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
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.
Jonny Justice, a Pit Bull who was rescued
from Michael Vick's dog fighting kennel in
2007, was named ASPCA's Dog…
For Halloween, we’re spotlighting the
world's most famous pet cemeteries —
even a Paris site that opened in 1899.
Our veterinary behaviorist explains
why some kitties go to the bathroom
on furniture instead of in the litterbox.
Cats have been both exalted and
persecuted for centuries, thanks to tales
of devil kitties and holy companions.
We’re getting ready for Halloween
by sharing our favorite fan-submitted
photos of dogs and cats in costumes.
Known as one of the smartest dogs, the focused Border Collie has appeared in movies like Babe and Hotel for Dogs.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.