Should You Stop Your Cat from Kneading?

Cats have a number of quirky characteristics, some of which are fascinating to observe and are highly amusing. But have you noticed your cat has started kneading her blanket as if she was kneading dough? This can be worrying for cat owners who are not sure what this means and if it is a sign of an underlying problem they need to address. If your cat has started kneading, should you put a stop to it, or would it be best for you to allow it to continue?

The Reason Why Cats Knead

Cat breeders will be used to the touching sight of a queen sprawled out on her bed as she lovingly nurses her kittens. Look closely and you will see that each kitten will be using its tiny paws to knead against the mother’s mammary glands in order to express more milk. Kneading is common in kittens, as it is linked to a natural desire for food. As the kittens grow, they will remember their earliest instincts, which is why kneading often surfaces again later on in a cat’s life long after your beloved pet has been weaned.

Kneading is Part of a Cat’s Ritual

Cats have sleeping rituals just the same as humans do. Whereas you might enjoy a hot bath or read a book to help you to fall asleep, a cat may knead its blanket or cat bed to lull itself off to sleep. Kneading is soothing and relaxing for a cat and should not be a cause for concern, unless the cat appears to be in pain or in obvious distress while it is kneading.

When to Discourage Kneading

Obviously, older cats do not knead out of a desire for food. Kneading helps an older cat to self-soothe as it relaxes and settles down for a nap, which is often accompanied by loud purring. But when your lap is being scratched to pieces, you will need to put a stop to kneading on your lap, unless you have a thick blanket or towel laid on your lap for protection.

A kneading cat is not something you should be worried about in your cat. In fact, kneading goes back to a kitten’s earliest memories with its mother, as kittens use kneading as a method for expressing milk. In an older cat, kneading is part of a cat’s ritual and a way of expressing its contentment as it fluffs its bedding and settles down for a nap. Unless the kneading is accompanied by signs of pain or discomfort, there is no reason to seek medical attention or to stop your cat from kneading.

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