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Why Do Cats Knead – The Top 6 Reasons!

“Why do cats knead” is a question that has either popped up why starring at your cat and then asked upon Google to find out why they really do this strange yet enticing action.

Cats are royalty. They do not have owners or servants, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. These mysterious animals do many strange things that we don’t always understand. One of those things is kneading, or baking biscuits as we like to call it. This adorable behavior has several theories behind it.

Why Do Cats Knead Soft Objects

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Cats start kneading as a kitten while nursing from their mother. It is an instinct for a kitten to knead when nursing, as it stimulates the milk flow. When a cat kneads a soft object, they are aware that it won’t provide them with milk. Older cats still associate kneading with the comfort of nursing. Grab a soft blanket and put it in your cat’s favorite spot. Watch how happy they become kneading and finding comfort. They’ll look like kittens again. 

Why is my Cat Kneading me?

Nothing makes you feel warmer inside than having your cat curl up in your lap and knead wildly if you’re petting them. But why do they do that? Petting your cat shows affection towards them, and when they start kneading you, they are showing you that affection right back. This could become a painful situation. The happier your cat gets, the harder he might knead, using his sharp nails to dig into you. He isn’t aware that he is hurting you, so be wary of punishments. 

Other Reasons For “Why Do Cats Knead?”

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Kneading is an instinctive trait that cats have. There are various reasons as to why they knead. 

1. Cats Knead to Stretch Their Muscles:

Think of kneading as cat yoga. Cats often knead to stretch their muscles. Naps can be hard on your cat’s body. Kneading helps them work out all the kinks and knots in their muscles. 

2. Kneading for Possible Mates:

Female cats knead for an additional reason. They often purr, stretch and knead the air while lying on their sides. They do this to tell the male cats that they are safe to approach for mating. If a female cat is immediately ready for mating, she’ll lift her pelvis with her tail to one side. 

3. Kneading During Nursing:

This behavior is often leftover from kittenhood. As mentioned above, kittens knead during nursing to stimulate milk flow and find comfort from their mother. One theory states that adult cats who knead were taken from their mother at an early age. Yet research shows that all cats knead regardless of weaning age.

4. Kneading for Comfort:

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Cats tend to get their knead on when they are looking for a form of comfort! The happier your cat is, the more they’ll knead. They often begin to knead when you pet them or when they’re getting ready to snuggle into their favorite napping spot. They might even start kneading your lap if they find comfort with you.

5. Kneading to Develop a Place to Rest:

This is similar to dogs turning in circles before they lay down. Likewise, cats knead before resting in a specific spot. This comes from the wild feline ancestors who would knead tall grass into cushy piles for a comfy sleeping spot. Our fellow domesticated cats could still share this instinct. 

6. Kneading to Mark Territory:

The scent is how cats communicate. They rely on various scent markers to claim territory and leave messages for fellow cats. Their scent glands are located under their paws. This means that they are depositing their scent when they scratch and knead. So think about it, whenever your cat kneads you, they could be marking you as their territory.

Why Do Cats Knead – How Can I Make Them Stop?

Kneading is not always cute, and it could become painful or destructive depending on where your cat decides to knead. If your cat kneads with their claws out, they could be destroying everything they lay their paws on. However, there is a way to encourage proper kneading. 

  • Keep your cat’s claws trimmed. This will prevent them from having sharp hooks that could hurt you or your furniture. 
  • Encourage your cat to knead on a special blanket. This can be achieved by using pheromone sprays or putting the blanket on your lap before your cat begins to knead. 
  • An effective and safe method of removing the kneading issue is by distracting your cat with toys or treats. Cats can be trained. Using treats or a toy could teach them to knead no longer.
  • Don’t punish your cat for kneading. They are unaware that they could be causing you pain or discomfort. Your cat could lash out and respond negatively to being punished for following its natural instinct. 

Purr-fectly Put

Your cat’s kneading is instinctive. It is often how they portray various emotions and display different needs. Therefore, do not punish your cat for kneading. Instead, take special precautions such as trimming their nails to ensure minimal damage. You could also redirect your cat from kneading by distracting them with toys and treats. 

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