Adopted a kitten lately? Congratulations! There’s a strong chance that your tiny pet will have you wrapped around that little paw in no time. Kittens are beyond cute. They can also be a handful. One thing, in particular, you may find yourself dealing with often for the first few months is little Fluffy’s habit of kneading, or making biscuits, as some people call it. What’s that all about? A vet takes a look at this cute—and somewhat painful—habit below.
Kneading is probably one of your least favorite kitty behaviors. After all, those little claws are sharp! Why do cats knead? It may help to know that your fuzzy buddy isn’t really trying to hurt you. It’s actually an instinctive behavior. When Fluffy was a nursing kitten, she kneaded to help stimulate milk flow. (This may spark a new-found respect for momma felines, who could have several tiny balls of fur kneading her at once!)
Kneading In Adults
That explains kneading in baby cats, but what about adults? Why is Fluffy still making biscuits long after she’s fully grown? She does it because she sees you as a second ‘parent,’ so to speak. It’s not nursing at this point so much as engaging in behaviors that she associates with feeling safe and loved. You may have noticed that your kitty is probably purring and looking quite happy when she kneads. Love hurts!
Memories from when she was a kitten may not be the only reason Fluffy kneads. It may surprise you to hear that cats do have scent glands in their paws. So your kitty may be marking you as ‘hers.’ There’s also a chance that your feline pal may just like how it feels to stretch her little toes.
Breaking The Habit
Please don’t punish Fluffy for kneading. After all, she doesn’t realize it hurts you. Also, this could make her feel uneasy or unloved. Try picking up her paw and gently rubbing it instead. That may still trigger feelings of love and happiness in her, without the accompanying ouchies. And as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. It may be easier to just put a blanket or towel on your lap before letting your furball get comfy.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your local animal clinic, we’re here to help with all of your cat care ‘kneads.’