Ever wondered why your cat knead softly, especially when he’s happy and content? Here are five possible reasons why cats knead, for domestic and feral cats.
Kittenhood memories lead to kneading Kittens knead mother cat’s nipple to stimulate the flow of milk. These are memories of comfort, the safety of being near the protective mother, the warmth from the mother’s body, and the feeling of being loved by the mother and the littermates. Just like humans are nostalgic about their childhood, cats can have fond early memories too. And they repeat the motion they associate with love and happiness the way humans hug and smile because we were hugged and smiled at during childhood.
Getting ready for nap time In the wild, cats knead the earth and fallen leaves to create a comfortable spot to sleep on, a makeshift blanket. When cats are calm, they get sleepy. This kind of behavior stems from an evolutionary trait originating from the jungle era. When there are no predators in sight, you relax. It’s safer to sleep when there’s no lurking danger. That’s why cats knead when you pet them, because they feel calm and soothed, so the cat gets sleepy, and cats love to sleep so much.
Leaving their scent to claim their territory This is MY sofa, MY human. Back off, other cats and creatures.
The sensation of soft fabric Cats love velvety or soft material. Just like we love petting Persian cats because of the silky texture of their fur, cats enjoy the feeling, too. That’s why cats often knead blankets or pillows.
The rhythmic nature of kneading is soothing The gentle, repeatable motion that doesn’t require too much energy, that a cat can do while staying in the same warm, comfortable place. They don’t have to move their whole body, just the claws. It’s like a feline lullaby.
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