Why Do Cats Kneading

Cats behavior can often be difficult to interpret. Kneading is one of the most common activities cats partake in: pushing their paws in and out against a soft surface. This begs the question: why do cats knead? Let's explore some possible reasons.

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.

See also: Reasons Why a Cat Bites Its Owner’s Feet and Legs

Marking Territory

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.

Read also: Why Do Cats Hate a Whistle Sound?

Stretching Out

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.

Good to know: Why Does My Cat Lick Me?

Showing Affection

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.

Oops: Why Does My Cat Fart All the Time?


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.

Reyus Mammadli/ author of the article

I have had pets since childhood: cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, parrots, aquarium fish and dogs (in the yard). Of course, I constantly encountered diseases of pets and treated them. Glad to be able to share my skills and experience, as well as advice on caring for and adapting these critters and birds.

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