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Why Do Cats Knead

If you have lived with a cat, you have probably seen them rhythmically push their paws back and forth against a soft surface or object. This is known as kneading, but another popular name for it is making biscuits. All cats are different when it comes to kneading. Some do it faster, some drool, and some cats may not knead at all.

There are many reasons why your cat kneads. 5-Minute Crafts will show you what this could mean.

1. Your cat is happy.

Most likely, one of the first things that comes to mind when you see a cat kneading is that they are happy. This is because kneading is the way cats show pleasure, love, and contentment. This explains why your cat may start kneading when you pet or cuddle them. It’s one of their ways of saying, “I love you.”
Just like your cat won’t knead on any random surface, they won’t knead on everybody. If a cat kneads on you is because they have chosen you. It’s to let you know that they like you.

2. Your cat is stressed.

While it is more common to associate kneading with happiness in cats, they may also do it as a response to stress. In cases like these, cats knead something soft to create a calming environment and soothe themselves.

Since kneading can be a sign of both happiness and stress, it is important to pay attention to other indicators, like body language, to have a clearer idea about how your cat is feeling.

3. Your cat did it as a kitten.

It’s likely that your cat likes kneading because it’s a leftover behavior from the time when they were a kitten. According to experts, kittens knead on their mother’s abdomen when they’re hungry, stimulating milk production. Engaging in this nursing activity as kittens makes adult cats associate kneading with a feeling of comfort and security.

Because of this, it’s possible that when a cat kneads on your lap, they could be creating a bond with you. When this happens, your cat makes a connection to the relationship they had with their mother, which makes the kneading all that more special.

4. Your cat is developing a place to rest.

A more specific situation where your cat may knead is when they push their paws against a surface before going to sleep. It is said that this behavior comes from their feline ancestors, who used to flatten out certain areas in order to sleep more comfortably and remain protected in the wild.

5. Your cat is stretching their muscles.

Cats also knead as a way to stretch some of their muscles. Since cats tend to sleep more than 12 hours a day, they knead as a way to stretch their paws. It has also been said that kneading allows cats to stretch out their limbs, so it can be seen as their own version of when we stretch our legs.

6. Your cat is marking their territory.

An additional reason why cats knead is because they have scent glands in their paws which release pheromones. These scent glands are activated by the kneading motion, which means that your cat is releasing pheromones on the surface they’re kneading on.

This means that, among many other things, your cat is marking their territory and claiming you as their own when they knead on you. This action serves as a message to other animals that can detect the scent, letting them know that your cat was there. Keep in mind that cats can often be territorial, which is another reason why they may be so eager to knead on you.

5-Minute Crafts/Animals/Why Do Cats Knead
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