Why Do Cats Knead?

Kneading is characterized by an alternated pressing of the front paws into a soft object, like a pillow, blanket, or your leg. Have you ever seen your cat do this and wondered what’s going on? Here, your Wake Forest, NC vet tells you about some of the possible reasons kitty does this.

Nursing Instinct

Kittens knead their mother’s belly during nursing, which is believed to stimulate milk production. It’s entirely possible that adult cats who knead are performing a sort of “remnant” behavior from childhood—they may even experience feelings of contentment associated with nursing when they knead!

Napping Instinct

Experts believe that the ancient wildcats of old kneaded grass and dirt in order to soften these areas up for napping. Your cat may knead because it’s a trait passed down from her ancestors.

Scent Marking

Did you know that your cat’s paw pads contain scent glands? These scents are released into an object when your cat kneads, thereby marking it as her own. If your cat kneads you, you should feel honored—it may be her way of claiming ownership over you!

Want more insight into your cat’s behavior patterns? Contact your animal hospital Wake Forest, NC.