Cats are cute, mysterious creatures, and kneading is an instinctual behavior in cats that first shows up in their infancy. Cats knead on their mother’s breast to get milk out of them, just as a human baby would suckle onto their mother’s breasts. It leads to positive reinforcement in their brain to encourage them to keep kneading while in their infancy. However, there is no distinction as to Why do cats Knead their paws when they are in their adulthood.
What is Cat Kneading?
Wondering what is cat kneading, and why does my cat knead me? When a cat kneads, they push its paws alternately against something to make a rhythmic motion. They often saw this behavior in cats when cats are happy and content, such as being petted or napping in a sunny spot. Some people believe that cats knead to mark their territory with their scent, but they are more likely to do it simply because it feels good!
Why Do Cats Knead on you?
Cats knead throughout their life, which does not make sense if we were to look into the fact that they would do it to get milk. As such, they are reasons for why do cats knead on you.
#1 Kneading to Show Affection
Kneading is a way for cats to say that they like to be around. Kittens use this as a form of communication with other cats to let them know of each other’s friendship. However, they knead more often to their owners when they are around them. Or when you have been around your cat for a long time with no affection for you, their first sign of Kneading is saying they like you.
#2 Kneading Encourages Calm and Comfort
As mentioned earlier, newborn kittens knead to get milk from their mothers, and that process of kneading and getting food as a reward makes an association of kneading equals comfort in their heads. But the reverse is also true; cats would knead because they feel calm and comfortable. That is why you see cats knead at home but hardly when you have taken them to a new place.
#3 Kneading to Bond
Kneading works as a multifaceted means of communicating for cats, and one of the ways they knead is to get closer to their owners. Your cat would knead when they are on your lap, on top of you while you sleep, or lying next to you. They do that because they feel calm and comfortable being around you.
How to Stop Cat from Kneading?
While cat kneading is a positive experience for them and, in many ways, a means to show their affection. Having claws pierce your skin out of nowhere when you sleep or tear up sheets might be a positive experience for them, but it will turn out to be a hassle for you. So there are times you wouldn’t want them to knead on you. So, follow the below steps for how to stop cat from kneading.
#1 Redirect the Behavior
Cats knead in soft spots to knead. It is a rewarding experience, but it might tear up your sheets. So, avoiding this, it is better to encourage them to do it in places or on top of clothes that would not tear when they knead. When it comes to them doing it on you, make sure you do it in a way that does not discourage them.
#2 Use Nail Caps
Cat nail caps are an excellent alternative to have your cat stop tearing clothes or piercing your skin by mistake. So combat that, you can put nail caps on your cat claws and have them knead at their leisure.
#3 Please do not Declaw
Cat Declawing isn’t what it sounds like. When your cat gets declawed, it removes the front bone of its paws, equivalent to having a finger cut to the knuckle. Not only is it as painful as it sounds, but it also leaves your declaw cat mentally scarred.
#4 Let your Cat Know When it Hurts
Just like how dogs like to lick to show their affection, cats knead to express their love. While the notion is heartwarming and comforting, claws can hurt. You have to do that subtly, and in a cat language they understand. When the Kneading starts to hurt, make a high pitch sound at that very moment to let your cat know of the pain. It will send the message that Kneading is hurting you.
Kneading is a cute notion and often a great delight to see. But the thick claws of your cats can be hurtful to the place around. Clipping cat nails is also an option; they might hate the experience initially, but the process will be done quickly once they get used to it.