Why Do Cats Knead?


Very often, cat owners notice that a cat kneads a blanket, a bed or a human body with its paws. Sometimes this happens before they are about to go to bed or after a meal. Not every owner understands why cats knead and purr. And there are at least eight different reasons for this, which can tell a lot about the nature of the animal. Read more about why it happens and what effect it has on a person – below. After that, you will begin to appreciate the cat’s attention more and even learn to enjoy the benefits of such a massage.

The main reasons for this behavior

The answer to the question why cats knead and purr is asked by many cat owners. First of all, it should be noted that cats have a developed sense of touch, and their soft paws and whiskers expand the perception of the world. On the pads of the cat’s paws there are many receptors and glands that secrete special enzymes. At the same time, cats trample the blanket, release their claws and accompany the process with a purr. This movement is called the “milk step”, it indicates the disposition and attachment to a person or an object. There are several main reasons why cats knead with their front paws:

  • Dump. The cat experiences stress or shock, for example when going to the doctor or cutting its claws. If the cat is offended or upset, it can trample the furniture, releasing its claws. This process is accompanied by the release of endorphins, it is impossible to interfere with the “discharge”, because the animal can bite;
  • Memories of kittens. Cats knead (blanket or a person) because of early age instincts. As kittens do after birth, massage the mother’s belly to stimulate milk production. By the way, feeding time for all cats is associated with goodness, warmth and comfort. For this reason, when it feels satiated and secure, the animal begins to knead soft objects with its paws;
  • Preparation for sleep. One of the instincts of cats is to prepare a place to sleep. In their natural environment, they have to crush grass and leaves, creating a place for themselves to rest. Experts note that this instinct is retained in many animals. This is why some even draw the pillow towards them;
  • Heat period. During periods of heat, cats can also perform similar actions. Heat is when the cat begins to stomp on the blanket, arch its back, and purr. At this time, it is better not to disturb the animal, this condition will pass in a few weeks or during gestation;
  • Expression of feelings. The cat kneads (a person’s body or clothes), expressing affection, love. Additionally, pets can “treat” disease states or check on a person’s health in this way;
  • Hunting instinct. Some cats knead, obeying their old instincts. Because previously, living in a natural environment, animals checked the surface with their paws so that nothing interfered;
  • Territory. Cats can mark their territory because they have glands on their paws that secrete special enzymes. It should be noted that such actions are more characteristic of the male sex.

It is not difficult to determine the exact reason for the behavior of an animal, it is enough to observe it and listen to its own feelings.

How should a person act?

If a cat kneads, it means it shows its love, care and affection. The cat comes to share its energy and absorb all the negative. Therefore, it is not worth punishing, shouting or beating animals for such manifestations. Otherwise, the animal will close up, become aggressive and may even begin to take revenge.

If the cat kneads, purrs and releases its claws at the same time, you should pay attention to their length. In addition, owners can resort to other tricks:

  • Caress the animal’s paws from above, which will make it hide its claws;
  • Place a thick blanket or pillow under the cat’s paws;
  • When stroking the cat on the head, lay it on its side or on its back, which will modify the force of the impact;
  • Distract your cat’s attention with a soft toy.

In any case, such actions, especially the gentle massage and purring of a cat, testify to his deep feelings, affection and love for a person. But special attention deserves the theory of zoologists that cats are means to cure a person.

By the way, the purring of a cat contributes to the thickening of bones, which they use to heal fractures. This is due to the fact that the frequency of sound oscillations is 20-50 Hz, which has a good effect on the condition of bone tissue.

Due to the positive effects of cat purring and massage, animals are used to treat schizophrenia, cerebral palsy and autism.

What you cannot do when a cat kneads

  • Scolding and yelling;
  • Beating and using physical violence;
  • Cut nails too short
  • Limit the animal’s impulses to show tenderness and attention;
  • Interrupt the cat if she is in heat.

It is necessary to appreciate the impulses of the animal such as the desire to knead and massage the owner. Because there are a number of understandable reasons for this, starting with innate instincts and ending with a state of arousal during estrus. It is not necessary to limit such behavior, and especially not to scold and beat the cat. Just use a few simple tricks and trim the claws. In addition, massage with the paws will help relieve tension, relieve pain and even certain diseases. Not to mention the charge of positive emotions.


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