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Published:May 8th, 2017 12:18 EST

Why Do Cats Knead?

By Robert Paul Reyes

"Not all cats knead, and they don`t all knead in the same way. Most cats only use their front paws, but some use all four; some kitties bring their claws out, and others don`t. A cat kneading at your lap might hurt, but your kitty doesn`t have any bad intentions.

Even when they`re too young for their eyes to open, kittens need to knead, says Katy Nelson, DVM, Virginia-based veterinarian and Freshpet ambassador. Nursing kitties push around when suckling to get their mother`s glands to release more milk, she says. No one is totally sure why the habit lasts through adulthood, but there are a few theories."

Reader`s Digest

I have two cats, and they both knead on the carpet, rugs, sofas, and on my belly and chest when I`m sleeping on the sofa.

Ebony weighs about 10 pounds, and she kneads my chest and belly with her claws out. She purrs with contentment as she`s poking me with her sharp claws; I usually let her knead for a while before I gently dump her on the floor.

Tico tips the scales at over 25 pounds, and he kneads me his claws retracted, and he also purrs peacefully as he`s suffocating me. I gently dump Tico on the floor after only a few moments, because my life takes precedence over his pleasure.

According to the Reader`s Digest article kittens knead their mother`s glands to release more milk, and most cats continue to knead throughout their lives.

When my kitties knead me I don`t see it as a sign of affection, they`re simply trying to make their bed (me) comfortable for them to sleep on, it`s no different than when we fluff our pillows.

I would find my cats penchant for kneading a more endearing quirk if Ebony`s claws weren`t so sharp (it`s a nightmare trimming her nails), and if Tico didn`t weigh so much.

I`m just glad dogs don`t have a predilection for kneading, if my 70-pound Pit Bull mix jumped on me and kneaded me it wouldn`t be such a pleasant experience.

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