Domestic cat, or Felis Catus in Latin, is one of the most popular pets. Many people take in the furry, carnivorous mammals as pets. Domesticated cats or house cats receive a great deal of praise for their companionship. Over 70 distinct breeds exist for the feline companion.
Cats can often be spotted kneading i.e. using front paws for pushing in and out on a surface, alternating between left and right. It is a very common behaviour in the felines. The behaviour is also known as kneading dough or making biscuits by some.
Most of the time cats can be seen kneading on soft surfaces, including blankets, pillows, and even human skin. However, it is uncertain as to why cats do this. There are several hypotheses available for explaining the nature, which we’ll be discussing next.
Hypothesis 1 – A Way of Settling Down
Before humans started domesticating cats, wild cats used kneading to settle down foliage. This was done in order to prepare a soft surface that can be later used to rest or give birth to kittens.
Now that cats have accustomed to be domesticated and live aside their human friends, the act of kneading is just in order to make the surface better so that it can be used for settling down comfortably on the surface.
Hypothesis 2 – Associating Kneading Motion with the Nursing of Mother
Another hypothesis trying to explain the kneading behaviour in cats suggests that cats tend to do so when they feel happy or content. This might be because cats relate the motion of kneading with the comfort and nursing of their mothers.
The hypothesis is further backed by the fact that some cats can evidently be seen suckling after they finish kneading a surface.
Hypothesis 3 – Nostalgia
One of the most widely believed hypotheses suggests that the kneading behaviour in cats is a reminiscence of cat’s childhood or kittenhood. This is because, during younger years, kittens tend to knead the area nearby mother cat’s teat whilst they are milk-fed. Doing so helps in promoting the milk flow.
Hypothesis 4 – To Claim an Area
Cats have scent glands in the pads of their paws. When cats knead, their scent glands produce a distinctive odor. Hence, a hypothesis about cats kneading suggests that kneading is a way of cats to add scent to an area to claim it as their own.
Though it’s still not clear as why cats do kneading but it is surely an enjoyable thing the felines love to do.