Sometimes cats astound us with behaviors that seem to defy reason or logic. However, of all their natural and instinctive traits, kneading can be particularly confusing (or amusing) – and it endears cats to owners everywhere. So, why do cats knead?
Rhythmic pawing on a cushy surface may appear strange, but it’s your cat’s way of finding his or her sweet spot. Often accompanied with a zen-like or hypnotic expression, kneading may also serve one (or both) of the following purposes:
- It makes a place more comfortable to hunker down for a nap. In the wild, cats have to pat down areas of grass or brush before resting. Akin to fluffing up your pillow before bedtime, this behavior has trickled down to domestic cats.
- It effectively marks territory. Your cat is instinctively territorial, and his or her paws are assets when claiming what “belongs” to him or her.
Other Reasons Cats Knead
During kittenhood, cats knead to trigger the flow of their mother’s milk. Like the rooting instinct of a human newborn, kneading has a positive, direct outcome. Repeated throughout life, this behavior becomes linked to happy feelings, comfort, and wellbeing. In short, cats knead because it’s soothing.
Now that you have some background about why cats knead, it’s time to address how it can affect you and your home. Some cats knead with all four paws while others never bring out the claws; therefore, watch out if you’re the cushy target of your cat’s kneading. Simply place a blanket or pillow on your lap, and let the love fest begin!
As for your furniture, bedding, and clothing, you may want to strategically place towels or old blankets on major target areas. Also keep up on regular nail trims.
Need to Knead
Kneading and purring are just two behaviors that can perplex owners. While we don’t have conclusive evidence explaining exactly why cats knead, we do appreciate this natural trait in our feline friends.
If you have any questions about why cats knead, our team is always happy to help – so happy, we might even start kneading ourselves!