Why Do Cats Knead?
Cat owners from time immemorial have always wondered, "Why do cats knead?" This strange and somewhat baffling motion confuses a good number of both cat and non-cat owners. Cats are strange creatures. They have a host of traits and behaviors that are uniquely feline. They curl up ever so tightly when they take a nap. They groom themselves thoroughly after a good meal. They even dig a whole, do their business and cover it afterward. They even purr when they are happy. One of the most perplexing rituals though is when cats knead. That familiar kneading motion where they they push out and then pull in with their front claws, alternating between the right and left limbs is a frequent sight among cat owners.
So why do cats knead? There are several popular theories that explain why cats knead. A popular school of thought is the behavior is a throwback to their younger days. As kittens, cat knead on their mother's teats to stimulate the smooth flow of milk. Proponents of this theory say that cats knead mainly because of the reward associated with this action.
Another theory that may explain why cats knead is that some of our feline friends were weaned from their mothers a little too early. They act like a kitten kneading a towel, a pillow or your lap in the same way they would kneaded on their mother. The kneading motion, some say, provide a type of emotional security for cats.
The most widely accepted theory that explains why cats knead is they are marking their territory. Cats have special scent glands in the pads of their feet. By kneading, cats are able to leave their personal scent behind. It is a way for them to stake a claim to a favorite spot or hideout.
There may be several possible reasons why cats knead but most experts agree that cats knead when they are happy. So no matter what the reason is, when you see your cat knead, you can be quite sure they are happy and content.