Behavior Mod.

Making Biscuits: Why Do Cats Knead with Their Claws?

Surely you’ve seen your cat pick out several spots around the house and start kneading her paws as if she’s making biscuits. (Perhaps she even kneaded on your flesh!) Cats can become very engrossed with this deep-rooted need to knead. But why do they really do this?

The Most Common Reasons Cats Knead

1. Emotional security.
A cat’s yearning to knead can be traced back to her kittenhood. In order for a kitten to get milk, she has to nurse the mother cat. Kneading her mom’s mammary glands stimulates the life-sustaining milk to flow more easily. The movements are automatic, and because the action earns a reward, the kitten eventually transfers the kneading behavior to other things and places in anticipation of more pleasant things to come.

Because kneading primarily happens during times of happiness, you’ll notice the kneading (or as I call it, “making biscuits”) stops if she becomes angry or frightened.

2. Territorial marking.
While your cat may be kneading to make her chosen corner as comfortable as possible, there actually is another reason for such kneading behavior. Cats have scent glands in their paw pads near the claw base, and every cat gives off its own distinctive smell.

While humans cannot smell this unique feline scent, other cats and pets definitely can. This particular scent acts as a marker to indicate where kitty has been or what she chooses to claim as her own. Once your cat has found her place and is ready to define the borders of her territory, she will most likely paw and maybe even run her claws across the spot or item as she leaves those signature marks.

Now that you know why kitty kneads with her paws, you must realize how special you actually are for her. The next time your little fluffy feline friend happily curls up in your leg or lap, just think how flattering it must be to be her chosen one.

Not only has your cat picked your lap to be the exact spot where she would most like to be, but she also has decided to let the whole animal realm know that you just belong to her.

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Image of a cat coming out of the Litter-Robot automated litter box. Caption reads: Are you tired of scooping cat poop? Try Litter-Robot.


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