What is Kneading?
Most cat owners will recognise the kneading motion which a cat makes with their paws. Repeatedly pushing and pulling their paws in and out of a soft area or object, such as a blanket, bed, or your lap.
Many cats will do this just with their front two paws, whilst others will use all four. Some just use the pads of their feet, and others like to get their claws involved too!
But why do cat’s do this, and particularly why do they do it to their owners?
Kneading starts young
Many cats start this kneading behaviour from a very early age as the motion helps to stimulate their mother’s milk production. It is thought that this is then carried on into adulthood as an act associated with comfort and reward, which is why you will also find cats often purr whilst they are kneading.
Not only does your cat purring and kneading whilst sat on your lap show comfort and contentment, but they may also be marking you as being part of their family. Cat’s have scent glands in their paws which they use to mark territory and help create familiarity.
If you have a cat which uses it claws whilst kneading, it is important not to punish them. Even though the clawing motion may be painful, your cat is showing affection, not aggression. Instead try to encourage them to knead against a blanket or thicker clothing which you could place between yourself and your pet’s claws.
If you think that your cat’s claws are getting too long and may need clipping, or you are concerned about your pet’s behaviour, feel free to get in touch for advice. I can offer an in-home clipping service for your cat, as well as behavioural first aid services depending on your needs.