Why do cats knead? the age old mystery asked and answered

Whether you are the proud owner of a tiny kitten, or the loving parent to an adult cat, you’ve probably encountered one common yet quirky cat behavior – kneading. Kneading has always been known as this weird massage thing cats do for no apparent reason. Only there is a reason for everything and we’re here to answer the age old question – why do cats knead?

Why do cats knead?

Kneading has been attributed to several different causes. Here are the main ones.

Childhood comfort

Nursing kittens knead their mamma’s belly while nursing to draw some more milk out. And since nursing is a positive comforting memory, some kittens and even adult cats can’t seem break the habit and continue kneading in some capacity. It is said to calm them down and make them feel safe. On that note many believe that kneading is strongly connected to premature whining.

Marking their territory

As a cat owner you probably already know that cats are territorial creatures. How is that related to kneading? Well believe it or not cats have scent glands on their paws. /and by pressing their paws down on different surfaces (including you) they are essentially marking it as their own. Little cuties.

 A show of affection

It’s hard to imagine since it can actually be very painful, but kneading is also a sign of affection. Notice your kitty is kneading you the hardest when you’re having a cuddly moment. What can I say, love hearts.

Preparing for a nap

Notice your cat is kneading the most when they’re preparing for a nap. And just as the cat’s ancestors used to knead the grass to prepare a comfy spot to sleep in, so do cats. Only cats will do it on your pillow on blanket for some extra cush.

So which one is it?!

Well there’s no way to know for sure, it could very well be a combination. There is one thing we know for sure and that is that kneading is adorable! And if it hurts too much you can always clip your cat’s nails a little, Or you could just get them a kneading mat, apparently that’s a thing.

Related article: What’s the deal with cat chirping?