Because the activity is similar to kneading dough, cat "kneading" is also known as "making biscuits." It is the action of pushing the paws against a soft object, such as a blanket or your lap. Today, our Diablo View Veterinary Hospital vets discuss cat kneading, why they do it, and if you should be concerned.
Cat kneading is a frequent activity in both young and adult cats. Some cats purr blissfully when they are kneading, but others appear to do so for no apparent reason. There are a few different beliefs about why cats knead, which our vets have outlined below.
Kneading for Territorial Reasons
Cats are territorial creatures, and one of the ways they protect their territory is by scent-marking the items they use to navigate their territory. The act of kneading their paws on something (yes, even you) causes the smell glands in their delicate paw pads to become active, identifying that item, or person, as theirs.
Kneading Blankets, Cushions, and Other Soft Objects
A nursing kitten kneads instinctively in order to increase the supply of milk available to her mother. Male and female adult cats, regardless of whether or not they are nursing, will associate kneading a soft surface with the pleasurable comfort of breastfeeding. Occasionally, your cat will be found kneading on a blanket, plush animal, or another soft object around the house. Provide them with something soft so that they can knead to their hearts' content.
Kneading for Mates
Female cats may have additional motivations for kneading than male cats. Female cats who are lying on their side may purr, stretch, and knead the air to signal to male cats that they are available for mating. However, if they are ready to mate right away, they will not knead their paws but will instead elevate their pelvis to one side while wagging their tails frantically around.
Kneading for Stretching Their Muscles
Kneading is one of the many methods cats use to keep themselves flexible until their next nap. Cats are natural yoga instructors, and they take pleasure in stretching out all the knots that have formed while resting and sleeping. Consider this. Getting your shoulders and quadriceps stretched out when you first wake up in the morning or after a nap or after simply lying down is a wonderful feeling. Cats have these exact same feelings as humans.
The fact that your cat is cuddled up in your lap and kneading while you're petting him means that your cat is expressing how much he adores you. To put it another way, they are petting you right back. Never scold your cat for acting in this manner. He is completely unaware of how much it bothers or hurts you. Maintain the health of your cat's nails with nail clippers or purchase nail protectors to ensure the comfort of both you and your cat. Nail trimming appointments that are scheduled on a regular basis are also a good idea.
Kneading for a Resting Place
It is possible that our domesticated felines have retained this instinctive behavior from their wild feline ancestors, who used to knead tall grass into comfortable mounds for a resting area.
Should I Be Concerned About Kneading?
Whether your cat is kneading to express affection or to claim you as their own, kneading is a natural, innate, and typical cat activity. Unless their nails aren't trimmed and it's causing you or another pet in your home pain (in which case a good nail trim should do the trick). there isn't any real reason why you should be concerned with kneading.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.