Kneading by your favorite kitty can be the most adorable activity which both you and your cat would enjoy but have you ever wondered why cats knead on you? In spite of the fun associated with kneading, at times, it can seem to be an uncomfortable affair. An extended period of cat kneading can cause pain. Let’s learn more about it.
Kneading is common in cats. It is a kind of repetitive activity done by the feline group in rhythmic motion to enjoy immensely. Cats mostly knead on soft surfaces like laps and pillows by pushing their paws in and out of the surface. They do it alternatively with both their paws. While kneading, they stretch their paws to extend them on the surface and bring them back while pulling them in.
Some cats only use their forepaws while others enjoy kneading using all their four paws. This kind of kneading with all four paws make a fascinating dance form taking the cats in a relaxed mode. Kneading may be held on a person’s lap, soft couch, soft pillows, etc. and it is almost like kneading some dough.
While your cat kneads, you can position your cat in a way so that it lies on its side. This way your cat would have the chance for maximum relation and might fall asleep while in the kneading mode. On the flip side, to get your cat away from the kneading activity, you can divert its attention with a toy so that it can forget about the kneading activities.So, Why Do Cats Knead?
Kneading is an activity which is instinctive in all cats. It is an activity which baby cats start to perform in a few days after their birth. There are some reasons for this kneading action:
- To enjoy relaxation
- To stimulate milk production from the mammary glands
- To enjoy calm composed state after stressful activities
- To put marks on their human owners.
Why Cats Knead Their Owners?
Cats are known to be territorial creatures; therefore, they have the tendency to knead on their owners to put sweat marks on them with their paws.
Some theories say that the kneading behavior of cats started with wild felines who used to make their shelters using leaves and grass. They used to build such shelters to give birth and hide their kittens in there. It also used to be a spot where they rested after the day’s hunting.
Today, that trend can be seen when cats knead right before they prepare themselves for the night’s sleep. Kneading is also more common in female cats than male ones and is considered during the time they go into the period of heat.
Also Read: Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?
Why Do Cats Knead On You?
Cats like to knead on soft surfaces, and as an owner, you may encounter cat kneading on you from up, close and personal. Your lap is the favorite kneading place for your cat, and you may see your kitty knead on you especially when you are putting on soft fabrics like wooly clothes, sweatshirt or silky gowns. These are favorable for cat’s kneading as they make beautiful sleeping surfaces for cats.
1. To Express Affection
Cats kneading their owners take it as a means to express their love and affection to them. It is the way they say that how much it loves you. You might feel the hurt from all the scratching it does on your lap, but you must also feel that it is your cat’s way of expressing her love to you showing that it enjoys your company.
To avoid the hurt from cat kneading and scratching on your lap, you can place on your lap a thick towel or a blanket before the cat attempts to start its favorite kneading activity. This way the kneading would be fun for both you and your cat without keeping you in pain or discomfort.
2. To Re-Live Childhood
Cats also knead on you to replay its sweet days of kitten life. In their infancy, baby cats knead their mom’s tummies to stimulate the production of milk. This habit can be seen extended to the adulthood. Your lap seems to the cat just like the soft, warm belly of its mother. Therefore, to relive those cherished moments it kneads on your lap to replay the moments of its happy childhood.
3. To Safeguard Their Belonging
Being territorial creatures, cats have the tendency to claim and safeguard their belongings by marking them with the scent of their paws or putting a scratch mark on them. That can include anything from a sofa to a mat or even you!
4. The Heat Period
You might notice that female cats knead more often than male cats. There is a scientific reason behind it. Female cats knead their paws before they prepare themselves to go into “estrus” – the heat period. It acts as a signal to invite male cats for mating.
Kneading Might Be Bothersome
Continuous kneading on your lap by your affectionate pet cat can offend you at times. It might be a serious hassle if it’s a routine affair. You can gently pick your cat and put it somewhere else but make sure it’s a soft surface. But in no way punish your kitty for the kneading activity. It’s an activity which is instinctive and something it substantially finds pleasure in.
Among the various amusing and unique behavioral traits of cats, kneading seems to top the chart. The above discussions are provided to sort out some big reasons for why do cats knead although there can be some more other unique reasons for such behavior.
Cat kneading is instinctive, and you like it or not, you can’t get rid of it. You should be able to accept it gracefully and make necessary arrangements to make this natural, natural and instinctive cat behavior fun and comfortable.