via SheKnows

So, you know when your cat – or your friend’s cat – comes up to you, it seems happy, it’s purring, and then it tries to make biscuits out of your body.

It’s adorable because the kitty loves you, but it’s also painful because the kitty’s love is made out of tiny sharp needles.

Cats perform endless behaviors when they relate to humans, like purring, rubbing their face against you, and kneading. Here, we explain the reasons why kneading is a significant communication tool for cats.


What’s Kneading?

Via Animal Medical Hospital

Kneading – or making biscuits – is when a cat steps up something soft and then alternately pushes on the soft surface with each foot; sometimes with, sometimes without claws. Cats begin kneading just after birth; they perform this instinctive behavior on their mother’s nipples to stimulate milk and colostrum production.

To be precise, cats apply pressure on the nipples, and extending and closing their claws in repetition the kitten activates milk production. A Kitten will continue to knead the mammary glands of its mother until weaning happens, at around three weeks of life.

But, this is a slow but sure process. During which the mother of cats has to begin to reject her kittens when they come for food, with the aim that they can start water intake and eat solid foods based on animal protein.


But, Why Does My Cat Knead?

via Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Although cats originally knead for milk, there are more reasons they may continue this behavior:

Happiness: Along with eating, purring, and meowing are considered behaviors of a cat in early years, they make positive connections with them and continue to perform when they are comfortable and happy in their adult’s life. Kneading is a comforting behavior that suggests cats enjoy physical interactions.

Emotional Bond: I happened to wonder why cats knead people and not just other cats. Well, that’s because felines – the well-socialized ones – enjoy human company when they are in a soothing context in the comfort of an individual they like. In this case, they are more likely to knead as a way of showing affections.

To Rest Better: You may have seen them do this before they sleep. Once again, we’re seeing an instinctive behavior that is done when they are on a surface they don’t consider comfortable enough. So, they do it to make the space chosen for resting comfier.

To Stretch: We all know that cats love to stretch each and every muscle in their body. So, they like to stretch after a relaxing time kneading in satisfaction.

To Establish Their Territory: Cats secrete their own chemical compounds through certain glands to communicate with their friends of other species. Basically, they decide to mark you as part of their territory. Also, big cats – like lions – have this behavior too.