Have you ever seen your cat knead? Cats make a motion, affectionately referred to as “making biscuits,” where they use their paws to push down upon soft materials, like pillows, blankets and your lap. Some kitties extend their claws as they push in and sometimes it can hurt. Here's all you need to know about cat kneading:
An Instinctual Trait
Experts aren't exactly sure why cats knead, but they do have a few theories, one of which may be a link to their wild ancestors. In the wild, cats sometimes need to push down grass or leaves to make a soft, comfy bed — just like your domestic cat kneads her blanket to get ready for the perfect nap.
The Comfort of a Mother's Love
Newborn kittens knead on their mother as they nurse to help the milk flow. It is thought that cats carry this behavior into adulthood because it provides a sense of security and comfort similar to that of nestling into their moms.
Can You Smell That Smell?
Cats are very territorial creatures, and one way they ward off other cats from their territory is by using their scent glands to mark it. Since kneading also activates scent glands on the bottoms of their paws, some believe that cats knead to help claim their territory.
Namaste, Feline Friend
Cats may also knead to stretch out their shoulders before (or after) a long cat nap. It's sort of like a modified downward dog, don't you think?
Does Love Hurt?
Sometimes your kitty's nails hurt when she kneads on your lap. Make sure she has a scratching post to maintain her claws. If you trim her claws, be sure to keep to a set schedule. Also, be sure to give your kitty plenty of love and affection. Some experts believe that when a cat kneads a lot, it means she may be seeking extra attention.
Cat kneading is a uniquely feline behavior. You should learn to embrace it — kneading is completely normal!
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