Cat kneading: Some Popular Theories

cat kneading some popular theories

Cat kneading is considered as a show of affection and care that she shows towards the owner. Though, you might be stuck with a question in your mind- why do cats knead? Most often, cats knead before going in their curled-up position. Also, as a cat owner, you might be curious to know- will your car show the same affection with the outsiders as well.

There have been numerous efforts to compare cat kneading to that of dog’s kneading. Usually, dogs snooze before turning into their kneading position. This blog post features some important aspects related to cat kneading.

What is a cat kneading?

Cat kneading is a common behavior observed in domestic cats. Cats usually knead on soft surfaces, especially pillows, blankets, carpets and even on people. The process features your feline pushing in and out with her front paws.

We still do not have a straight answer to why cats knead; however, there are several interesting hypotheses around the same.

Cats usually exhibit kneading when they are about to take a nap or slipping into a relaxing position.

Some theories behind the cat kneading

 It comes as a residuum among cats. 

Kittens usually knead on their mothers to stimulate milk production. So why do cats knead on you even when they are adult or post the nursing age. The most common theory is that cats usually associate the process of kneading to that of nursing. This is why it kneads on you, especially when they are resting on your lap and when you are wearing something soft like a woolen sweatshirt or shawl.

Cats enjoy relaxing in their favorite space which is the owner’s lap. Henceforth, a cat owner would have felt cat kneading on their lap.

A gesture of love & affection:

You can observe that your cat kneads on your when she is on your lap and petting you. Kneading is considered to be another way for cats to return the love and affection that you are showering on her.

Unfortunately, cat kneading can hurt at times, especially the happier she is as she tries to dig in deep with those claws to express gratitude and happiness. This is where using a blanket or soft barrier between your lap and cat can come in handy.

Territorial marking

Cat kneading is also associated with territorial marking. Cats are territorial creatures and they love to safeguard their turf. The soft tissues or skin beneath their paws houses scent glands and cats use these to mark their territory including you.

Hormones. Most often, people come to this opinion. Though, experts also reveal facts that showcase that the female kitten enjoys kneading more when she is in heat or in an estrus state. Female cat kneading during this period is considered as a signal to male cats that she is ready to mate


Cat kneading can be one of the enjoyable and unique traits among felines. However, ensure that you take the necessary precautions like trimming her claws regularly so that you and your furry friend can equally enjoy it.