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Kneading In Kitties

January 17, 2022
Have you adopted a kitten recently? Congratulations! Your furry little pet will likely have you wrapped around that little paw in no time. Kittens are beyond cute. They can also be a bit of a handful. Over the next few months, one thing you may find yourself dealing with quite often is little Fluffy’s habit of kneading, or making biscuits, as it’s sometimes called. Why does she do that? A vet looks into this cute—and somewhat painful—habit below.

Basics

As far as favorite kitty behaviors go, kneading probably isn’t one of them. After all, those little claws are sharp! So why do cats knead? You can take comfort in knowing that your fuzzy buddy isn’t trying to hurt you on purpose. This is actually an instinctive behavior. Actually, kneading helped to stimulate milk flow when Fluffy was a nursing kitten. (This may spark a whole new respect for momma cats, who likely had several tiny fur balls kneading her at once!)

Kneading In Adults

That explains why baby cats knead, but what about adults? Why is Fluffy still into biscuit-making long after she’s grown up? Amazingly, this behavior means that your feline buddy views you as a second ‘parent,’ so to speak. She isn’t nursing at this point so much as engaging in behaviors that show how she feels safe and loved. You may have noticed that your kitty probably looks quite happy and purrs when she kneads. Love hurts!

Other Pawsibilities

Memories of kittenhood may not be the only reason Fluffy still kneads. Cats do have scent glands in their paws, so your kitty may be marking you as ‘hers.’ It’s also possible that your feline pal may just like stretching her little toes because it feels good.

Breaking The Habit

Please don’t ever punish Fluffy for kneading! She has no idea that it hurts you. Plus, this could make her feel uneasy or unloved. Instead, try picking up her paw and gently rubbing it. That may still trigger that feeling of happiness and love, without causing the ouchies. Of course, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Meaning, it be easiest to just put a blanket or towel on your lap before letting your furball settle in. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if ever we can help. As your local animal clinic, we are here to help with all of your cat care ‘kneads.’
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