Click here to learn more.
It’s almost like a state of feline nirvana: Your
cat curls up in your lap and rhythmically presses one paw, then the other, with eyes half closed and a trickle of drool running down her chin.
Kneading, or what many veterinarians call “making biscuits,” is an instinctive behavior that begins in kittens shortly after birth. Noted zoologist Desmond Morris coined the phrase “milk treading” to describe the movement of a kitten’s paws against her mother's mammary glands to stimulate milk flow.
This behavior certainly serves a purpose for kittens, but why does it continue into adulthood? Animal behaviorists speculate that an adult cat kneads to show contentment, to calm herself when she's feeling anxious or to mark a person or object with her scent from the sweat glands in her paws.
Kittens who are weaned too early may not only knead, but also attempt to suckle on human skin, earlobes, stuffed toys and even the family dog. In extreme cases, some cats (usually Siamese or Siamese-crosses) will obsessively suck or chew on wool blankets or clothing while kneading — and even ingest parts of the object.
So if your little fluff ball is simply kneading you — and she appears to be in a state of contentment — sit back, relax and enjoy your kitty massage. And if she's overdoing it? Talk with your vet.
More on Vetstreet.com:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Remote cameras captured images of a
rare Sierra Nevada red fox in Yosemite
for the first time in nearly 100 years.
Our most popular videos from trainer
Mikkel Becker will help your dog learn
basic commands and end bad behaviors.
As a defense mechanism, cats tend to
hide illness. But an abnormal temperature
and coughing may indicate a problem.
Back for its eleventh year, the Animal Planet extravaganza now pits two teams against each other: Ruff versus Fluff!
It's important to look over your pet's ears, eyes, nose and body regularly so you'll notice what's normal — and what's…
New to the sporting group, this gorgeous
breed is an all-around hunting dog with a
clever nature and sensitive soul.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.