Friday, February 17, 2012

Why Do Cats Knead?

A cat kneading will slowly shift its weight from one front leg to the other, spreading the toes on the paw it's about to stand on, then closing the toes again once its weight is on the foot.

Its claws may also dig into the surface it's kneading on as the toes close, as you'll no doubt know only too well if you've ever had a cat do this when it's sitting on you!

The cat may stand, sit or lie on its stomach while it's kneading. It's usually purring and appears relaxed, sometimes with its eyes half shut.

To understand the reason for this behavior, you have to go back in Kitty's mind to when he was a little kitten, feeding on his mother's milk. To help express the milk, the kitten pushes his mother's skin on either side of her nipple using the exact same kneading behavior.

A kitten nursing on its mother's milk feels safe, happy and contented. Therefore, when an adult cat shows this behavior, it's showing happiness, pleasure and contentment - hence it will often knead on its favorite human's lap (ouch!), or on a soft blanket, cuddly toy, favorite bed etc.


  1. I have had cats in my life and they kneaded on my legs all the time...gosh that can hurt since i dont de-claw....but I enjoyed knowing they liked me and felt comfy...but I also had a cat that would bring me birds, rabbits, baby rabbits...and another cat that brought me a fish once!

  2. My kitty woke me up for almost a year, sucking on my ear and kneading my head! At first I would start dreaming of vampires then I would wake up to him doing that! Funny little guy. Missed his mommy I suppose. Lisa from the Nature Jam Giveaway!


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