Why Cats Knead

Arguably one of the cutest things cats and kittens do is “knead” their paws on soft objects, including pillows, blankets, and even their owners! It’s also known as “making biscuits.” If you are a new cat owner, this adorable action may come as a surprise to you, yet having fostered many cats and kittens myself, I can conclude that this action is quite common and normal. 

Kneading is the act of a happy cat. Cats knead to show pleasure, or that they are happy and comfortable. That explains why they usually knead when resting or settling down to nap in a comfy spot. When they knead their owner, they are showing love and contentment. This is also a sign of affection back to the owner in response to petting, like your cat is petting you back!

Cats also knead to mark territory, or mark a sleeping place as theirs. Scratching and kneading releases the cat’s scent onto the object, which other animals can smell, and know that it is the cat’s territory. 

Cats usually begin to “make biscuits” when they are young and still nursing from their mother. This action helps stimulate the release of the mother’s milk. Why cats continue to knead into adulthood is unclear, but it is commonly seen as a sign of comfort and safety. Send us pictures of your happy cats kneading, we love to see them! 

Written by Grace Hooker