Why do cats knead people as soon as they sit down? A friend of mine said it was to make the resting place soft but my cat will knead my stomach for a good 5 mins (and let me tell you, it’s plenty soft) but fall alseep directly on concrete without making any attempt to soften it up. Another friend told me it’s what kittens do to their mother’s to get milk so my cat is actually trying to get me to feed her but since she does it to the couch I fail to see how that could be the right answer. So why does she do it?
I think it’s just a kitten behavior that some cats never grow out of. They do knead their mothers for milk. Their mothers were a source of comfort and safety and happiness, so I think the behavior just sort of sticks for some cats. Most cats only do it when they are relaxed and happy–unlike purring which some cats will also do when they are very nervous or stressed.
(I have a sucker. If there’s a string or a corner or something of a blanket available, she’ll suck on it, purring and kneading all the while.)
Here is a good article about the “kneadiness” of cats.
My cat loves to knead quilts and other soft things that have interesting textures. Never seen him knead a human, though.
It always cracks me up; I wish he’d do it more.
A friend’s cat always kneads one of the throw pillows on the sofa for a good twenty minutes before settling down on it. She keeps her eyes closed the whole time. It must feel good.
My friend refers to this behavior as “making biscuits.”
[Barbara Streisand] …are the luckiest kitties… [/BS]
My cat kneads knees from time to time, but she goes nuts over a blue mink-style blanket I’ve got. She purrs at the top of her…Purr motor, closes her eyes and goes to town, kneading it for ages before she settles down. I really think it is a kitten/comfort behaviour that they don’t grow out of.
My cat not only kneads, but also purrs, suckles, and drools. He’s ridiculous.
I’d like it a lot more if he didn’t extend his claws into my tender flesh when he kneads.
My understanding is that cats kneed to break the grass into a softer sleeping surface. THis carried over from wild cats to the (semi) dmesticated ones.
When I was a kid, we had a cat that staked claim on an old coat of my mother’s made of fabric with raised dots. The cat would suckle these dots, apparently remembering nursing. ‘Making dough’ or ‘making bread’ would always be part of the reminiscing.
My wiseacre mom christened it, “My Mother the Coat” (an allusion to the famous bad sitcom “My Mother the Car”).
My black cat takes it to extremes. If I have a nipple showing when he gets in the mood he will go for it. Let me tell ya, that’ll wake you from a dead sleep! If my nips not uncovered he will try to nurse on my eyebrow. I keep a water filled spray bottle by the bed to chase him off. He will do that kneading thing for as long as I let him and for him it’s gotta include trying to lick my lips while standing on my chest at 4: AM.
Somebody told me that weaning them too early can cause this behavior.
Almost all of my eight cats do it in one form or another. Lt. Dax, who was given to me when she was less than 48 hours old, is the only one who never does it at all. Mr. Spock will even do it in the air while laying on his back for a belly rub.