You’ve probably seen your cat knead—this behavior is characterized by the alternated pressing of the front paws into a soft object. It’s common behavior, but what’s behind it? Learn more here from a vet in Rochester, NY.


Most of the time, you’ll see you cat knead before bedding down for a nap. It’s thought that the wild ancestors of our domesticated cats kneaded grass or dirt in the field, softening it up for napping, and have effectively transferred this trait down through the generations of cats that followed.

Nursing Instinct

Kittens often knead their mother’s belly during the nursing period; this is believed to stimulate milk production in the mother. Adult cats might associate the positive feelings of kneading during nursing with the actual movement!

Territory Marking

Your cat’s paws contain scent glands, and scent is released into an object when kneaded. In this fashion, a cat might be marking her territory when kneading. This could be a favorite napping spot, a corner of the couch, or your leg!

Does your cat require veterinary attention? Would you like further insights into your feline friend’s health or behavior? Set up an appointment at your veterinarian Rochester, NY clinic today.

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