Kneading, the rhythmic pushing of their paws in and out at alternating times, is a very common cat behavior. It is also known as “making biscuits” because it looks like the cat is kneading dough! Cats love to knead on soft surfaces such as blankets, cushions, or your lap! Understanding why cats perform this action can be confusing, so let’s see some of the reasons why cats knead! 

To Make a Nest

One theory for why cats knead is that it has been passed down from their wild ancestors. Wild cats paw at leaves or grass to create nests for themselves and their kittens to sleep in. This process also allowed wild cats to check for predators, prey, or anything else hidden in the area. So, kneading may just be a natural habit from feline history!

To Stretch Their Muscles

Cats love to work out all the kinks in their body after they nap. Just like humans, stretching out those sore spots feels great! Kneading is a great way for your cat to keep themselves limber until their next nap!

To Mark Their Territory

Cats are naturally territorial animals and they love to keep their territory safe. Leaving their scent on their belongings by kneading is one of the ways they do so! The act of kneading activates the scent glands in their paws which makes the item they are kneading theirs! 

When Going Into Heat

Female cats might knead if they are going into heat or if they are ready to mate with male cats. Other behaviors may be displayed along with kneading such as being overly vocal, displaying more affection, or begging to go outside. 

What To Do If Your Cat Is Kneading Too Much

Sometimes your cat may be kneading a bit too much, digging its claws into things such as couch cushions or your legs. Try not to punish them for doing this, because it is a natural behavior and they might be showing how much they love you! However, if their claws are too painful to you or harmful to your home, try putting a soft barrier between them and the items they are kneading. You can also try distracting your cat from kneading with a toy, or use Pet Notify’s Pet Tasks to keep up on regular nail trimming.

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