4 Reasons Why Cats Make Biscuits

Why do cats make biscuits? It's a question every cat owner has thought at least once. We all watch our cats knead their adorable little paws either on us, or a nice fluffy blanket. Sometimes they purr and take a nap, and other times they just stare, contently kneading away. It's what cats do, but the question is why?

Ollie has a special pillow that he kneads while looking out the window. Sometimes he purrs. He's ridiculously cute. Ahem. Anyway.

calico tabby kitten standing on a white fluffy blanket with a gray background

Here are 4 reasons why cats make biscuits, or knead their paws.

  • Nursing Kittens - When kittens knead during nursing, it's has a functional reason. Nursing kittens knead their paws to stimulate milk while nursing from the mother cat. This is an instinctive behavior that all kittens do, and it's thought that it carries over into adulthood. 
mother cat with 4 nursing kittens
  • Marking Territory - All cats have scent glands on their paws. The action of cats kneading is one way they can leave a scent when they have been somewhere. This is particularly useful for cat communication and when cats are in heat or looking for a partner. The scent from their kneading can also act as a warning to other cats.
  • Comfort & Contentment - A happy cat can be a kneading cat. Kneading their paws is a soothing action for your cat, and they will knead when they are comfortable and content. Often cats kneading is accompanied by purring and relaxed body language. Cats will also knead thier paws on their people to show affection and signal that they are comfortable around you. 
    orange cat looking up at a woman who has her hands by his face
  • Making Their Bed - When cats are ready to take a nap, they will often knead the area where they'll be laying down. Cats kneading before a nap is thought to have come from when cats were wild and needed to tamp down grass for a comfortable spot to sleep, and the action is held over to domesticated cats. Cats are going to make their bed as comfortable for them as possible, and kneading is what does it.

Sometimes cats will obsessively knead their paws. This could be a sign of stress in your cat, and they are using kneading as a self soothing behavior. For instance, if your cat spends large amounts of time alone, you can help alleviate your cat's stress by playing with their favorite toys with them or cuddling them as often as you can.

Regardless, it's always a good idea to check in with your vet if you notice your cat's behavior changing suddenly.

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