Why is My Cat “Making Biscuits”? More About Cat Kneading

Cats are curious and mysterious animals that show their affection and emotions through their physical reactions. Although some cats are more vocal than others, most cats use their paws, eyes, nose, and tail to communicate with their owners.

Possibly the best feeling is when a cat jumps on your body and begins to ‘make biscuits’. Not only is it a delightful thing to see, but it brings me warmth as typically cats do this to show love and affection.

What is the Purpose of Cats Kneading?

Sadly, we don’t understand cats just yet, but from what experts have noticed, when a cat is kneading you, it means that they hold affection for you. Cats learn this technique from their mother as they would do this to her to encourage milk flow. However, as cats age, they begin to understand that kneading no longer brings milk.

Instead, kneading now is about affection and emotions. When cats do this to you, they are looking for comfort and they are finding it in you. This is the best time to pet your cat and give them love as they are calm as they knead you.

Sometimes, when cats are kneading at you, it means they are being possessive. This is especially true if the cat is looking at another person in the group. The gesture can translate to a light “No, you are mine!”

Why Does My Cat Knead on Objects Inside?

Before these cats were domesticated, they were scavengers and hunters who made their beds out of natural resources like rocks, dirt, and twigs. Since they couldn’t grab objects like humans, they would knead the ground, pushing the objects to the side.

When your cat kneads objects inside or outside, it could mean that they are trying to build a shelter or a home for themselves. Sometimes, it is a message to their owners that they need a living space that is comfortable. However, it usually just means that they are recreating a primal behavior that once represented survival.

Kneading for Fun or Marking their Territory?

Sometimes, when cats appear to be providing us affection, they are actually marking their territory by rubbing us with their bodies and kneading our skin. Has your cat ever rubbed themselves on your leg, back and forth? This is because they are showing you affection and marking you with their scent. Their scent tells other animals to back off. Kneading can sometimes be done to claim you as theirs in the presence of other people. It is an important part of a cat’s DNA and they be allowed to express themselves. However, under certain circumstances, there can be a downside to kneading …it can hurt!

Why Does Kneading Sometimes Hurt?

As your cat purrs and moves their paws back and forth, you may feel a sharp pain as their nails prick your skin. While kneading is rarely intense enough to open a wound, it can be painful if your cat’s nails are too long. On average, you should cut your cat’s nails once every two weeks.

How to Cut your Cat’s Nails at Home

If you want to enjoy your cat kneading on you, trim their nails! Often, this is something that you can safely do at home, avoiding the stress cats experience when they’re transported to a grooming facility. Cats are much calmer at home, and if you acclimate them to nail trimming as kittens, you should be able to continue the process throughout their adult life. Ask your Veterinarian to recommend the ideal manicure tool.

Since a cat’s flesh does not extend to the top of their nails, nail trimming is not painful. Nail trimming performed every two weeks will keep nails from curling under or piercing the pad on the bottom of the paw. It also makes it much easier to know exactly the right amount of nail to remove. While squirming and hissing will accompany a well intentioned nail trim, a 2nd pair of hands to scruff your cat will help to prevent any mishaps! Remember, you can always have nail trims performed at your Veterinary Hospital or feline groomer if you’d rather not try it at home.

Cats Kneading and Cat Nail Trimming Goes Hand in Hand

Anyone who has experienced a cat kneading will tell you it is a moment of sheer joy!  Despite their reputation, cats are affectionate and devoted to their humans, and they’re skilled at expressing their affection!

If you have any questions in regards to your cat kneading, or cat nail trims, let our veterinarians in Holmdel, NJ, know during your pet’s next appointment. Give us a call at (732) 671-3110