I'm just curious: why do cats "knead" things? My cat is always "kneading" the blankets on my bed, I'm curious as to why she does this.
Stacey from Orem, UT
Kneading shows happiness and contentment - your cat has adopted YOU!
It is similiar to when a kitten kneads its mother for milk. The cat is showing complete trust in you, like a kitten does to its mother.
I was told that it is from 'kitten-hood' - they would knead their mother's belly to encourage the milk to flow. Landing on a soft, warm item as an adult triggers the kneading.
Kneading begins when kittens are born and when they start feeding from their mothers, It helps to release the milk. It continues on as a sign of comfort when they get older. Another reason they knead is to 'soften' whatever they may be about to lie on.Okay, it might already be soft, a blanket, your bed.. whatever.. but cats have primal instincts.. so virtually have instinctive collective memory of knowing how to try and soften a harder bed, the ground.. a pile of leaves, etc.
My grey cat has just finished kneading the quilt on my bed as I write!
Purring is often linked to kneading, with the same origin.
I asked a vet years ago the same thing. He said it is an instinct from birth, 'kneading' the mother cat for milk. It's the only reason I've ever heard.
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