Cat kneading, also known as kneading the dough or making bisquits, is instinctive and it starts when they’re kittens. Kittens will knead their mother’s breasts to stimulate the release of milk. Some adult cats will continue kneading when they’re feeling relaxed, loved and content. If your cat is kneading, it probably means you’re a good cat parent! Let’s talk about 4 common reasons why cats knead and some issues you may be having with your cat kneading.
4 Reasons Why Cats Knead
Cats will knead on blankets, your lap, other soft surfaces or other pets. Some common reasons why cats knead are:
1. They’re nursing. Kittens will knead their mother’s breasts to induce milk production. This is sometimes accompanied by drooling, both as kittens and as adults.
2. They’re getting comfortable. Cats will knead if they’re getting their bed, blanket (or your lap!) ready to lay down on. Kneading also helps your cat to calm down and reduce stress.
3. They’re content. Cats will knead when you’re petting them or if they’re just near or on you. It’s certainly a sign of love, affection and happiness if your cat is kneading when they’re with you!
4. They’re marking their territory. Cats will leave their scent all over the house and on anything they see as “theirs.” This is an instinctive habit stemming from the fact that cats in the wild need to “claim” everything. Cats secret scent from the glands on their paws, so kneading on things, or on you, is a way they’re saying, “Mine!”
Cats Scratching While Kneading
Ouch! If your cat has their claws out and is scratching while kneading, you can do a few things to help this:
Keep your cat’s nails trimmed. If you need help with this, read my article, How to Cut a Cat’s Nails at Home (includes video).
Have blankets around that are ok for them to knead and scratch on. Put one on your lap if your cat likes to sit on your lap while kneading.
Provide toys as an alternative for your cat to release stress. You can also give your cat a kneading pillow or a kneading mat. Amazon has a lot of items for cats to knead with. Check them out here.
Why Do Cats Drool While Kneading?
It’s most likely that your cat is drooling when kneading because kneading stems from nursing when they’re kittens. It makes sense that kneading triggers salivation, even as adults.
Cats also drool sometimes when they’re extremely happy and content. If your cat is kneading you, purring and drooling all that the same time, it’s probably a sign that they’re quite relaxed and happy to be with you.
Why Do Cats Suck on Blankets While Kneading?
If your cat also sucks on blankets while kneading, it could be that they were taken from their mother too soon. Some breeds, like Siamese cats, are more prone to this. This can also mean that your cat is anxious or stressed.
What if My Cat Kneads Excessively?
If your cat is kneading excessively, they may be suffering from anxiety. Most cats are quite sensitive and can get stressed out or anxious about even small things. If you’ve moved recently, if you’ve added a pet or another person to the household, if a person or pet has left the household – these are things that can stress cats out. They can even get stressed about simple things like moving their food bowls or litter box.
For help with cat stress and anxiety, read my articles (each includes a video):
Cat Stress Relievers – 10 Things That Stress Your Cat Out!
What is Cat Anxiety? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
For More Information
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