Why Do Cats Knead?

cats kneadingIf you have ever noticed your cat treading an area of your home, making use of paws alternately and is seemingly in a trance, then your cat is “kneading”. Why do cats knead? Is this something that is intrinsic to cats? Plenty of factors are behind this odd habit. There are cats that like to knead beds, or blankets, or couches, and even their owner’s chests. There are cats that also like to knead their owners’ shoulders. What do studies really say about this? Why does a cat knead?

Why do cats knead things?

Cats have a habit of kneading. It is simply something that cats do. Owners of kittens may notice this when the kitten is only one day old. Kittens have a tendency to knead their mom’s belly as they try to get milk from their mom. As cats start to age, a lot of cats will continue to knead the couch, their owner’s chest, the air, rugs, as well as blankets. Why do cats knead blankets? Why do cats knead you? A lot of people – especially cat owners – would like to know. The answer to this is that it simply leaves cats happy and content to knead things, or their owner. Just as some of us have a tendency to do certain things as a result of contentment or happiness, cats operate in the same way as humans.

According to the Evolution theory…

Kneading is an action that follows a rhythm, and cats do this using both their right and left front paws. The action itself appears like one is slowly walking without moving forward, or like marching in place. An evolutionary perspective explains that this habit was developed by kittens, in order to facilitate their mom’s milk flow. At the same time, the action has to do with reassurance, a positive feeling from being able to get sustenance, with an outcome that leaves cats truly relaxed.

Kneading and cat owners

Some cats use their claws when they knead, while others do not. There are those that find it vital to knead using their claws, while other cats do not use their claws as much. If a cat is clawless or has been declawed, then kneading will not hurt a cat owner. In such situations, the action then becomes some form of therapy and interaction for the cat and the cat owner. A lot of cats also tend to make a purring sound when they knead, whether they are kneading their owner, the rug or something else. There are also cats that tend to close their eyes as they knead and purr, in the process showing pure contentment. When cats knead, it is not a good idea to interrupt them. This could leave them angered or annoyed.