Why do cats knead? In this article I present a series of reasons that motivate your cat to love or massage you .
Cats are curious creatures, with many unique feline traits and behaviors – the way they snuggle up for a nap, for example, or their signature grooming and grooming rituals after enjoying a meal.
Cat kneading is another characteristic behavior of cats . Kneading is a movement that cats make by pushing in and out with their paws, alternating between left and right. Some cats knead with their claws fully retracted, while others extend their claws as they move forward and retract when they step back.
So why does my cat knead me ?
How cats knead or massage
Kneading sometimes colloquially ” h acer cookies “ , because movement resembles a baker knead dough. Kneading is almost always done on surfaces like a blanket , duvet, another cat, or even your lap.
You will often find that your cat kneads and bites, or kneads you and drools by relaxing his jaw .
It is not uncommon for a cat to be in a near trance state while kneading in a steady, rhythmic motion.
What does it mean for your cat to love you?
I list five possible reasons that your cat has to massage you :
1. To mark your belongings
Cats are territorial creatures , and this would be a way to mark their “belongings . ” By kneading their paws on a surface (yes, including you), they are activating the scent glands located on the pads of their paws, marking that surface as their own.
Cats have scent glands on the pads on the bottom of their legs. When they knead, some of their “unique scent” is released onto the surface being kneaded, and that scent serves as a kind of territorial marker for any unfamiliar cats that may appear. So when your cat is kneading you, he is not only telling you that he feels comfortable and safe, but he is also claiming you as his own.
2. The cats tell us that their heat is coming
If you have a cat, you will have found that sometimes she kneads you and gets excited . Female cats are known to knead just prior to being receptive to males, commonly referred to as “going into heat . ” The kneading acts as a signal to the males that she is willing and able to mate.
As the estrous cycle progresses, the cat will make plaintive meows that turn into loud and persistent howls that are meant to get the attention of a male cat. She can also walk nonstop, mark areas of your home with urine, become extremely affectionate, and adopt the mating position (head down, hindquarters raised) when you pet her.
These natural behaviors cannot be discouraged, and the best way to calm a cat in heat and eliminate associated symptoms is to spay your cat.
3. By association with the lactation season
Cats begin to knead from birth , even before they can move on their own, while feeding on their mother. A nursing kitten instinctively kneads to stimulate the production of breast milk.
Although softening a surface does not produce milk, adult cats always associate the kneading motion with the comforting well-being of lactation.
Newborn kittens instinctively know how to knead the mother’s womb to get milk through her nipples. Cats that were separated or weaned from their mothers too early will continue to knead as adults , most felines knead for a lifetime, regardless of whether they were weaned early.
4. Your cat returns your affection
If your cat is snuggling up and kneading your lap while you pet him, he will return your affection and tell you that he loves you .
Unfortunately, this can be quite painful, as the happier you are, the harder it is to avoid your sharp nails. Try placing something thick and soft between the feline and your lap, or gently place it on its back and stroke its belly if it gets too intense. However, don’t punish your cat for this behavior.
To better ensure the comfort of both you and your cat, make a habit of keeping her nails trimmed with cat clippers or purchase nail protectors to cover your cat’s nails.
5. To create a comfortable place to sleep
It dates back to when our house cats were wild, so they liked to lie on soft, comfortable surfaces to sleep or give birth to their young . By kneading tall grass or leaves, cats could achieve a comfortable place to lie down, and possibly also to scan the ground for unwanted visitors under the foliage.
What to do when the cat kneads too often
If your cat kneads you frequently, it is a good reason to keep those cat’s claws trimmed to avoid scratching or snagging your clothes. You can also keep a folded towel next to his favorite chair and use it to protect your lap while your cat massages you with his paws.
Kneading is a behavior that , when accompanied by purring and general calm, indicates that a cat is comfortable in its environment.
Cats retain this behavior from their nursing days . In feral cats, rearing is often the only part of their lives in which they are related to other individuals of their own species and age. They also instinctively remember the sense of security they had when they were cared for as babies.
Kittens knead their mother’s womb for milk, but adult cats knead when a situation makes them feel comfortable, safe, and happy. A soft blanket, a favorite place, or even a human they especially like can trigger this behavior. If your cat kneads you, that means that you are special to him.
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