Why does my cat do this?

Everytime I start petting my cat he’ll stretch his paws. Its sort of hard to explain, but basically he’ll just stretch his fingers so their far apart. Now I thought that my cat was just weird, and was the only one of his kind that did this. Recently though I got a small white kitten, and she does the same paw stretching when I pet her. Why do my cats do this?

What your cat is doing is “kneading.” I think it goes back to when he was a kitten, and he would knead his paws when sucking, in order to stimulate the mother’s nipple. So now he does it when experiencing something pleasurable.

Umm what exactly are you petting?

mmmhhh, sophomore humor.

Yes, it’s called kneading, or kneading dough, or making biscuits. Human infants (at least the breastfed ones) will do this, too. It’s instinct. As someone who nursed her daughter, I can tell you that a baby kneading at the breast helps the mother relax, and the milk “lets down”, in other words, it flows easily.

Some cats, when they’re particularly happy and at peace with the world, will allow their tongues to stick out a bit. Again, it’s a holdover from nursing. Not all cats do this, but if you see a cat with about an eighth of an inch of tongue sticking out, you’re looking at a happy kitty.

While we’re on the subject of weird cat behaviors, all cats regard it as their duty and privilege to yak at least half a dozen times a day. Preferably on something that’s expensive and difficult to clean.

Nothing worse than stepping, barefooted, on a fresh hairball, in the dark. :frowning:

Speaking of strange cat behaviors, my cat is 12 years old and has been declawed since she was a kitten. But she still “sharpens” her non-existent claws. :smiley:

ref to the yaking thing.
my cat is a bit of a street rake, she spends all day out then comes in when I get home from work. Rushes up to the food bowl scoffs the food quicker than I can get it in there and then sometimes goes in to the hall way and honks all the stuff up and then looks at me as if to say ‘what do you think of that, I can do more if you like’. Plus she has got a bad habit of weeing on my bed that has led to me getting quite pissed off.

PS people who shoot cats with air guns need to be beaten to death with a sock full of wet sand.

i’ve had three cats in my life and none of them had a yaking habit that i’m aware of, at least indoors. a friend had a cat that used to yak several times a day on the carpet. she was feeding the cat ‘science diet’. when she switched to purina, the cat quit puking.

I’ve had many cats, and nearly all of them would get their paws going if they were happy enough. None of the cats I’ve had were ever related by birth (as far as I know), but the younger ones always learned ‘habits’ from the older ones - favourite places to sharpen claws, favourite games, etc. I even had a cat that never purred for her first 3 years, and then, when I moved in with someone with an older cat who purred if you even looked at him, my cat began to purr long and loud.

One of the animal lifestyle/vet type shows I was watching lately said cats knead things because they have scent glands in their paws and they are marking things as their property. It also said they usually do this before lying down.
I have no idea whether it is actually true or not.

Yeah my cats also seem to enjoy vomiting all over the place. They eat the plants on my terrace which causes them to vomit. After the first couple of times I thought my cat would know better, but he keeps doing it. I asked a vet, and he said that in the wild cats usually eat plants, and then vomit to get the little bones of their prey and such out of their system after eating.

Try being woken up by a cat having a hairball on your bed in the middle of the night.

My cat Fluffy, who died in August :frowning: used to knead always before laying down. It was funny, when she’d do it on an afghan-her claws would get stuck!

Noel circles before she lies down and Misty just plops right down.

Well…one good turn deserves another!

From the OP I didn’t get the opinion that the cats were kneading so much as stretching. Kinda like if someone is nice enough to massage your back you may arch a little bit and stretch.

My cats do the stretch thing (including spreading their fingers) usually as a prelude to wanting to get pet. They’ll walk up to me, stick their paws far forward (thus lowering their front half) and wait for the petting to start.

What I’ve never known is why cats raise their ass in the air as you pet back towards the rear-end? I’d say this may be a sexual thing but males and females do it (presumably a male should have no need to raise its ass in the air to make it more inviting). Jokes aside anyone know what this behavior is for?

My cat kneads also. Another strange behavior of hers occurs after she fetches any piece of balled-up paper I throw. She’ll bring the paper back, but if I leave a drink on the floor, she’ll drop the balled-up paper into my glass! It’s the most annoying thing. Can’t tell you how many times when I wasn’t paying attention (just blindly throwing the paper after she brings it back) and my lips smack up against a Diet-Coke-soaked-balled-up piece of paper.

Jeff42, my babies do that too - I don’t know if it’s a throwback to kittenhood or what.

Lynn Bodoni, one of my three sticks her tongue out a lot - it’s so cute! - her pretty pink tongue just pokes out of her mouth a tiny bit, and contrasts so nicely with her dark furry face. I just thought she was weird - it never occurred to me that it was related to nursing, even though she does do it when she is especially happy and relaxed. She is also the one who kneads the most - jumps on my belly at bedtime every night and starts doing the pattycakes and her silent purrs for 15 minutes or so. Then she flops down for a snooze.

More weirdness: my boy cat likes to balance all four paws on the 2-inch-square top of my bedpost. Then he just stands there for a while. My other girl cat goes into the same spot in the closet every single day after breakfast and lurks. She’s not using the closet as a litter box; she’s just lurking, like a vampire.

Yes, cats are very weird. :slight_smile:

When I die I want to come back as a cat. they are so cool.
Fluff has to have about six naps during the day (if she is in) just to have anuf energy for her big sleep at night.

I’ve heard of it referred to as “cattitude”.

My cat Bo really gets going with his paws–I am really surprised all my bed coverings aren’t in tatters. I keep his claws trimmed, but sometimes they get a bit sharp. He would prefer to sleep on top of me, but he is heavy and I make him get off and sleep alongside me. He will lay facing me and he has to touch my face with his paws, all the while still kneading. He loves it when I give him a “paw massage”.

Yeah Jeff thats what I was talking about they strech their fingers apart. They nead as well, but I thought I’d ask about that later. Yeah my male cat also raises his bottom up when better. I just think he’s very confused, and traumatized(sp?) by the operation. :wink:

My problem with my cats has always been that they enjoy sleeping with me too much. Has anyone ever noticed that the amount of space a cat takes up in a bed remains constant (as a percentage). When I finally managed to upgrade my twin bed to a queen, Eyambre (our younger cat) will manage to position himself so I have about the same space to sleep in as I did when he slept with me in the twin… Basically I have to sleep across the top of the bed while the damn cat hogs the covers.

Tried to move a 20 lb main coon, almost needed a skin graft.
“let the sleeping cat lie”

I’ve heard this before and dont really disagree but…

I had the pleasure of rasing a one day old cat to adulthood. She was bottle fed and never tried to “knead” the bottle. She also didn’t do this action when she was happy or being pet. She also didn’t seem to purr much.

When she got to be about 3-4 months old all of a sudden she started kneading. Not long after, purring very loud.

So, I’m not 100% sure it’s related to breast feeding.