cute kitten kneading gif

Why do cats knead paws?

Cats are interesting creatures, with some behavioral traits inherent only to cats, they will curl up to take a nap or their self-care rituals, after enjoying a meal. Another common feline behavior is kneading in place of the paws, alternating between right and left. Some cats knead removing claws completely, while others vice versa.

Sometimes this process is called “making cookies” because the movement resembles how a baker kneads a dough. This is almost always done on a soft, supple surface, like a pillow, blanket, another cat or kitten, or your knees. It is accompanied by a satisfied purr, and sometimes licking. As the saying goes, cats prut from this.
No doubt this is an instinctive trait. Newborn kittens knead their mother’s belly to stimulate the flow of milk through the nipples. One rather outdated theory says that cats that knead were separated or separated from the mother too early, and therefore continue to playful behavior in adulthood, but almost all adult cats knead no matter how and when they are weaned. It is likely that the instinctive behavior is just nice to cats. (Although some cats love to “suck” a corner of a pillow or blanket).

Another theory says that in those distant times, when wild cats, to make a soft, fluffy bed for sleeping or childbirth, they kneaded a pillow of tall grass or crushed leaves. For centuries, nothing has changed, the cat’s instinct “knead” before settling down for a comfortable sleep always works.
Also there is a more practical aspect for “kneading.” In cats, the sweat glands are located on the soft lining at the base of the paws. When they knead, their unique fragrance comes to the surface and serves as a kind of territorial marker for any unfamiliar cats who might come and try to stake out a place)). So when your cat presses your knees, it not only tells you that it feels comfortable and safe, but that you are its property.
If a cat kneads you often, this is a reason to cut its claws, to avoid scratches or hooks on your clothes. (To do this, use a nail clipper, pinch off the sharp, curved tip of each claw by 1-1.5 mm, otherwise tiny blood vessels and nerves located at the base of the claw root can be damaged). You can also hold a towel next to your chair, and use it to protect your knees as soon as your cat starts kneading you with paws.
If the kneading gives you trouble, you can try to gently pull the cat down into a lying position so that she calms down and falls asleep. Another trick is to gently hold the front paws together to caress the cat or distract your pet with a toy. You should not punish the cat for natural and instinctive behavior as kneading.

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