Why does my cat knead me?
I once picked up a cute, red-haired kitten off the street and brought it home when I was still in high school. He was miserable, emaciated, and wouldn’t let go of me. He bit into my clothes with his little claws and wouldn’t let go. I had to make an effort to unhook him from me.
After I brought him home, washed, and fed him, I noticed that he was constantly trying to get on my collarbones (the transition area from chest to shoulder).
Kitten liked to settle in this notch, nestle his paws and massage my blouse (T-shirt) and lick the same massaged place. The whole process was accompanied by a loud purring and his eyes were closed with pleasure.
This alarmed me, and even then my mother explained to me that this kitten was early weaned from her mother and her breast, so now he has the characteristic reflexes.
I was sure it would go away with age but my cat kneads all the time up until he was 4 until he ran away from home.
Now you can see a lot of requests on the internet where people are asking “why does my cat knead me?” There are many videos of cat owners filming their pets doing strange massages with their paws on their bodies, clothing, and other objects.
We decided to find out the meaning of cat kneading and answer the main question – why do cats knead their owners?
What does it mean when a cat kneads you?
Many cat owners have observed such a process when their pets stomp on a certain place and enjoy it. Some compare these movements to kneading dough, others call it a “milk step.”
There are beliefs that this is how cats treat their owners when they stomp on their chests, stomachs, or other parts of their bodies. But this conjecture is not entirely reasonable, since cats do not always do this on the human body. The object for a “cat massage” can be a bed plaid, a soft chair, or clothes in a closet. They don’t have to be treated, as we’ve learned.
If cats don’t treat us and knead the dough, then what does cat kneading mean?
Why do cats knead on humans?
There are three most common and logical theories to explain what is it called when cats knead:
It is the so-called “milk step”
If you look closely, and you are not far from the idea of how mammals feed their young, you can see this as an imitation of breastfeeding.
Newborn kittens suck their mother’s milk and stimulate the production of milk with their tiny paws.
Some say that you can even see the adult cat smacking while stomping on his lap or any other place.
That is, as in my story of the tame kitten – the baby was trying to come back to the moment when it was not separated from its mother and in complete safety.
This is how kittens bring themselves back to the beautiful moments of infancy. When you could snuggle up to your beloved mother and not think about anything.
Another worthy theory from felinologists, which fully explains this feline behavior. As you already know, cats sweat using their paw pads because they have glands that secrete an odorous secret (humans cannot smell it).
Accordingly, our purrs mark their territory (the owner or family members are also in the list of the fluffy’s possessions) by stomping on the place which belongs to them.
This is how a furry predator lets other animals know that this place or object belongs to him, and it is better to avoid it.
An echo of wildlife
If you see your cat rummaging in space before he lays down on it, it is a remnant of his carnivorous nature and his ancestors.
Cats used to live only in the wild and when they were going to lie down somewhere, they would rummage for a place (tough grass, bushes) to rest or take a nap after hunting and eating.
So, this is nothing but a concern for their own comfort and coziness.
Another very cute version according to the «Kagouletheband» is that cats massage our knees, stomach, or any other part of the body because they think we are their mommies. And when their owners chase them away (more often than not, when the animal will let out its claws) cats sincerely do not understand such rudeness and misunderstanding.