Why Do Cats Knead?

Grey cat kneading, toe beans

Kneading soft objects like blankets and toys is just one of the things you can find in the book of “strange things cats do.” Also known as “making biscuits,” kneading is a pretty common activity among felines, although not all cats do it. If you’ve noticed your cat rhythmically pushing his paws in and out against blankets, pillows, or even your lap, then your cat is definitely a “kneader.”

You may not have given this a single thought until now but, is it okay for cats to knead?


Is It Normal for Cats to Knead?

This forward and backward shifting motion among cats, most commonly referred to as “kneading,” is a normal activity among kittens and adult felines alike. Most cats knead and purr when they feel content napping beside you or getting petted, while other cats do it for no clear reason at all.

Experts say that there is nothing to worry about if your furry friend exhibits kneading behavior. Kneading with claws out, however, may indicate discomfort due to untrimmed nails or an unsatisfied urge to hunt. Make sure to keep your cat active and groomed to get rid of any irritation he might be feeling, which may have caused his frequent claws-out kneading.

Why Your Cat Kneads

Kneading is an instinctive trait among cats which means it is completely normal for them to do so as it is wired in their very nature. But if you want to get to know your cats more, you can start by understanding the reasons behind why they knead. Here are the popular theories from experts:

They are just stretching out their muscles.

Like humans, cats can feel sore from napping or playing too much; hence, they knead to stretch out their paws and keep limber.

They are marking what is theirs.

Felines safeguard their turf by leaving their scent, and they do this by activating the scent glands on their paws and mark surfaces, including you, by kneading on it.


They are developing a resting spot.

Like dogs turning in circles before lying down to sleep, cats knead cushions and beds to create a soft sleeping place.

They are attracting possible mates.

Female cats may knead, purr, and stretch to signal male cats that they may approach for potential mating.
While these theories provide some enlightenment as to why cats knead, they certainly can’t deliver all possible reasons behind this adorable behavior among cats. After all, cats are notorious as mysterious creatures. Still, no matter what the reason behind their kneading is, you can rest easy knowing that it is a natural, instinctual, and common cat behavior—no need to worry.

Grey cat kneading, toe beans