Cats are mysterious. Your furry friend may have quirks that are unique to them. In fact, your cat communicates in many different ways, including its behavior. If you’re a new kitten or cat owner you may find yourself asking, “Why do cats knead?” To help answer this question, we sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Sarah Nold to learn more about this popular cat behavior and what your furry friend may be trying to tell you.
Why do cats knead?
Cats and kittens minds of their own, and may do things that you don’t understand. Kneading is just one of those bizarre behaviors. Nold breaks down why a cat may knead.
“Kneading is usually a calming behavior that cats do when they are relaxed. In most cases, kneading is considered normal cat behavior. Scratching and kneading are necessary for claw and pad maintenance. Also, kneading is a form of marking and one of the ways that a cat may communicate.”
Some cats and kittens may like to knead. Your cat may choose not to knead and that’s okay. All furry friends communicate differently and your new kitten may show you they’re relaxed in another way.
When does cat kneading become a
In most cases, kneading is a form of expression for your cat. Also, it may be another way for your cat to let you know how they feel. However, it may be an indication of something more going on. Nold weighs in on the when kneading may become a concern.
“Kneading can vary in intensity. In some cases, it can progress to aggression. If your cat is not causing harm, it may be best to just ignore them. If the behavior seems excessive contact your veterinarian to determine if a behavior consult or medical tests are recommended. Also, this behavior may lead to underlying urinary issues or abdominal pain although your cat may show other signs of illness.”
At what age do cats start kneading?
A behavior can start at any time. A cat or kitten may choose to express this behavior whenever they’d like regardless of age. Naturally, kittens and cats alike may take to kneading as a way to express their happiness, a way to relax or de-stress from their environment.
The benefits of your cat kneading
Your cat or kitten needs the chance to relax in your home. Consider giving your furry friend a place where they can retreat too and rest if they need it. For example, items like cat-friendly furniture and toys may help provide enrichment and de-stress your furry friend. Also, a blanket and a scratch mat may help your pet with their claws and paws. By providing different types of enrichment it may help your pet deal with any environmental stressors they may be feeling.
Why do cats knead? They may be
trying to relax or communicate
Your cat’s quirks and behaviors are unique. Chances are your cat may like to express their happiness and relaxation in many different ways, like kneading. But by notating behavior changes, talking to your veterinarian, and providing enrichment around your home, your best friend can achieve optimum wellness.
Does your kitten or cat knead? Tell
us in the comments below.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided, among many others.