The dying question we all want to know the answer to is, “why do cats make biscuits?” But really, why do they?
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If you’ve got a cat of your own or spent time on TikTok, you’ve probably seen cats kneading and wondered the exact question we’re going to go over today. For an in-depth answer to the weird but adorable behavior of kneading, keep on reading!
What is it Called Making Biscuits?
Cats kneading or making biscuits, as some like to say, is the repetitive movement of a cat’s paws pushing into and pulling away from an object.
It got the saying “making biscuits,” as it resembles the action of a bread maker kneading dough. Likewise, cats typically knead on soft objects such as blankets, toys, linen, or even their owner.
Not all cats knead in the same way, however. Some cats push their claws out while kneading, others keep their claws in, and some don’t even knead.
Why Do Cats Knead?
So, now that we know what kneading is let’s get into why a cat kneads.
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To Feel Comforted
The first reason why your cat may knead is due to instinctual behavior. When kittens are feeding on their mother, they will knead her belly to stimulate the mother’s milk production.
Some cats have even been known to dribble while kneading as if they were expecting milk to come from their chosen object.
Although adult cats don’t need to nurse, the kneading movement could be because cats associate it with past feelings of comfort.
To Make the Bed
Ethologists believe that cats’ kneading movement is primarily tied to nursing, but there could be other factors as to why a cat continues to knead into adulthood.
Their kneading behavior could also be a way of making an area safe and comfortable for sleeping. For example, pushing on a certain area in a repetitive movement will flatten it down and ultimately make it more comfortable for a quick afternoon nap.
Wild cats even display this behavior in areas of tall grass. Cats knead on the grass to flatten it down into soft squishy piles before lying down and resting.
To Mark Their Territory
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Like many others in the animal kingdom, Cats are territorial creatures, and kneading could be a way of claiming their space.
Cats have scent glands on their paws, so the kneading motion could be their transferring their scent onto their chosen object or surface. It sure beats them peeing on everything, right?
Nothing beats waking up from a nap and having a good old stretch. And just like humans, cats enjoy a stretch from time to time too.
Kneading is a way of stretching out their arms. So, it’s fair to say that this motion could stimulate their muscles and overall circulation.
To Show They Like You
Animals have a unique way of showing their affection. For example, dogs lick you, and cats… well, they might knead on you.
In some instances, a cat kneading on you could be taken as a compliment. Especially if they’re kneading extra hard.
Kneading is a sign of comfort, so if a cat feels safe and comfortable around you, don’t be surprised if their little kneading paws make an appearance.
To Show They’re Going Into Heat
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If female cats aren’t spayed, they may display specific kneading behavior when coming into heat.
Other common feline behavior to look out for when a cat is in heat include rubbing up against people or objects, being extra affectionate, and being vocal while kneading, especially when other cats are around.
Does Cat Kneading Behaviour Change?
Most cats will carry their kneading traits into adulthood as it remains a self-soothing behavior from when they were kittens. Another behavior to show that a cat is happy, relaxed, or comfortable is purring. When adult cats knead, they, too, are showing these emotions.
Is Kneading Normal Behaviour?
The feline evolutionary behavior of kneading is extremely common in all types of cats and could result from a few different factors. Whether they’re doing it for comfort, to create a flat and safe sleeping space, or to alert their feline friends that they’re ready for mating, the behavior is usually nothing to worry about. So don’t worry, you can relax. It is completely normal cat behavior.
Should I Stop My Cat Kneading?
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As we mentioned before, your cat making biscuits is nothing to worry about, and therefore you should take it as a positive experience for everyone involved.
There are a few downsides that come with your cat kneading, however.
It’s no secret that cats have sharp claws, and if you’ve ever been scratched by one, you know full well what we’re talking about. Therefore, if you don’t trim your cat’s nails, the kneading motion can snag blankets, linen, furniture, and clothes.
Cats need an outlet, so vets recommend letting them continue their biscuit-making movements. But, if you’re on a mission to save your precious belongings, there are a few things you can do.
- The first is to keep your cat’s nails trimmed. Keeping your cat’s claws in good condition means they won’t catch onto and damage fabrics while kneading.
- If your cat prefers to knead on you (take this as a compliment!) and you don’t enjoy the feeling, redirect them to their dedicated kneading blanket, towel, soft object, or stuffed animal.
- If you have nothing to redirect your cat onto, slowly and gently stand up and remove yourself from the situation.
- Think about when their kneading behavior occurs. For example, do they always begin the movements when you’re petting them on the couch, or is there a specific object or blanket they favor over others?
- Purchase plastic nail caps for your feline friend. Nail caps are tiny plastic covers that fit onto your cat’s nails to prevent scratches to objects, people, and fabrics. These covers don’t hurt your cat, and your cat can still retract its claws as normal.
Why Do Cats Make Biscuits: Our Final Thoughts
So, there you have it! The adorable behavior that many cats display is harmless and nothing to worry about.
As we wrap up this article about the weird and wonderful behavior of cats making biscuits, we’re intrigued to know if your cat displays this behavior? If so, do they have a favorite spot or object to knead? Let us know in the comment section down below!