Why Do Cats Knead

A tabby cat kneading on a soft cream bed.

Cats are well known for their love of kneading. If you have ever owned a cat, you would have seen this behaviour from one time or another. It can be bizarre to see your pet’s paws move in rapid or slow motion on the blanket, pillow, and other soft surfaces around the house. While it may seem like an odd habit, there is actually a purpose behind this behaviour!

This blog post will discuss why some cats knead blankets and how you can make them happy by providing them with their favourite surface to do so on!

What Is Cat Kneading?

Kneading is where a cat extends its front paws and claws, then pulls them back towards its body. It is a behaviour that many cat owners have seen at one time or another, and it can be bizarre to see your pet’s paws in rapid motion on the blanket (or whatever soft surface they’re kneading).

While kneading may seem like an odd habit, here are some reasons why cats do this activity.

Kneading Is A Form Of Self-Soothing For Cats

One of the main reasons for cats kneading is to calm themselves. The act of kneading releases endorphins which help to soothe the cat and make them feel happy, contented or sleepy (depending on how long they have been doing it).

Kneading is a way for cats to reduce their stress and anxiety levels. The repetitive motion of kneading can relax the cat and help them to feel more secure and content.

Cats Knead Because They Are Marking Their Territory

Cats knead to release their scent glands onto the blanket. This is a way for them to mark their territory and keep other cats away from that area of your home or furniture. It is important not to let this behaviour go unchecked as you may find yourself with multiple cat owners fighting over who gets what space or where they can lay down.

Kittens Knead To Stimulate Milk From Their Mothers

It’s believed that the act of kneading may stimulate milk production in nursing mothers, which could be why kittens often begin to do it before they’re even born.

Kneading helps release oxytocin which is a hormone that triggers lactation in cats and other mammals, as well as having an effect on moods such as relieving stress or anxiety levels (as mentioned above).

Mothering cats will also knead when they are nursing their kittens. It is a way for them to stimulate milk production and keep the kittens from falling asleep while feeding. And with its rhythmic movement, kneading massages them gently at intervals during feedings, encouraging let-down reflexes so there will be less tension built up within those tissues before each suckling episode begins.

When Do Cats Learn To Knead?

Cats are born with the instinct to knead, and they start doing it as soon their paws come in contact with a surface. Kittens may not be able or strong enough for this behaviour until after weaning from nursing at about four weeks old.

This behaviour can be seen in many other mammals too – such as dogs who often scratch or chew at things like blankets on furniture because it feels good against their teeth (and they know that you’ll get mad if your favourite blanket gets ruined!).

Cats have an excellent sense of touch, so we think maybe there might just something about how the fabric moves under their paws or could even feel really lovely?

Why Do Cats Knead Blankets?

Cats knead blankets to help remove the natural oils from their paws and mark territory.

The cat’s kneading action is an instinctual behaviour that they exhibit when feeling content, happy or sleepy. Kneading also leaves behind pheromones which help make your blanket smell like “home” in order of cats’ territorial marking habits as well!

Why Do Cats Knead Their Owners?

Cats knead their owners as a way of showing affection. By kneading their owners, they leave behind their scent and mark the owner as belonging to them. Cats may also be drawn towards blankets, so if you are always snuggled on the sofa in a blanket, you might find your cat joining you and kneading on the blanket.

A Tabby cat kneading a cream bed

Male Cat Kneading Behaviour

Kneading is not limited to female cats; male cats will also knead their owners and other soft things. Male cats get all the same benefits from kneading as female cats do.

What Surfaces Do Cats Lile To Knead On?

Cats prefer to knead on surfaces that are soft and have a lot of give.

Cats also prefer to knead on surfaces with their owner’s scent, so they will likely be drawn towards the blanket you always use or your bed sheets if those smell like home too!

Why Do Cats Knead Before Laying Down?

Cats knead before laying down because it is a way of stretching their muscles and getting comfortable before laying down.

The cat will often knead with its front paws, but sometimes they may use the back ones as well or even both at once for extra comfort!

Why Do Cats Knead And Purr?

Cats Knead and purr because it is a way of showing affection. By kneading their owners, they leave behind the cat’s scent and mark them as belonging to that particular owner.

Cats purr for many different reasons, but one thing in common with all cats when using this behaviour is calming themselves down or even other people around! The vibrations from these sounds have been shown by studies on humans being calmed, just like how we would pet our pets if feeling stressed out ourselves too.

Cats Kneading From Hunger

A cat may also be kneading because they feel hungry or need a drink of water, so it is essential for owners not just assume that the behaviour means their pet wants attention when there could something else going on!

Cats Kneading To Help Digestion:

The act of kneading also helps with digestion by massaging food down into your cat’s stomach through its abdominal muscles as well so it doesn’t have any trouble digestions things like hairballs that may form if there isn’t enough stimulation going on inside his belly.”

How To Stop My Cat Kneading?

You can try spraying the blanket with a citrus-scented spray or using one of those cat repellent sprays to discourage this behaviour. You could also place scratching posts near where your cats like laying down, and they will often stop kneading when there is an alternative for them that provides more stimulation than just lying on something soft all day long!

When Should You Stop Your Cat Kneading?

It would be best to stop your cat from kneading when your cat starts tiring the activity. Cats will often stop kneading when there is an alternative that provides more stimulation than just lying on something soft all day long!
To discourage this behaviour, you can try spraying your blanket with a citrus-scented spray or using one cat repellent sprays.

Why Do Cats Knead Conclusion:

In conclusion, cats knead mainly to comfort themselves. They do this by kneading their paws into the material and then releasing pressure. This relieves tension in a cat’s muscles; claws are sharp, so they can help remove dirt or debris from under them as well!

Both kittens and mothering cats knead to assist in delivering milk to their kittens and stimulating them for digestion.

Cats who have been separated at birth may do this too because it is what feels natural, so that could explain why your cat does when you pet him/her after work hours – he misses his momma kitty while she was away all day long 🙁

Cats will often stop when there is an alternative that provides more stimulation than just lying on something soft all day long!


Rochelle is a self-claimed crazy cat lady and proud cat mum to Owlie! She has owned, rescued, and fostered cats throughout her whole life. Rochelle created Cats On My Mind as a hub for likeminded cat parents to get all the information they will ever need to give their fur babies their best life!

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