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Kneading In Kitties

January 3 2022

Have you adopted a kitten? Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Before you know it, your tiny pet will probably have you wrapped around that little paw. Kittens are beyond cute. They can also be a bit of a handful. Over the next few months, Fluffy’s habit of kneading (or making biscuits, as it’s sometimes called) is something you may find yourself dealing with quite often . What’s that all about? A vet talks about this cute—and somewhat painful—habit below. 


Basics 


Kneading isn’t likely anyone’s favorite kitty behavior. After all, those little claws are sharp! Why do cats knead? Your fuzzy buddy isn’t deliberately trying to hurt you, in case you were wondering. It’s actually an instinctive behavior. When Fluffy was a nursing kitten, kneading helped stimulate milk flow. (This casts the momma cat in a whole new light since she could have several tiny balls of fur kneading her at once!) 


Kneading In Adults


While that helps explain kneading in baby cats, what about adult felines? Why does Fluffy still make biscuits long after she’s officially full-grown? This means that your feline buddy actually sees you as a second ‘parent,’ so to speak. Rather than nursing, she’s exhibiting behaviors that she associates with feeling safe and loved. Notice how she purrs, and maybe she even looks quite happy when she kneads. Love hurts! 


Other Pawsibilities


Reliving early kittenhood may not be the only reason Fluffy kneads. Kitty may actually be marking you as ‘hers since cats do have scent glands in their paws. There’s also a chance that your feline pal may just like to stretch her toes because it feels good. 


Breaking The Habit 


Considering why Fluffy still kneads, you should never punish her for this behavior. For one thing, she doesn’t realize it hurts you. And too, doing so could make her feel uneasy or unloved. You can try picking up her paw and gently rubbing it instead. That may still trigger a feeling of happiness or love, without the ouchies that actual kneading may cause you. Of course, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. It may just be easier to put a towel or blanket on your lap before letting your furball get comfortable. 


Please do not hesitate to reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your local animal clinic, we are here to help with all of your cat care ‘kneads.’

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