How sweet and cozy is it when your kitty decides to give you a massage? You’re kicked back in your favorite chair with a soft, furry bundle of love curled up on your lap, gently kneading your leg or chest with a soft rhythmic motion. The more Fluffy gets into it, the more painful it can be if she decides to start incorporating her sharp claws into the motion. I know it can be so sweet and feel like a great bonding experience until you suddenly get a rude awakening with a sharp jab of the claws. Have you ever wondered why your cat kneads you?
As a kitten it’s purely instinctual for them to knead their mama to help stimulate milk production. Perhaps as a cat gets older it simply finds it soothing because its associated with the comfort of nursing when she was a kitten. It seems like a perfectly natural thing to want to feel comforted even as an adult, right?
It Can Hurt
You know it can hurt, but don’t get angry with your cat or punish her. She truly doesn’t realize that she’s hurting you. If your kitty does get too rough when she’s kneading you, try putting something soft between you and the cat such as a blanket or pillow. Cats love to knead soft things like that. Another option may be to trim your cat’s nails or alternatively, you can purchase nail guards such as Soft Paws. I used to put them on my cat, Lily. While she wasn’t crazy about getting her nails done, the soft covers really did help to protect me as well as the furniture.
Yes, cats love to stretch, it feels good and helps them stay limber, especially after a nap. Just like with people, stretching really loosens up the muscles and works out the kinks. Sometimes kneading just naturally goes along with stretching.
Sometimes cats like to knead on blankets and stuff because they’re getting ready to lie down and take a nap. It’s their way of making their bed more comfy.
You know that dogs like to mark their territory, well cats do too. One of the ways to protect what belongs to them is by scent marking, whether it’s a certain area or even you. Kneading activates the scent glands inside the soft pads of their paws, so in that way they are showing that an item (or person) belongs to them.
If your female cat is not spayed, she has another reason to be kneading…”going into heat.” Kneading lets male cats know that she is “hot to trot.” Frankly, unless you are a responsible breeder, there is no reason that you shouldn’t have your cat spayed. Have you ever been around a cat in heat? It’s not a fun thing, if you know what I mean. The sounds, the behavior of a cat in heat is not a pretty sight.
The above are some of the most common reasons that a cat might knead, but cats are amazing creatures with many unique personality traits, so it’s impossible to know for sure just why your cat might knead you. But no matter what the reason, kneading is a fairly common behavior in cats and it’s perfectly natural and nothing to worry about.
Do you have a cat that likes to knead you or other things? Please share your story. Thanks!