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 Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
From vacuums and blenders to ceiling fans and aluminum foil, here are common and bizarre things that scare animals.
These intuitive and informative apps for smartphones and tablets make spotting and identifying birds easier than…
When Purin the Beagle is thrown a ball, she doesn't catch it in her mouth like most dogs — she grabs it…
With his football-shaped head and fun-loving personality, there’s no mistaking the larger-than-life Bull…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.