Sam asks: "Why do cats knead the floor, cushions, or blanket before they lie down? I love it and always look forward to it, but why do they do it?"
Ah, the delight of a good knead!
Kittens are born with the instinct to stimulate their mother’s milk, and it was once thought that cats who did this were weaned too early. However, cats who grow up with their mothers can still exhibit kneading behavior, so that theory doesn’t hold true. Large cats will tamp down the grass into a sort of nest before they lie down, so it’s possible kneading is a vestige of the domestic cat’s evolution.
Here’s a fun fact: Cats also have scent glands in their paws. The seemingly affectionate display of comfort and joy is an act of scent marking! And they seem so innocent, right? Unspayed female cats will knead more excessively as a signal of fertility. So whether it’s an act of comfort, gland stimulation, or sex, it seems to mean good times are on the way!
Good cause alert: Help animal victims of Hurricane Sandy TONIGHT -- Thursday, November 8, at 7 p.m. EST by joining our 30-minute live webcast at Stageit. All proceeds go to Staten Island Feral Initiative!
"You Are So Kneady!" by Sarah Donner
As a kitten, I would like when my mom sat on her side
I would press my little hands to induce her mammary glands
It was my instinctive trait to use my paws to stimulate
Now when I want to rest, I pretend your blanket is her breast
In my pads I release scent to mark territory
And it is so comforting to get down with your down bedding
SOURCES: Catster, Discovery
Got a question about cats? Ask a real live Cat Lady in the comments below! See all Ask a Cat Lady videos here.