In case you’re not familiar with the “Kneading” term, let’s start by explaining it. Kneading is a common behavior seen in domestic cats, in which the feline pushes in and out with its front paws, alternating between left and right. While we cannot be 100% sure about why cats knead, researchers suggest a handful of explanations for this behavior.
So, why do cats knead?
Let’s discover the 7 main reasons why cats knead!
Kneading Is A Leftover Behavior from The Cat’s Kittenhood:
Kneading is an innate behavior in kittens. In fact, during the nursing phase, kittens knead the area around their mother’s teat in order to promote the flow of milk. Most cats don’t give up this deed when they grow up. Thus, kneading becomes a habit for life.
Kneading Is Hypnotic to Cats:
Cats can become so relaxed while kneading that they enter a trancelike state. Next time your cat is kneading, try to pay attention to it: You’ll notice it drooling and having a-thousand-mile-stare eyes. This is the reason why some cats may knead whenever they are stressed.
Cats Knead to Express Joy:
Cats knead when they’re happy or content. Researches explain this by the fact that cats may associate the kneading motion with the comforts of their nursing period and their mothers.
Cats Knead to Mark Their Territory:
Our feline friends have scent glands in the soft pads on the bottoms of their paws. When they knead a surface, some of their unique scent is released onto it. That odor actually serves as a kind of territorial marker to warn any unfamiliar cats that might come along and try to stake a claim. “So why does my cat knead me whenever it’s on my lap?”, you may ask. Don’t act surprised. Yes, your kitty is claiming you as begin its own. Freaky, right? Well, just thank God your cat isn’t peeing on your lap to mark you!
Kneading May Be an Instinct to Cats:
Another kneading hypothesis suggests that the kneading behavior goes back to our cat’s ancestors. As it happens, before domestication, our feline companions used to knead grass to make the surface softer for sleeping or giving birth. The act of kneading may, thus, be your cat’s way of making its bed.
Kneading Helps Cats to Stay Loose:
Kneading may just be a form of stretching for your cat.
Cats Knead to Express Their Need:
See what we did there? Yes, cats may knead to express their need. Cats may, sometimes, have a load of requirements: Maybe you’re too concentrated on your phone or computer monitor and your feline friend doesn’t approve of your conduct. Perhaps it craves a treat and it wants it now. Possibly, it needs a little scratch to ease a minor itch. The reasons are infinite.
To sum up, there exists a plethora of reasons why cats knead. Although we’ve provided you with our feline friend’s main motives, in some particular circumstances, you cannot be too sure about why your cat is kneading.