Has anyone recently adopted a kitten? That’s great news! Your tiny pet will likely have you wrapped around her little paw in no time. Kittens are beyond cute. They can also be a bit of a handful. Fluffy’s habit of kneading, or making biscuits, as it’s sometimes called is one thing you may find yourself dealing with quite a bit over the next few months. What’s that all about? A vet looks into this cute—and somewhat painful—habit below.
When it comes to kitty behaviors, kneading probably isn’t anyone’s favorite. After all, those little claws are sharp! So why do cats knead? Just in case you were wondering, Fluffy isn’t deliberately trying to hurt you. Rather, this is actually an instinctive behavior. When Fluffy was still nursing, kneading helped stimulate milk flow. (This may warrant a new-found respect for momma cats, who might have several tiny balls of fur kneading her at the same time!)
Well, that helps explain kneading in baby cats. What about adults? Why is a full-grown cat still making biscuits? This actually means that your feline buddy sees you as a second ‘parent.’ She’s exhibiting behaviors that she associates with feeling loved and safe, so she isn’t nursing at this point. You may have noticed that your kitty probably looks quite happy and purrs when she kneads. Love hurts!
Memories of early kittenhood may not be the only reason Fluffy still kneads. Cats do have scent glands in their paws, so your kitty may be marking you as ‘hers,’ or marking her territory, so to speak. There’s also the possibility that your feline pal may just enjoy the feeling of stretching her little toes.
Kneading is something you should never punish Fluffy for. She doesn’t realize it hurts you. Plus, this could make her feel unloved or uneasy. Instead, try picking up her paw and rubbing it gently. That may still make her feel happy and loved without you feeling the ouchies. Of course, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. This means, it may just be easier to put a blanket or towel on your lap before letting your furball get comfortable.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if ever we can be of help. As your local animal clinic, we are here to help with all of your cat care ‘kneads.’