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What Does It Mean When A Cat Kneads?

It is always a good idea to have pets like dog and cat at home. However, what does it mean when a cat kneads? That is an interesting question because cats are interesting creatures having many uniquely feline behaviors and traits which are easily recognized. For instance, the way they tightly curl up to take a nap, and the grooming rituals they engage in after having enjoyed a meal.


Why Do Cats Knead?

Kneading is a common feline behavior, this is the motion made by cats by using their paws to push in and out, alternating between left and right. Some people refer to kneading as making biscuits, because it is a motion which resembles a baker kneading dough. Some cats use the claws to knead completely retracted, while there are some which always extend their claws while pushing in and retracting as they pull back.

When a cat kneads, contented purring always accompanies it most of the time, and as the cat relaxes its jaw, sometimes even by drooling, and it is common for the cat to be in a trance-like state as it is knead with a rhythmic, steady motion. Now, What does it mean when a cat kneads? It is very easy to answer this question.

What Does It Mean When A Cat Kneads?


Territory Marking
Cats usually knead when marking a territory. Cats are animals which are territorial, and always mark their boundaries by using scent markers. As a way of proclamation of its territory, a cat can even get rid of a unique scent left behind by another cat.

Interested in Mating
Cats also knead when they are interested in mating. In female cats, it is a process which is accompanied by restlessness, rubbing against the owner trying to draw the attention of the mate. Male cats also knead, and this can be observed when digging in the claws.

Milk Production
Kittens can knead the teat of the mother to stimulate the production of milk, thus increasing the milk flow. The kneading of the teat of the mother is accompanied by a happy and relaxed purring. In addition to the relaxation sign, one can also associate kneading with a sense of trust and affection, especially when the cats are kneading their paws on the skin of humans.

Nesting Behavior

Cats often want to soften material by scratching, kneading their paws for building a resting place.

Female cats often knead when preparing to go into heat; this is a signal to males that they are interested and are able to mate. During the estrus cycle, cats make plaintive meows which escalate quickly into persistent, loud yowls which are an effort to have the males attention.

She may also mark the areas of your house with urine, pace restlessly, become very affectionate, and take up the mating position (raised hindquarters with head low) when you are petting her.


These are natural behaviors which are impossible to discourage, and the best way of eliminating the symptoms associated with the estrus cycle of the female is to always spray the cat.

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