Why Do Cats Knead? | PetFirst
Why Do Cats Knead?
Pet Care & Health

Why Do Cats Knead?

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
10 months ago

Cats begin kneading as young kittens, before their eyes even open, as kneading comes instinctively.

Kittens quickly learn, by kneading, that the pressure from this encourages milk flow which allows them to eat. Of course, that doesn’t exactly explain why cats continue to knead into adulthood.

Kneading in Adult Cats

Adult cats will not get anything to eat out of kneading items around the house such as blankets and pillows. So why do adult cats often knead?

One of the main reasons for kneading is comfort. Cats remember kneading as a kitten and the comfort and security kneading brought to them as young kittens. Kneading as an adult cat can bring those comforting memories and security back

When cats knead, you may also notice them purring. This tells us kneading brings a sense of well-being, relaxation, and happiness. 

There is no way to know if your cat will knead forever, but the likelihood is extremely high. Since this behavior is instinctive, it is commonly carried on throughout your cat’s life and senior years.

Kneading and Marking Territory 

Have you ever noticed your cat kneading the area he or she is about to lie down on?

This kneading action is common as your cat is making their bed prior to laying down. Cat’s do this to make the area they have chosen to sleep as comfortable as possible.

At the same time, your cat is also marking its territory using scent glands in the paws. Other animals that come around these spaces have the ability to detect this scent.

Relaxing with Your Kneading Cat

If you notice your cat kneading you, it’s common that he or she is telling you that they love you. When your cat kneads on you, he or she is leaving the scent from the glands of their paws on you to let everyone else know you are hers and only hers.

Of course, the kneading isn’t always the most comfortable act for us as our cats can have nails that can dig through our skin (and tear up other household items like clothing). 

If your kitty doesn’t put his or her claws away while kneading, remember not to panic or punish them. Simply place a thick sweater, blanket, or towel on yourself when holding your cat so the kneading can continue if you would like your cat to continue to bond and relax with you.

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets. PetFirst Pet Insurance1 can help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1  has cat and dog insurance policies2 as well as Routine Care Coverage2 to fit every budget. Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today.


1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.
2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.

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