We recently had a friend ask us why some cats ‘smurgle’ while other cats remain independent – and it got me thinking…
According to the Urban Dictionary, ‘smurgle’ means “A singularly feline display of affection. The kneading, purring, nuzzling, or salivating that accompanies feline affection toward humans.” Our second youngest, Mr. Oliver Twist, does this every time we lay down – and it doesn’t matter where we are laying. It always starts with the kneading (or as we call it, “making biscuits”) then the purring, then the drooling. Adrienne can take the kneading much longer than I because I’ve got sensitive skin, and once those claws get through the blanket and clothes…I’m done. 🙂 Still, the question remains: Why do cats smurgle?
1. Making Beds
Have you ever fluffed your pillow before getting into bed? Cats do the same thing by kneading their area. Sometimes it’s a blanket, pillow or soft area on a couch their kneading to make a bed. Other times it can be random newspapers or tissue paper in a box. 🙂
2. Showing Affection
Let’s face it – cats can be the most affectionate animals on the planet. When they love you, they let you know. One way is by smurgling you to death. Don’t fight it (until it hurts) – let it be. And love them back…better.
3. Marking Their Human
Cats like to mark their territory. Some cats are rather possessive of their humans, and they’ll often give extra ‘smurgles’ to their humans if there are other cats in the house that they feel might steal their human’s love. Usually this happens with cats who are not the alpha of the household. Just make sure you love all of your cats equally. You’re the ‘parent’. Just as with children, it’s important not to pick favorites.
Cats instinctually start kneading from birth. It’s programmed into them in order to help push out the milk from their mother while feeding. Cats can create a memory from this joyous occasion and will sometimes recreate that memory by kneading every time they feel comfortable.
5. Weaned Too Early
This one usually results in what I will call ‘super smurgles’. The first cat that I had after moving out of my parents house for college was taken away from his mother while still an infant. He liked to sleep on my head at night, suck my hair and knead my head until he finally fell asleep. I would wake up with a soaking wet head and sometimes with mild skull scratches. 😉 Cats who are weaned too early will do this from memory as well, but seem to still be looking for some type of motherly love. If you have one of these… be the mother they long to find. 🙂
We’ll never know exactly why our kitties ‘smurgle’ as much as they do, but does it really matter? As long as our kitties are healthy and happy – let ’em give and accept all the love their little hearts’ desire.