Remnant Nursing Behavior
One of the most common theories for kneading is that it is a remnant of cats’ nursing behavior. Kittens knead their mother’s stomach to encourage milk production, and this habit tends to carry over into adulthood. Cats may knead to express affection or to console themselves.
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It’s also likely that cats knead in order to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands in their paw pads which release their unique odor when they knead a surface. This behavior is a way of claiming their space and making it feel like home.
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Cats may also knead in order to stretch their muscles. Kneading is a great way to loosen up before taking a nap or playing. It’s also a way for cats to settle in and make themselves comfortable.
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Finally, cats may knead as a sign of love and appreciation. Cats are social animals and kneading is their way of expressing their feelings for their owners. If your cat kneads you, it is a sign that they are content and happy.
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Whatever the cause, pet owners may appreciate the lovely action of cats kneading. Although the reason cats knead may remain a mystery, it is certain that cats love the habit, which pet owners may also appreciate.