why do cats knead

Why Do Cats Knead?

In cat behavior, cat cpr, cat first aid, Cats, pet care professional, Pet Industry, pet sitter by Cara Armour4 Comments

In My House, We Call It Making Muffins

Kneading – the action cats make where they use their front paws as if they are kneading a ball of dough; can seem like a sweet gesture but is it?

My husband has a theory that our cat is testing us for weaknesses. She seems to always come over and knead on his belly, almost as if to point out that it’s soft and she is going to make it softer for him. It makes him self-conscious and all I can do is laugh that the cat has brought forth such insecurity in my husband! I guess in a way she really is testing him for weakness.

Just like with my previous post about Neosporin being safe for pets, why cats knead is another popular google search topic. Depending on the year, it has ranked as high as #3 but always lingers in the top 10.

So Why Do Cats Need to Knead?

I’m not certain its necessarily a need, although when kittens it certainly helps with milk production. That is when the behavior is most obvious and instinctual. Even before their little eyes open, kittens find their way to the milk bar and the act of kneading their paws against their mother’s mammaries gets the good stuff going.

So why does my 10 yr old cat still do this?

There seems to be several answers to this question; to get your attention, prep a landing spot for a nap, marking territory with the scent glands in their feet, leftover behavior from kitten-hood, or it just feels darn good.

For whatever reason, my cat kneads I can tell you she enjoys it. I know I am personifying her look here but there really appears to be pleasure in her face as she massages away at my husband’s belly.

*I have included a video of my cat Kit, kneading her favorite incognito blanket. My husband would not authorize a video of her doing it to him.


  1. Hmm I believe these reasons. When my cats were alive they would jump up on my , start to knead and then plop down on my torso and go to sleep. I never understood why but I guess they were claiming their territory and wanted to snuggle. Love the video clip by the way. Cute.

  2. Many cats will “make biscuits” when rubbed in their own, special places…believe it shows their intense pleasure…as was the case when feeding on milk when kittens.

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