Cat kneading owner.

Referred to as “making biscuits,” cats like to knead soft surfaces, like your tummy or a blanket. Sometimes they knead with their claws extended, which can be painful if they’re kneading on their human. This quirky behavior is a large part of why we love our feline friends so much, but why do cats knead so much, and should you discourage kneading behavior?

Kittens Knead for Mother’s Milk

Cats don’t think about many of the things they do. Their kitty instincts kick in and direct their actions. When they’re kittens feeding on their mother, they instinctively knead her chest to stimulate the flow of milk. And when their tummies are full, they fall asleep. It’s not surprising, then, that your cat might feel comforted and safe by kneading something soft.

Kneading and Purring Makes Cat Owners Feel Good Too!

When a cat kneads their human’s chest or belly and purrs, cat owners benefit from feelings of contentment and happiness. The more you pet your cat, the more he kneads and purrs. Everybody is happy until the claws come out, and the drooling begins!

Can Cats Be Trained To Keep Their Claws Tucked in While Kneading?

Cats are responsive to training, especially if you offer kitty snacks. But can you train your cat to withdraw its claws? Probably not. But you can distract your cat with food or toys to interrupt painful kneading. If you do, you’ll lose the joy of connecting with your pet.

What are some other things you can do to enjoy the contentment your pet provides without getting hurt?

  • Keep special cat pillows handy, so when you settle down to watch tv or read, a kitty pillow on your lap will protect you from sharp claws.
  •  A folded blanket will also protect you from kitty claws and excessive drooling and may be easier to wash than a pillow.
  • If you don’t like your cat on your lap, try to discourage him with food, treats, or toys. You can also try a calming pheromone spray on a kitty bed to encourage his kneading away from you.

Don’t Scold, Distract Your Cat From Destructive or Painful Kneading

Kitty’s claws are sharp and can tear up fabric surfaces. Cats can learn to scratch on scratching posts or other designated surfaces. But kneading is an entirely different matter. Because your cat instinctively kneads, scolding him will create confusion and even distrust.

Keep Kitty Claws Trimmed to Avoid Damage From Kneading

Good grooming habits for all pets keep them looking good and help deepen the bond between pet and owner. Nail trims can be scary, though, unless your cat has gotten used to having his feet handled as a kitten. Can you trim your cat’s claws at home without getting scratched? Here are some tips for nail trimming:

  • During petting sessions, play, and grooming times, handle your cat’s feet and toes.
  • Cats can be easily spooked. Let your pet get used to the nail trimmer and the sounds it makes when clipping.
  • Make sure you are both comfortable and relaxed before you start.
  • If your pet fusses after a few nail trims, give him a treat, and set him free. He’ll learn not to be afraid of a pedicure.

At All Pet Animal Hospital, we welcome your questions about pet care. Call us at (724) 444-6600 for a wellness check and learn more about cat behavior and care. We will even trim your kitty’s nails!