Has anyone recently adopted a kitten? Congratulations! Your tiny new pet will have you wrapped around that little paw before you know it. Kittens are beyond cute. And they can also be a bit of a handful. Something you may find yourself dealing with quite a bit over the next few months is little Fluffy’s habit of kneading, or making biscuits, as it is sometimes called. What’s that about? In this post, a vet talks about this cute—and somewhat painful—habit.
Kneading probably isn’t your favorite kitty behavior. Those little claws are sharp! So why do cats knead? For those you who are wondering, your fuzzy buddy isn’t really trying to hurt you. This is actually an instinctive behavior. As a nursing kitten, Fluffy kneaded to help stimulate milk flow. (This may give you a new-found respect for momma cats, who could have a whole litter of tiny fur balls kneading her at once!)
Kneading In Adults
That explains kneading in baby cats. But why do adult cats do it? Why is Fluffy still making biscuits long after she’s full grown? This means that your feline pal sees you as a second ‘parent,’ so to speak. She’s not nursing at this point so much as behaving in a way that says she feels loved and safe. You’ve probably noticed that your kitty looks quite happy and purrs when she kneads. Love hurts!
Fluffy may not be kneading just because it reminds her of her of younger days. Cats do have scent glands in their paws, so your kitty may be marking you as her territory. There’s also a chance that stretching her little toes just feels good to your feline pal.
Breaking The Habit
You should never punish Fluffy for kneading. For one thing, she doesn’t know that it hurts you. Plus, punishment could make her feel uneasy or unloved. It’s best to try picking up her paw and rubbing it gently instead. That may still trigger those feelings of love and happiness, without the accompanying ouchies. Then again, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. It may just be easier to lay a towel or blanket on your lap before letting your little kitty get comfy.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of assistance. As your local animal clinic, we’re here to help with all of your cat care ‘kneads.’