Cats are such interesting, mysterious creatures with many unexpected traits and characteristics. If you have a cat, then at some point you would catch them kneading on the sofa, on the blankets, and sometimes on you. But don’t worry, most cats do that and appear at both young and adult felines. So, why does my cat knead blankets and bite whether this action causes any harm? Let’s find out now!
What is Cat Kneading?
As said above, not all but most cats usually knead and they did it at the moment they were born. This is the rhythmic pushing of their paws in and out at alternating times. When doing it, our favorite feline uses a motion similar to kneading the dough, making bread. Hence, sometimes this adorable behavior is also known as “making biscuits”. Other than kneading, some cats may bite and suck their blanket as well. Scientists believe that this is just a habit or a way to bring them back to their mother.
Why Does My Cat Knead blakets?
Although most cats knead, they do it in different ways. There are many reasons to explain the behavior. Some do it as a claw sharpening technique while others do it for a good stretch. The answer to this question may vary and be more complex than you think.
A trait from infancy
At their young age, while they are at a nursing stage, kittens knead to help their feline mama produce milk more stimulating. The stimulation also works for their mother’s comfort since it continues even when the milk bar is dry already. In case they carry this trait later on in their adult life, mainly because they were separated from their mothers too early. Another hypothesis for adult kneading is bottle-fed.
Not only kneading, biting or sucking at soft and warm items also appear as common traits in cats because they resemble the warmth and fuzziness of their mother. Following Dr. Nick Dodman, Director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, “they may begin sucking on themselves, their littermates, or certain wooly materials, especially wool itself.”
So, if you are an overindulged parent then let stock wool at home for your furkids satisfaction or else you better be careful with all your wool stuff. Their habits could sometimes lead to wardrobe devastation.
Leftover of wild cat trait
Similar to humans, cats have been through thousands of years of evolution from wild animal to domestication, yet some traits remain today. Back in the day when our lovely furry friends were wild, they collected grass and leaves to make outdoor for themselves. Similar to how we fluff a pillow, kneading helps them create an instant soft nest. So from now on, if you catch your cat doing it then there is a chance they instinctively do what their ancestors did for a good sleeping spot.
Claiming their territory
Like any other animal, cats also are territorial creatures and they scent-mark to safeguard what’s theirs. From blankets, wools, beds and even you. There are scent glands that cats release pheromones via sweat from the soft pads of their paws. By pushing their paws in and out again and again they activate these scent glands, thus marking territory as their own.
Kneading for the possible mates
Another oft-repeated explanation for cat kneading is a sign for male cats that a feline is ready and willing to mate. This happens at unspayed cats and as the estrus cycle continues, along with kneading, the cat also purry or meows which soon escalate into loud yowls to get the attention of the male. Since it is a natural behavior, the only way to eliminate it would be to have them spayed.
Just for stretching
Putting all the complicated explanations aside, sometimes, it’s just a small movement in their stretching exercises. After all that climbing and strange posing, cats may need to work out the kinks in their paws to keep limber – and what better way than stretching them against a soft surface?
But, this might concern you!
Kneading, biting from time to time could be symptoms or signs of their health problems.
Not only humans but some cats are also very sensitive. Kneading and biting is normal habit but it can contain health risks. To avoid allergies, make sure your bed sheets, cushion or blankets are made out of safe materials, preferably hypoallergenic and antibacterial.
Rarely happens, however, if your cats suck and bite on their blanket more often than normal then there is a chance that they suffer dental pain. Some other signs are chewing, biting which maybe your cat is calling you, and trying to get attention so be aware and contact the vet if it is in need.
It can be a Mica symptom
If your cat has never shown signs of biting or chewing other than blankets such as plastic or synthetic fabric then it is probably a sign of an underlying medical problem known as pica. At this point, they do it as an attempt to self-soothe. Arnold Plotnick – a doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the ACVIM advised having your feline examined right away since cats with unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms and a history of eating unusual objects, materials.
What to do about Cat Kneading?
Some cats might knead with their claws out which can sometimes feel as though they’re using your lap as a pin cushion! If this sometimes can bother you then here are tips to stop this bothersome.
- Trim their claw
An easy and effective way to stop the sinking hurts you. All you gotta do is keep their claws trimmed short. This not only stops the kneading bothersome, but it also keeps your cat pedicure clean.
- Holding their paw
Holding your fur friend’s paw feels just like you have a warm handshake and it’s a way of returning their affection for them. It’s important to keep in mind not to punish your feline for kneading casually cause this is an instinctive behavior.
- Having a barrier between you two
In case their claws sink in a little too much, you can always put a soft barrier such as a blanket, cushion, pillow, and so forth between you and them. For better, encourage them to lie down and relax by slowly stroking them.
- Alternative distraction
This is an instinctive behavior but you can trickly distract them with a fun toy and they will move their tiny little claw from your lap to a…let’s say a woolen ball, for example.
Kneading is a natural behavior of your four-legged friend. It is important to note get mad and punish them for this action, especially now you know why after reading this article. Along with the normal explanation, kneading comes with chewing, and biting might be a symptom of some health problems. Thus, pay attention and contact your vet cause you to know what they say: Better safe than sorry
Sociality in cats: A comparative review: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2015.09.004