In domestic cats, kneading is a typical action in which the cat pushes in and out with its front paws, rotating between the left and right paws.
It is common for cats to make this action on soft objects, including cushions, blankets, other animals, and even people, which is frequently referred to as “kneading dough” or “making biscuits.”
The most often cited explanation is that kneading is a leftover activity from kittenhood. When a kitten is nursing, it will knead the region surrounding its mother’s teat to encourage milk flow.
Reasons – Why Cat Make Biscuits/Knead?
A variety of other factors can cause cat kneading along with leftover kittenhood behavior, including the following:
- It is believed that a cat will knead when it is pleased or comfortable since the motion is associated with the comforts of feeding and its mother. Adding even more credibility to the theory is the fact that some cats suckle on the surface they’re kneading. The act of kneading the mammary glands of their mother’s milking kittens at the start of a meal is thought to induce the milk stored in the glands to flow down into the teat. As a result, it’s probable that cats, even as adults, equate this act with feelings of happiness and calm, as there are few things that make a kitten feel more satisfied than a warm kitten with a full tummy.
- Another explanation is that kneading may be traced back to a time before domestication when wild cats were said to have patted down leaves to create a comfortable surface for napping or birthing on while hunting. It’s possible that the habit has now become an innate part of the process of calming down. Cats are believed to utilize kneading activity to communicate with the men in their area while they are in estrus, which is the period of their reproductive cycle during which they are receptive to mating, according to some scientists. As a result of the widespread spaying of cats well before their first heat cycle, this one is a little more difficult to confirm.
- Kneading may just be another method for cats to smell and claim territory. Cats have scent glands in the pads of their paws, which they use to scent and claim territory. Cats have a tendency to mark items that they regard to be theirs. It is one of the most often cited reasons for spaying and neutering cats and dogs. Unspayed and unneutered cats, particularly males, are more likely than females to use urine to “mark” their territory, letting other cats know that the area and everything in it are theirs to keep and protect. No matter who pays the mortgage, as anybody who has a cat will tell you, their feeling of entitlement to you and all of your belongings is strong, regardless of who pays the mortgage.
- Cats’ paws are found to contain tiny smell glands, which suggests that they may be attempting to claim people or items by kneading them. Think of it as if you were putting your name on your notebook with a Sharpie, only your cat is warning all the other cats in the world not to touch this notebook because it belongs to my human. When you try to stop thinking about it, it’s actually rather nice in a possessive kind of way.
- Cats adore their pet parents, which is one way she expresses her affection for you. Whenever your cat kneads on your leg, you may be confident that she is showering you with her eternal love. The majority of adult cats tend to knead on the persons they identify with their happiness. Cats are often known to knead on their favorite soft toy when they are bored. They may be rather energetic in their biscuit-making at times, to the point of ripping up a toy if left unattended for an extended period of time. Again, this is a natural activity, and if they destroy their toy, simply replace it with another.
- Kneading is frequently done in conjunction with anything else that feels nice – such as stretching. When cats knead on a surface, they attempt to maintain their grip on the surface while extending their backs, shoulders, and hind legs. And after all that napping, it’s probably time to get some exercise in as well.
- You could possibly catch a glimpse of your cat kneading its blanket just before going to sleep. According to some researchers, this might be an inherited tendency from wild cats, who were the progenitors of today’s housecats and who are masters of the 22-hour power sleep. The process of settling into their bedding is likely to take some time, and kneading may be beneficial in “tamping down” the area they’ve chosen to sleep in, making it more comfortable for them in the process. A widespread myth is that a cat that kneads was separated from its mother or weaned at an early age, which is incorrect. Most experts do not believe this to be true because cats appear to like kneading regardless of whether or not they had a full and happy upbringing.
What to do if your cat’s kneading causes you trouble?
Some cats may knead with their claws out, which might give the impression that they are using your lap as a pin cushion!
There are some options you can do to reduce the likelihood of scratches on your body. Still, it’s vital not to punish them for doing it because it’s a natural behavior, and they’re simply reciprocating the affection they receive from you.
You can follow the under-given steps to stop your cats from excessive kneading.
How Do I Stop My Cat From Kneading?
Kneading may appear to be an adorable action, but if your cat kneads with her claws out, it can be really unpleasant for her. She may also accidentally rip up blankets and furnishings, as well as annoy your dog if she is not careful. Make use of the following suggestions to help you encourage adequate kneading:
- To begin with, keep your cat’s nails as short as possible and avoid sharp hooks from developing. A lot of them knead with their claws extended, which is quite painful for me to see. You may also use little plastic sheaths to protect the nails on the front of your hands. Soft Paws are what these are called, and they are cemented into place. If your cat is a scratcher, they’re also a great way to save your furniture from getting scratched.
- Many behavioral experts recommend to gently divert your cat’s passionate biscuiting behavior to a more appropriate surface (towards their bed or a soft toy). You may also lay a cushion or other soft fabric between you and the cat to act as a barrier, preventing the cat from approaching you. If none of the above approaches work, consider taking a “time out” – just getting up and walking away to a different area. The majority of cats will ultimately get the message.
- Encourage your cat to knead in a different location. Take a look at the TwoCrazyCatLadies range of products, and try using a pheromone-based spray to entice your cat to knead on a blanket rather than on your lap.
- Use treats or a toy to divert her focus away from you. Unlike dogs, cats are highly trainable, and you may rapidly teach her to do an alternative action, such as sitting or pursuing a toy, instead of kneading the floor.
- If your cat kneads while using her claws, try laying a special “kneading-only,” thick blanket on your lap to shield you from her claws. It would help if you also clarified to your cat that she is only permitted to knead on that blanket. As a fallback option, carefully set her on the ground and distract her with food or stuffed animal.
- Never hit or otherwise reprimand your cat for kneading. If she is penalized for her natural, instinctual behavior, she is likely to retaliate adversely and act violently towards you. Stick to redirection and diversion strategies instead if you want to maintain your cat’s confidence.
We interact with our cats in various ways, and your cat’s kneading is a common feline action that we can participate in as well. If you’re more worried about your cat’s kneading behavior, you should seek guidance from an AAHA-accredited veterinarian.
Kneading is a very typical and natural activity for cats. Kneading is an instinctive behavior in cats, and you should never punish her for it.
However, if your cat kneads with her claws out, it can be uncomfortable for both you and her. Make sure her nails are kept clipped, and if necessary, you may lay a cloth on your lap between your cat and your sensitive skin to protect it.
To avoid her from kneading on you completely, relocate her gently to a kitty bed or soft cushion as soon as she begins to knead. She’ll eventually realize that this is the best location for her.
You and your cat can spend some quality time together kneading if you enjoy it, and it isn’t uncomfortable for either of you.