Why Cats Knead (aka make biscuits)

Cats Knead for many reasons but none should be alarming to you. They do this to show pleasure, mark territory and make a comfy bed.

Cats have some of the cutest “cat-isms” and “purrsonalities” but a kitty kneading can be mesmerizing to watch. Cats knead for many reasons but none of those should be alarming.

You lay down on the couch and your kitty comes crawling up to your chest and starts making some biscuits on your belly. Why does he do that?

Cats will knead by “rhythmically pushing their paws in and out against an object“. The object is usually soft like a blanket or your lap and this started when they were kittens pushing milk out of their mother’s tummy while feeding. Some cats will continue the suckling behavior later into life because it is comforting to them. We see this behavior in kitties more often when they were weaned too early – or not weaned at all.

A few other reasons why cats knead are:

  • To make a bed. Wild cats go through this kneading process in tall grass to make a resting place. Since our kitties have 95.6% of the same DNA as a tiger, it makes sense that they do this instinctually.
  • To show pleasure. When cats are content and happy they’ll knead to convey comfort. This is why your kitty climbs up on your chest, lays down and makes biscuits on you. This is also why some felines will knead the air instead of an object. We call that “making air biscuits”. 🙂
  • To mark territory. Just like when cats rub their faces up against you or an object, they will also knead to mark their territory. Kitties have scent glands in their paw pads so when they knead your lap or chest it’s just their way of claiming you as their own.

So there’s no “knead” to worry if your cat is making biscuits all the time. It’s just a sign that you’re doing something right, because they feel comfortable, loved and content!

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