Why Do Cats Knead in Wilmington, DE?

Do you have a cat? Have you ever seen her kneading a blanket or her favorite sleeping spot? Why do cats do this? If you’ve ever wondered why do cats knead, then you’re not alone.

why do cats knead

Many cat owners in Wilmington observe this behavior in their pets but aren’t sure what the cause could be. Some may worry about the cause, while others may simply have questions.

Most Common Reasons for Why Cats Knead in Wilmington, DE

In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most common reasons why your cat is kneading so you can better understand your favorite feline family member.

Below are 6 common reasons that can answer the question on why do cats knead:

Association with Nursing

The most common cause of kneading in cats is the association with nursing. Cats begin nursing their mothers for milk shortly after birth, and they perform a kneading motion as they do this. Although kneading does not equal nursing for adult cats, they always remember the comfort and safety of nursing, so the action is always associated with being a baby kitten.

Because of this association, cats usually knead when they are reminded of that feeling of safety. This means that a cat who is kneading her blanket, her bed, or her favorite person feels just as comfortable as she did when she was a baby nursing her mother.

Getting Comfortable

Because of this association with comfort and safety, cats also knead when they want to get more comfortable. They may press blankets into the right position for their own comfort and may work to create a more comfortable “nest” space to take a nap in as well.

If your cat prefers to knead her blanket or her bed and doesn’t seem to knead any other items around the home, this behavior is probably associated with her attempts to feel more comfortable while she sleeps throughout the day. Once again, this is a completely normal behavior.

Feeling Cozy and Secure

If you are cuddling with your cat, she may feel extra secure knowing that her human family is nearby to protect her and keep her safe. She may also feel cozy in this situation and may be more relaxed than usual. For either of these reasons, she may knead more frequently.

Kneading is always a sign that your cat is happy, content, and comfortable. However, if she feels particularly cozy and secure at any given time, her kneading may become more intense. This may mean the use of claws, but remember not to punish your cat for “scratching” when she kneads – this is all part of the process for her, and she isn’t trying to hurt you.

Marking Territory

There are many different ways a cat marks her territory, and there are quite a few methods that may be more efficient than kneading. However, a cat does have scent glands in her paws, and kneading releases the smell from these scent glands onto your cat’s favorite items (and people). As such, kneading marks her territory and tells other cats that she is the owner of those items.

If you have several cats, you may find that they all knead different blankets or items. This is because they respect the territory marking of their fellow cats and understand that not every blanket in the house is theirs. In this situation, it can be helpful to have several blankets and beds for your different cats.

Showing Affection

Cats knead to show affection. They do this with other cats, and they also do it with humans. If you’re holding your cat in your lap and she begins to knead your leg, she may be doing this to show you that she loves you. Cats who nap together often knead each other’s skin in the same way.

Some cats who are very close with the family dog may do this to the dog as well. Some dogs are okay with the behavior, but watch closely to ensure your dog isn’t upset or bothered by your cat’s kneading.


Finally, cats may sometimes knead in play. This is not as common of a cause as some of the others listed here, but it can still occur in many cats.

If your cat’s kneading is accompanied with running around the house, chasing toys, or leaping onto furniture, then you can recognize the kneading as a play habit. Once again, there is nothing wrong with this action.

Contact Wilmington Animal Hospital for More Information about Why Do Cats Knead

As you can see, although there are a few different reasons why your cat might be kneading, there’s nothing to be worried about if you see this behavior in your pet. A kneading cat is a happy cat, and if your cat kneads often, it just means she is content and happy to be in her home and with her favorite humans.

The next time you see your cat kneading, you can remember this article and use the information to form a better understanding and a closer bond with your pet.

If you have any questions about your cat’s behavior, or are wanting more information about why do cats knead, schedule an appointment with our team at Wilmington Animal Hospital today. We’re dedicated to being your partner in your cat’s overall health, and that includes making sure you know everything about the behavior they’re experiencing. Don’t wait to ask your questions, contact us by calling our team at (302) 762-2694 or scheduling an appointment online.