Cat Adoption, Cat Behavior, Cat Questions, Cats

7 Reasons: Why Does My Cat Knead Me?


The cats knead on things they see around them. It is an instinct among cats. They do it slowly moving their paws, front to back in slow motions. You would have seen your kitty kneading your pillows, couches, and glass coffee tables.

Till now, there are no accepted theories why these feline creatures knead whatever they see including humans. But, many probable theories linger about the common habit of cats. One of the exciting features of cats is that all cats don’t follow the same pattern of kneading, even though, it is a common habit among the cats.


Reason 1: Old Habit

The cats, even when they grow up to be big cats, retain the old habit of kneading which they imbibe in them during their kitten stage. The kittens knead their moms to increase the milk supply in their mother cat.

Many of the grown-up cats feel happy to knead the caretakers because they get the same love. It is even more exciting yet refreshing to know that in addition to massage, the cats, sometimes, suck the thing they squeeze.


Reason 2: To Activate the Sense

Another hypothesis or the probable cause for kneading among kittens is they understand the surroundings when they research. We all know that their sense of smell is incredible. They get familiarized with the place through the scent of that particular area.

Their main aim is to categorize the area as their very own area. For this purpose, cats make a mark over them. By kneading, they activate the sense of smell in their palms.


Reason 3: Affection

One of the practical reasons for kneading is because these cute creatures love you a lot. They clasp your legs or arms tightly and knead it with one of their fins. When you tickle or pat them, they feel so comfortable and do the same back to you.

They are expressing their affection. When these creatures get excited, they scratch you with their nails, which will irritate your skin. If they climb on your lap and do this act, place something soft in your lap to avoid the sharp nails of your cat. Otherwise, it will pain a lot. Don’t restrict your cat from doing this. Or mete out punishment to your cat. Use nail clippers to cut your cat’s nail.


Reason 4: As Part of the Play

The practice of kneading is one type of games for your kitty. When they wake up from their snooze, they need to stretch their palms and legs. They love to be active until they get ready for the next rest.

Probably, kneading is an act of inviting you to play with your kitty. You would have often seen your cat climbing up your shoulders to settle down comfortably on them. If it pains, gently asks them to get down from your shoulders. They find it very amusing.


Reason 5: To Know the Place

The cats knead to find out whether the place they have chosen to settle down to give birth is comfortable or not. They also sense the presence of predators hiding among the bushes or leaves to devour them by doing this act. The feline creatures escape the predators camouflaging in the bushes quietly.


Reason 6: Heat Stage

By kneading their paws, they make the tomcats understand that they are in the heat stage. These cats go into heat stage every six months. When they are in estrus stage, the female cats invite the male cats to mate.


Reason 7: To Convey Message

Another probable reason may be they are conveying the message that it has been long since you have gifted her with something new. Maybe they need a big treat, or perhaps they are asking for any particular thing. Never treat your cat harshly for scratching or squeezing your thighs out of affection.


Is There Something I Should Do When My Kitty Kneads Me?

When your kitty kneads your skin, understand that she does out of love and affection. So gently push your kitty’s hand aside, every time, she does that. Push your kitty’s paw aside to discourage her from continuing this behavior.

If you regularly remove the kitty’s nail, be sure not to cut the skin of the cat. There will be lots of nerves and blood vessels at the end of each finger.


How to Discourage Squeezing?

Another excellent way to curb your pet from squeezing your skin is to distract her. Make her lie down to avoid painful scratches or to start playing with her for some time. When you play with her, she will be happy and contented. When they rub your skin, they will be in a state of hypnotism. But, never punish your cat, even unintentionally, for this behavior.

You have to impart lessons to your cat to make her know that kneading is a bad habit. This habit has been passed on to them by their ancestors who used to live in forests. There they use this to ensure that they haven’t trespassed into their enemy territory. They can help themselves when they sense the place using their palms.

This instinct is nothing wrong because their ancestors used it to find their prey. The pet cats don’t have to go out and fetch food. But still, they have the same habit as their counterparts who live in the woods. This prey drive in them is a practice. It is not something which they learn after training. It is an imbibed character.



In short, the habit of kneading is imbibed in them and is an innate character of these feline creatures. There is no clear cut reason for kneading habit in cats. There are only probable assumptions.

It may be due to affection to you. Or it may be due to the hunting habit in cats. The kittens who separate from their mom at a very early stage will display such a practice. It might also happen that they need some time to enjoy when they are awake.

When they need to warm up their bodies, they squeeze the floor to stretch their bodies. Moreover, it is a pervasive habit among pets. Never be harsh with them when they knead your body.

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