Good news for all of you cat owners and cat lovers – cat kneading is perfectly normal… and also adorable! This is just another thing to add to your list of odd cat behaviors.
Most of us have surely seen (or felt) a kitty’s paws stretch out and make movements as if they’re little bakers kneading dough to make bread.
Unfortunately, they won’t be able to help you in the kitchen – they are doing it purely for their own pleasure!
Here, we present you with a couple of answers to the question Why do cats make biscuits?
Why Do Cats Make Biscuits?
This odd behavior is very intriguing and the reasons behind it might not be what you expect. Here we present to you 5 popular theories that can explain Why do cats make biscuits?
1. Cats Knead When They Are Relaxed
Isn’t this the best of all possible reasons? All pet parents just want their animals to be happy and content. Cats have numerous ways to communicate with us, letting us know how they feel or what they want, and this is one of them.
Kneading behavior is something you want to see your cat doing, because it usually means the cat is content. You might also notice purrs accompanying this feline behavior, and often naps too.
If they are doing it in your lap, feel lucky because this is also their way of saying “I love you!”
2. It Is Making Them Feel Better When Anxious
On the other hand, stress relief could be the reason behind their kneading.
Considering that kneading is a comforting behavior for them, making biscuits can make them feel more calm and secure.
Making biscuits on your lap with their claws out might not be the most enjoyable experience. Just keep their claws trimmed and have a couple of soft blankets around and it all will be well.
Most importantly, do not punish your cat if you see that it is kneading, as this can cause even more stress for them.
3. They Are Marking Their Territory
You have probably noticed that our feline friends are territorial creatures. Both domesticated cats and wild cats are for leaving their scent everywhere.
They do so via scent glands found mostly on their face and paws. Pheromones are molecules that are released from the paw pad’s glands and when the cat is kneading it leaves them on that soft surface.
Why Are Cats Marking Their Territory?
Leaving the scent means that the object (or you) are marked as safe and familiar, providing comfort to the kitty and a warning to other cats that “This is mine!”
You can compare this to dogs marking territory with their urine, but we can all agree this is a lot cuter!
4. They are stretching
We all know cats sleep throughout most of the day, for as much as 16 hours. The answer to: “Why do cats make biscuits?” can be a simple one – they just need a good stretch!
You must have seen your cat’s paws stick out in front of them and their lower back pointing upwards. That might be their favorite stretching exercise, but not the only one.
How Is Making Biscuits – A Form Of Exercise?
A type of stretch exercise can be making biscuits, which increases the blood flow to the muscles and brain. While cats are sleeping, their blood pressure drops and metabolic toxins build-up.
When they wake up, they immediately get to stretching as that helps awaken them, increases their blood pressure, boosts lymph circulation, and kick-starts the process of flushing out toxins.
Essentially, it feels good and makes them alert and ready to tackle the activities ahead of them.
5. Female Cats Announcing They Are Ready For Mating
Female cat kneading is a normal cat behavior when the cat is “in heat”, meaning she is fertile and ready for mating. This may be accompanied by purring, meowing, agitation, rubbing against furniture, and grooming more than usual.
Kneading can often be seen when the female cat is lying on her side, with her little paw pads up in the air, “making biscuits”.
This is easy to observe so if you notice it in an unneutered female and you don’t want kittens running around your house – keep an eye on your cat (and your neighbor’s male cat too)!
An Interesting Fact: Kneading Is A Leftover From Kittenhood
Kneading is a rhythmic motion of a cat’s front paws, with left and right paw alternating, creating a movement resembling the motion of a person actually making bread dough.
That’s why this front-paw movement is also called “making biscuits”. But it served a very important purpose when the cat was a kitten.
This cat behavior originates in their kittenhood and continues into adulthood. It is probably as a reminder of “the good old times” snuggling up with their mom, brothers, and sisters.
Why Do Young Kittens Knead?
The earliest age when cat kneading can be seen is when they are newborn kittens and the reason for it is pretty fascinating.
When kitties are just little sucklings, they need their mother’s milk to provide nutrients. If the female cat is stressed, it cannot produce or release milk to feed them.
So in order to ensure the flow of milk, the suckling kneads on its mother and latches onto the teat, causing the adult cat to produce the “happiness hormone” called oxytocin that is needed to keep milk production going.
What Does The Word “Biscuits“ Mean?
Let’s clear some things up for those that are not so familiar with this concept. Sorry to break it to you – no real biscuits are made here.
There are cat biscuits that are given to cats as a treat, but we are not talking about those right now.
Here, we are thinking of imaginary biscuits that our cats are making while doing this specific paw-stretching movement (please check out some videos of it – it is so charming!).
Where Do Cats “Make Biscuits“?
Cat paws are “fussy” when it comes to this special motion – they do not tolerate hard surfaces, but prefer soft objects or surfaces to knead.
If you are lucky, that soft surface will not be your skin. Most of us know from experience that a scratch from your cat’s nails is not the most pleasant feeling.
Soft blankets and pillows for cat kneading are the preferable option for both you and your cat.
What Is The Purpose Of A Cat Making Biscuits?
The purpose of this behavior can be for your cat to simply show its happiness.It may also mean your cat is announcing she is ready for mating, or trying to self-soothe to get rid of anxiety by doing a movement that reminds them of kittenhood. Other common reasons are to mark the territory or simply to stretch.
Is There A Right Way To Knead?
This feline behavior is seen in domestic cats and, surprisingly, in wild cats too! Of course, cat kneading does not have to look the same for every cat.
Some cats have their own style of doing it, so don’t be surprised if this movement includes all four paws too. Some cats knead more than others and that is okay too.
Is There A Thing As Too Much Kneading?
If you notice your cat spending a considerable amount of time doing this,or they seem to have any discomfort, you might want to visit an animal hospital or a vet for a quick check-up, just to make sure everything is okay.
Fortunately for all pet parents and lovers – stress-caused kneading behavior is not very common! Most of the time, cats knead when they are happy, not stressed.
There isn’t a single answer to “Why do cats make biscuits?”. Here I have listed the 5 most common reasons that may help explain why do cats knead. Only you can tell which one applies to your situation.
You know your pets the best and, alongside proper pet-care, all you can do is offer your love and affection and they will give it right back.
Enjoy your cat’s meows, purrs, and paw pads doing this strange and funny movement, as it generally means they are happy. What more can you ask?
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