As a cat owner or a ‘cat curious’ person, you’ve probably found your kitty kneading clothes, objects, persons, or even your lap. Many people are curious as to why do cats knead on their owners (hair), or other objects like a blanket or sofa. We will be talking about that in a bit. But first, what exactly does it mean for a cat to knead?

When cats knead, they rhythmically push their paws against an object (or person) in a motion that mimics a massage or kneading of dough. It is usually referred to as “making biscuits.” Kneading is a common behavior that young and adult felines engage in, but there are those cats that don’t knead. There are different ways cat kneads like using their claws or using all four paws.

There are so many reasons why cats knead their owners and blankets, and we will be exploring some of them with you.

Why Cats Knead their Owners and Blankets

When cats knead their owners or other people, especially while they are in their favorite resting spot –your lap-, and you’re stroking its fur and petting him/her, the kneading is a return of the affection and a cat’s way of saying “that’s the spot right there, don’t stop,” or “P.S I love you too.” Some cats that love to climb their owner’s head also knead their owner’s hair.

If your cat kneads with claws, this display of affection could be a painful experience for you, because the happier or more thrilled your cat is, the harder he’ll knead on you, digging his sharp nails into your soft skin. Cats don’t typically realize that they’re hurting you when they do this, so it won’t be fair that you punish your cat for this behavior.

If you notice that your cat likes to knead on you, claws included, you could try placing a soft, thick fabric or other kinds of barrier between your lap and your cat. Your cat will get to enjoy the experience, and you would emerge unscathed at the end of it. You could also try trimming his nails regularly.


Could Be Part Of A Workout Routine

Why do cats knead on owners? They enjoy their sleeping hours immensely, and they also enjoy stretching out their muscles after a nap. Our feline companions are well known for their amazing physical feats. Kneading for them is just one of the various ways cats maintain their flexibility until they are ready to curl up for a nap. Some people also believe that cats that knead with their claws do so to exercise the claws.

They Might Be Marking their territory

As territorial creatures, cats mark out or protect their area in different ways, like marking their stuff with their scent. They have scent glands in their soft paw pads, so when a cat is kneading on something, like you, they are just trying to stake their claim and ward off trespassers.

Your Cat Might Be An Attention seeking

While many cats are often regarded as shy and eccentric, some breeds love to get all the attention they can get. When the attention is in short supply, cats may start kneading on you to try to get you to spend some time with them.

It Could Be A Sign Of Parental Bond

This is a peculiar factor in newborn kittens. When they’ve been detached from their feline mothers at an early age, it is common for kittens to think their human owners are their cat moms. Kittens can knead on you when you’re trying to feed them with a syringe or baby bottle. When you hug or cuddle or kitten, it may start kneading and purring because it sees your warmth and soft skin as its mother’s body.

It Could Be A Form Of Mating Ritual

For female cats, kneading serves more purpose than exercising or claiming territory. The females may be lying on their side and kneading the air as a way of inviting male cats to mate with them, but when they are ready to mate at the moment, their pelvis will be raised with their tail on one side.

Childhood Memories

Kittens knead on their mother’s stomachs to get milk. This habit may not go away as the cat grows, so when an adult cat kneads, it is remembering its childhood and has associated the activity with feeling comfortable and safe.

Ready For Nap Time

Another reason why cats knead their owners is that they are getting ready for another lap of sleep. Cats are known for making a sleeping spot out of the most things they find around. There is even a theory that suggests that wild cats first started to knead to build places for resting, giving birth, and nesting with grass and leaves. So when they are kneading your blanket, your couch, or even a hard surface, they are simply trying to get ready to sleep.


How to stop Cats from Kneading?

If you think your cat likes to knead on you a little bit too much or you don’t like it at all, you could try picking your cat gently and setting it on another surface (advisably a soft one). You could also use toys and other objects you know your cat loves as a distraction to have it knead or play with something else. They will forget that they were just kneading moments ago.

Many cat lovers admit that even though they love the kneading, their cat sometimes gets in the way of work, or comes along when their mood is off. Instead of scolding your cat, a distraction might be the best option.


So, there you have it! Some of the interesting reasons why our adorable kitties like to knead us like dough. It could be a love language; they could be ready to sleep, attention-seeking, or even a declaration of ownership. Some even say it can be traced to the wild felines, but one thing we can all agree on is that cats do adorable and often questionable things that make us wonder, “why do cats like to knead their owners?”

For now, we have been able to provide answers to the question of why do cats knead on their owners, fabric, and other surfaces. So, we will love to know what you think. Why do you think cats knead?