Have you ever seen any cat kneading? First of all, we will tell you what “kneading” is: a cat is kneading when it pushes the front paws in and out against something or someone. If you often deal with cats, it is very likely that you have already seen them doing it! This is possibly one of the most intriguing behaviours that these spectacular felines can perform. Although it can be a funny thing to see, it might be also destructive and harmful, because cats often put their claws out when they knead. Be careful if your cat likes to be on your lap or if it kneads on your couch, your bed, or in anything you want to preserve.
If you haven’t seen any cat kneading, and now that you know what “to knead” is, you are certainly curious about why they do it. Unfortunately, you (and we) are going to remain curious, since probably only cats know why they act this way. But some efforts have been made to find an answer to this question, or at least a possible explanation. Let’s point out some potential reasons and see how they are related with cats’ personality and their story:
Why do cats knead?
It might be a way to relax or express they’re feeling good.
Cats often knead when they are being petted. Sometimes, cats stretch their paws after they wake up and then they knead. So, it seems logical that we think they’re showing to the world their satisfaction. Nevertheless, you can see your cat kneading at any time of the day, which makes even harder to know the circumstances that lead them to do it. But this might be a good reason.
Kneading to make the bed.
This idea seems to be related to the previous one. It has been said that kneading can be a behaviour those animals have when they want to prepare the place where they will sleep, somehow similar to our behaviour when we make our bed. It has been said also that cats inherited this habit from their ancestors, which used to knead to create a nest to have their babies born. Whatever the truth is, kneading seems to be linked to relaxation and happiness.
Maybe it is a good idea to cover the places where your cat uses to sleep with a blanket, a towel or something similar, because if you do it you will prevent damages on your furniture. You can also cover yourself with a blanket when the cat is on your lap, since kneading can be injurious to you.
Kneading to stand for their territory.
Cats are territorial animals, like other felines. By kneading, they might be telling us that some place belongs to them (at least they think so). According to this, they are expressing possession: the pillow, the bed, the couch, the desk, the top of the fridge or anything else they choose is theirs, as soon as they knead on it. By kneading on something, cats leave their scent on things, which can be a way to claim the property of those things. This is quite similar to the behaviour some other animals have when they pee to claim something as theirs, because by doing this they also leave their scent on it.
Kneading to “create food”.
It is generally considered that little kittens use to knead to stimulate their mother’s teat to produce milk and they keep the kneading habit through their whole life as a sign of satisfaction.
This would be an explanation for this behaviour, a reminiscence from the time they were infants.
Kneading to show us love.
Some cats use to knead when they are being petted. It is said that this means they love us and kneading is the way they found to tell it.
These are some theories created to try to explain why cats knead. However, the true reason why they do it will remain unknown, but any of these possible explanations fits on these beautiful creatures’ behaviour and habits.
Although the habit of kneading is very common and absolutely normal, it can bring some troubles for mainly two reasons: cats often do it while they are laying down on our lap, which can be painful because of its nails; on the other hand, it is very common to find our pets doing it on the wrong surfaces and destroying our things.
If your cat uses to knead, you might have some concerns about the living room floor, the couch or even some of your clothes. If you want to avoid that your pet damage your personal objects, you can:
- Try to keep its nails a few shorter. But don’t declaw your cat, unless your pet or you have a health problem related to that.
- If there is any place in the house in which you have some objects that you don’t want to see destructed, maybe it’s better to leave that door closed.
- You can try to teach your cat to knead in other places by leading it to where that places are.
- You can try to protect the surfaces that you want to protect with a blanket, as it has been said.
- Don’t shout to make your cat obey, because your pet probably will not understand and it will not work. The best way to avoid damages is to cover up your things (sofas, beds, and other things where the cat likes to sleep or stay) to keep them protected and do not allow that the cat go to some rooms.
Those were some possible explanations why your cat kneads. Evidently, those are only suggestions and the imaginable reasons do not end at this article. Whatever the cause is, kneading is a natural behaviour that cats have. As it may be destructive, it is important to take some precautions and above all let your cats be happy cats.