Cats are some of the more interesting pets you can keep. This ranges from their top-notch grooming skills to their felinity to their kneading habits. Kneading is a particularly interesting trait. As a cat keeper, you must have at least wondered why your cat kneads you, other pets and other surfaces.
How do cats knead?
Kneading is the rhythmic motion that cats make with their paws that mimics the kneading of dough. Kneading in cats is usually characterized by pushing and pulling movements.
Kneading involves soft motions with their front paws, although some cats use all four.
Cats knead on soft surfaces such as on a comforter, pillow another cat or even a dog that the cat plays with. Cats also knead their cat parents.
6 reasons why cats knead
Because kneading is a natural instinct, you will notice kittens kneading as they suckle. It has been said that kneading helps to stimulate the flow of milk through the mother’s nipples by exerting pressure.
When your kitten or cat kneads you, they are expressing their affection. To help them enjoy the moment, don’t chase them away.
Cats will reach out and knead on soft surfaces or humans when they are depressed, anxious or frustrated. Soft surfaces work to calm them down by providing a soothing effect.
Cats have strong scent glands on their paws. When they knead, this unique scent is left on the surface they are kneading — be it on the sofa or your lap. By kneading on your lap, the cat is marking her territory, and another cat that comes by will detect the scent and keep away. This scent is not discernible to the human nose.
Cats derive happiness and relaxation from kneading. Kneading takes the cat back to their simple and happy days when they were kneading their parents as they were nursing. Kneading reminds them of their mother’s warmth and the security they used to enjoy.
This behavior goes back to the old days when cats would knead tall grass or leaves to find a place to sleep. In the present times, your cat will probably knead your pair of jeans or the sofa to soften their nest.
What to do with cat kneading
Cat kneading is OK and should not worry you at all. However, because your cat is likely to knead your lap, make sure to always keep her claws short. Also, offer them soft surfaces to sleep on so that when they are kneading to prepare a place to sleep, they will not get hurt.
If you suspect that the cat is kneading because they are depressed, try comforting them by patting or speaking to them in a low and gentle voice.
If the kneading is uncomfortable for you, try placing a towel on the part they are kneading or encourage them to sit somewhere else. Never act like you are punishing them for kneading you.