Our feline companions are mysterious, fascinating, and curious. One of the curious things that our kitties do is kneading. That thing they do with their paws that they tend to push in and out against a soft surface. Others even call it, “making biscuits” as the cat looks like it is kneading dough. But most feline lovers are not aware as to what this really means or why cats even do this. Let us find that out today.

Multipawl Reasons

            Generally, it would seem that kneading is a relaxing thing for cats. Many will purr contentedly, zone out, and even drool while doing it. Unfortunately, there is no certain reason why this activity takes place, but there are many “pawsible” reasons that may just explain why.

A soft place to sleep. Long ago, feline ancestors didn’t have kitty beds or cushions. They would sleep in grassy areas, but before they go to sleep, they would knead on the grass to make a soft place for them to sleep. It is very possible that this is hard wired to our kitty genes that even until today, they would still knead mostly before sleeping.

Contentment or stress reliever. A “kneady” kitty is a happy kitty. Cats tend to knead more when they are happy or when they have previously been put under stress. Which lead experts to believe that this may be a way for cats to show contentment or to relieve stress.

Kneading their mommy kitty. One theory that may be a possible cause for this phenomenon is that kitties were separated from the mommy kitty too soon. Kittens would knead on their mothers as they suckled. Because they were separated from the mother too early, they tend to bring the kitten habits with them while they grow up.

A territorial display. When a cat kneads on a surface, their scent gets left behind, this is because they have sweat glands on their paws. This would explain why it is possible that our feline friends do this to mark their territories.

Lap Saving Tips

Although kneading is very relaxing for cats, it may not have the same effect towards our things and especially, us.  When cats knead, most of the times, their claws are out, which would scratch the surface or the lap they are kneading on. Here are a few tips that you can use to let your cat continue to “make biscuits” without suffering from being the dough.

  • Trim your cat’s claws Don’t cut below the quick as this will hurt our dear kitty.
  • Teach your cat where to knead. The moment it starts kneading, gently move it by properly carrying it by both of your arms, with one arm supporting the entire weight of the kitty from below, and place it on the scratching post or wherever you want the kneading process to take place.
  • A simple toy or by petting your kitty should distract the kneading process.
  • A thick cloth or blanket should cover your legs when the kneading begins.
  • Never punish your kitty for kneading, it’s in their system and cats don’t react well to negativity. Cats have strong feelings too, you know.
  • Declawing is never the answer to this. This process is very painful and dangerous to kitties.

When all is said and done, we actually are not able to fully understand kneading and why exactly they do it. But why worry about it? Isn’t it bliss to see your beloved kitty doing something that relaxes them? Plus, it’s cute to see them knead an imaginary dough.


Meow for now… Kristian

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