place that they would deem suitable for giving birth in, they would knead it to prepare it.  

Why do cats knead their owners?

According to the theory that kneading is a behavioral pattern coming from kitten years when an adult cat kneads on its owners, it is establishing a deep connection with them, similar to that it built with its mother. 

Why does my cat knead me but not other members of the family?

This common behavior happens when a cat feels closest to a certain member of the family. The kneading is showing that person just how special he or she is to the cat.  

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