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Blog - why cats love to knead

Five Reasons Why Cats Love Kneading

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Cat kneading, also referred to as making biscuits, massaging paddling, or marching, is a to and fro motion by which cats rhythmically push out and pull in their front paws against something or someone. This almost resembles kneading dough when we humans cook, only that in this context, cats are the stars.

Many cat owners and cat enthusiasts have tried to decipher the reason behind this common behavior among cats. However, with no substantial reason being arrived at as to why cats knead, there are numerous notions that try to explain this cat mystery.

Below are some of the explanations as to why cats knead:

1. History and Sleep Preparation

To start off, kneading can be traced back to cats’ ancestors prior to domestication. Earlier cats hypothetically had to make comfortable resting or birthing spots by tramping down tall vegetation and looking for dangerous things lying in such foliage. Consequently, if your cat tries to knead on your lap, relax and sit back because they may be actually preparing to lay down.

2. Stretching

Cats naturally and regularly love to work out. Kneading their paws helps them keep fit and achieve flexibility. Don’t we also love to grab onto or pull against something while stretching? Well, this is the same case to cats while they knead.

3. Marking Their Territories

Certainly, cats are territorial animals. They naturally mark as well as safeguard their property and territory. In that regard, through kneading, cats activate scent glands in their paws and in so doing mark their territory.

4. Memories of Being a Kitten

Another possible reason why cats knead, points to your feline’s infancy. In nursing, kittens instinctively start to knead as kittens to help stimulate their mothers' milk. As cats continue to mature, kneading becomes a lifelong habit that brings them happiness and gratification since they associate it with the comfort and care of their mother.

5. Find Potential Mates

This is most common among female cats. They will repetitively knead the air while also lying on their side. This in turn sends signals to male cats of their readiness and ability to mate. However, such kneading shouldn’t be seen as an immediate sign of the readiness to mate.

Can I Stop My Cat from Kneading?

In case you find kneading uncomfortable, the sad news is that you can’t stop your cat from kneading. Nonetheless, you can make adjustments. If your cat begins to knead, gently pick them up and place them on a preferred kneading surface. Furthermore, ensure that you trim your feline’s claws to prevent human injury or damage to your beloved possessions. You can also place thick blankets or towels to protect yourself or even distract the cat from kneading.

Overall, we may have similar and contradicting information, reasoning, and emotions as to why cats knead, but aren’t they adorable?

While the reasons listed above are only some of theories brought forward for why cats are believed to knead, we haven’t exhausted all possible reasons. To cap off, we can all agree that cat kneading is natural and instinctual among cats which shouldn’t take us by surprise but rather, it should entertain us.

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