Why Do Cats Knead?

Photo of Karen Dell

Karen Dell

Senior Editor • Backyard Cat Enclosures

27 March 2018

Kneading, or making kitty biscuits, is a common and natural cat behaviour. Why do cats knead? Does your fur baby knead you, their cat bed or their fur-siblings? Let’s have a peek at the top 3 reasons for cat kneading here.

Kneading cat

  1. Your cat is kneading you to claim their territory

Every purr-ent knows that cats own people, not the other way around. Your cats uses kneading to stimulate their front paw scent glands and mark you as their territory. Once you’ve been kneaded you are theirs fur-ever, so enjoy your moggy massage from your feline overlord, hooman. Have a looky-loo at the other signs your cat loves you here.  

  1. Your cat is kneading to calm and comfort themselves

Kneading is calming and comforting for your pudda. This instinctual cat behaviour starts young, when a kitten will knead the mother cat’s tummy to stimulate milk flow. Carrying this into cat adulthood is not generally a problem if done in moderation. It's similar to when we hoomans chow down on our favourite comfort food or watch our most nostalgic Disney movie WELL into their 30s to feel comfy.. or so we’ve heard.  

  1. Your cat is kneading to prepare their sleeping spot

Does your cat knead more at night? They are preparing their cat nap spot for the purrfect kip! It’s a common sight to see your cat kneading their blanket, bed or wherever they plan to lay their adorable head. Wild cats knead areas of grass to create a softer area to have a rest, so your kitty is just doing what their ancestors have been doing for millenia.  

Some cats will integrate suckling behaviours into their kneading routine. If this becomes excessive, your cat may be stressed. Make sure you keep an eye on their behaviour and distract and re-direct any unwanted obsessions before they become a problem for your cat’s health.

All cats are clever critters and need mental and physical stimulation regardless of their activity level. Have a peek at our guide to keeping your kitty entertained here or make their day by giving them access to the wilds of the backyard with an outdoor cat enclosure. Find out how it’s done safely here.


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