Why Do Cats Knead Us So Much?
If you have a furry companion you may have noticed how they knead their pillows, blankets, and even us, especially when they’re content and happy. Perhaps cats are content in our presence and begin to knead because they remember their happy kitten days with their mother. Or, perhaps they need comfort and reassurance.
A kitten will knead their mother’s chest to stimulate milk production. Not only does this motion provide nourishment for the kitten, it also helps to make them feel happy and safe. But we all know that adult cats can continue to do it.
According to Jackson Galaxy, cats knead us because they love us. They feel safe in our presence. It’s one of their ways of showing that they care, because they can’t outright tell us what they really think.
Kneading is also known as “making biscuits”. This paw motion is similar to the ones human use when they are kneading dough to make bread. Cats use a pushing motion with their front paws, usually using one paw first, then the other paw. They may have their claws extended. Most cats only use the front paws to knead, though you can find videos online that show some cats use all four.
There may also be other behavior involved when your cat is kneading, such as biting. This is perhaps one reason why kneading can be misunderstood by their humans. If your cat does bite, just say a quiet “ow” and soon they’ll learn to not do it.
Cats may also knead a pillow or blanket to get it to just that right degree of softness and comfort. They want to create that cozy space, then settle in for a nap.
Kneading may also be part of the process for scenting their territory. Once their scent is all over their kitty bed, pillow, blanket, or even their human, it’s paws off for any other cats in the house.
There are instances when kneading can become excessive. A cat may continuously knead you or their pillow. It could be a sign that your cat is feeling unwell or is in pain. If you feel that your cat is being obsessive about it, you should book an appointment with your veterinarian.
Many cat owners may wonder if there is a way to make their cat stop kneading, particularly if they’re getting their claws stuck in surfaces or scratching you. Generally, no, you don’t want to discourage a cat from kneading. But you can trim their claws with special cat clippers from the local pet supply store. If you’re still worried about snags and scratches on your good linens, simply move your cat to their special blanket where they can knead all they want. Soon, they’ll learn that this is their spot.
When cats are happy, they knead. If you witness your cat kneading you or their possessions, you should be very proud indeed!