Why Do Cats Knead? Reasons Behind Cat Kneading

Why Do Cats Knead?: The cats are fascinating animals, although, as pets, their reputation is not the best. However, those who have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with cats know that these animals are affectionate.

Usually, one of the attitudes that owners take to show affection is when cats are kneading. But let’s dwell on this point, is it really a show of affection?

Why Do Cats Knead

Kneading is the movement that cats make with their front paws on a large number of surfaces, including furniture, floors, tables, and why not? About people. So, below we will look at this behavior more closely.


Reasons on Why Do Cats Knead

If you have a pet cat and if you want to know Why Do Cats Knead on blankets or any other soft things, then simply have a look from us and know about the reasons on cat kneading.


You will be surprised to find that this behavior, linked to the affection and affinity that the animal feels with its owner, is in fact a reflex act that cats have inherited from their wild ancestors. If you have a question on why do cats knead, then know about Kneading, which is a common gesture for most cats, even those of today, who keep it due to the short domestication process they have undergone.

However, the motivation for this behavior is not so much due to instinct, but to memory. When cats are newborn kittens, they learn that by pressing the mother’s nipple with their paws, breastfeeding becomes easier. So they associate this movement with the pleasant sensation of receiving food. Now, even if this gesture does not serve him to feed himself, the memory of that sensation persists through his memory and the animal associates the gesture of kneading with positive sensations, such as that of the tranquility and comfort of the mother’s nest.

why do cats knead blankets

It is exactly the same mechanism as positive stimulus training, in which animals associate movement with sensation or food. Therefore, cats knead when relaxed and serene, in response to the learned stimulus.

Ancestral Heritage

An important part of the scientific community claims that it is a movement inherited from the ancient ancestors of the domestic cat. In nature, cats had to test the ground to see if they could cling to it, for example, in case they would have to jump from rock to rock or branch.


Cats mark their territory in many different ways, they don’t just urinate. In fact, in their body, there are glands that secrete a substance that they use to leave their smell all over the place. Much of the physical contact of the cat, with objects, people or animals, is due to processes of marking the territory.

When cats knead on the floor or scratch surfaces, they are sending olfactory signals, through pheromones, and visual signals (by means of scratching) to other cats, to warn them that they are entering their territory.

Just like us humans, who look for the position to be comfortable, cats usually knead on furniture, pillows or clothes, to adjust them and make them stay softer, to sleep on them.

Demonstrations of Affection

According to the above, cats do not knead to show affection. However, when they do this on a person, it is a show of trust.

A cat usually doesn’t make any contact with someone they don’t trust or think will harm them. Cats are usually very “demanding” when it comes to allowing someone (or other animals) to approach them. By following their instincts, they don’t go and put themselves in dangerous situations and they don’t sleep next to someone who could pose a potential threat.

why do cats knead their owners

So, if your cat is kneading or sleeping next to you (or on top of you) it means that he doesn’t perceive you as a threat, he knows you won’t hurt him and, therefore, he can relax next to you .

If he starts kneading while you are stroking him, it means that he is feeling relaxed and that he is experiencing a very pleasant sensation.

A Kind Of Exercise

When you take a look at cats’ kneading movements, it mimics another weak behavior every cat parent knows. Kneading is almost like scratching, although the latter has another main function.

Regardless, pruning is likely just another method of getting cats to work by allowing them to extend their limbs. Some pet parents believe that the why do cats knead is a behavior of cats is the method of loosening the joints and muscles soon after awakening.

Territorial Marking

We all know dogs are territorial, but when it comes to the sense of possession, not many species of creatures can come close to your cat’s territorial nature. This is just one of the most likely explanations for why do cats knead.

cat kneading

Inside each soft pad of these cats are scent glands. These create and secrete pheromone-like materials that function as territorial indicators. If a cat presses its paws off one face, it also presses on those scent glands. What happens next is that the compounds drain that are left on the surface.

Therefore, when you visit your cat by kneading a specific cushion or surface, it is likely to leave its mark on that surface. Your feline friend is allowing other cats to understand that this surface is their own or part of their feline land.

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With this may be you have got an idea on cat kneading. So maybe you have cleared about why do cats knead. For more information on why do cats knead simply check our CatsBuz website.

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