Your cat is making biscuits! It’s weird, right? Well, if the meaning of this sentence were actually real, you would have a collection of biscuits at your kitchen counter whenever you crave some. However, this isn’t the true story. This is just a broad interpretation of a unique habit that looks similar to kneading the dough for biscuits.
But is this a sign of your cat being hungry? Or is it angry? Let us decode everything you need to learn about why your cat is always making biscuits!
What is making biscuits? Why does my cat do that?
Kneading or making biscuits is when the cat alternates the use of its paws while working in a rhythmic fashion. They usually do this on a squishy and soft surface. Cats tend to knead on soft beds, blankets, or even on their human partners.
To your eyes, it might look like the cat is actually kneading dough in order to make some delicious cookies or bread. However, keep in mind that this habit by your kitty isn’t just for time pass or fun. While there isn’t a definite answer to why cats tend to knead, several theories might give a vivid insight into what this “biscuit making” process is.
Here are 5 possible reasons that could justify your cat making biscuits:
1. Instinctual Behavior from Childhood:
Normally, kittens tend to knead the mother’s tummy whenever they feel hungry or are searching for their teats to drink milk. Therefore, a kitten that is nursing would instinctively knead the mother’s abdomen in order to stimulate milk production.
The kitten uses this motion to satisfy their needs. This habit is mostly associated with it being an instinctively good thing that passes on to the adult life stage. This biscuit-making act could just be your cat’s habit from childhood that hasn’t gone away.
2. Way to Show They Care:
Often when kittens or cats knead, this is their way to show their content and happiness. This could be noticed after you give your cat an amazing petting or massaging session. They would start kneading on your lap after a satisfactory session that helps them relax. This is their way to pet your back.
However, you might have to watch out for this petting back as it could be painful for you. Also, while they knead on you, the sharp nails might dig into your lap. You might feel like scolding the cat for this act, but make sure you don’t simply gently lift away the paws to ensure they don’t hurt you. This is because the cat thinks they are pleasuring you the way you are. So, make sure you try not to scold them when they try to comfort you.
You can avoid this from happening by opting for routine nail trimming or nail guards.
3. Cozying up Their Resting Place:
When cats used to live in the wild, they kneaded the tall grasses in order to make space cozy to rest and sleep. Most of the wildcats tend to bring this ancestral trait to the modern-day setup. Therefore, even if you have provided your cat with the most comfortable bedding set up, they will suffice to their habits and knead their bed before sleeping.
4. In Order to Mark the Territory:
Another reason for your cat to knead is when they want to mark their territory. This is especially possible if there is a new cat in your area or if they smell some strange animal in your house. It could also be especially relevant if they are planning to mate.
Cat’s paws tend to have several scent glands known to secrete a unique scent or pheromone. This isn’t something you might be able to smell. However, other cats in the area can surely smell it. Kneading a comfy space or even a person is surely a discreet manner in which the cat is letting other cats know about their presence.
If you want to redirect this particular behavior, you can do so by providing them with an appropriate post to scratch. Also, make sure you reward them whenever they tend to use it. This will help them understand that this post can be used for kneading purposes.
5. Feeling Needy:
If yours is a very needy cat, you might see them kneading way too often. This is their way to solicit your attention. This is especially true if this particular behavior of yours led to them getting the required attention back sometime.
In case the cat purrs when they knead your thighs, it is their way to show that they need something from you while being persuasive. In most cases, this could be a call for food. However, if they have recently had their food, it is better not to attend to this call.
You can also train and correct your cat’s behavior by rewarding them whenever they don’t dig their claws on you.
6. Pent-Up Energy:
Although cats are known to be sleepy heads, they also need a certain degree of daily exercise to ensure that they don’t have any pent-up energy left in their body. If they do not get enough exercise during the day, they might feel the need to knead in order to let go of their build-up energy.
If you do see this happening and the reason isn’t the same as the ones mentioned above, make sure you try to engage with your kitty or at least get them involved with other kittens to ensure that they do get some playtime or exercise.
Here is a quick guide that helps you understand your cat’s kneading behavior with accurate solutions:
|Instinctual Childhood Behavior
|Long-Term Reward Training for Behavior Correction
|Try to spend more time with your cat or take them to cat parks to help them play and let the pent-up energy be released
|Cozying the Resting Place
|Add Scratch-Free Mattresses to Ensure the Bedding Doesn’t Tear Up
|Marking the Territory
|Check if there is a cat nearby or if you have another cat at home, check if they are looking for a mate. In case the latter is true, you can get the cat neutered
|Bring in more toys for the cat to play with or keep them in the company of other friendly cats
|Try to spend more time with your cat or take them to cat parks to help them play and let the pent up energy be released
Kneading is one of the most emotionally rich behaviors in a cat’s habits. From kittenhood, cats instinctively knead their mother’s belly to get milk out of the breasts. As they grow older, their milk needs diminish, but their emotional attachment to this gesture does not.
Cats eventually learn to use this gesture to express enriching and positive emotions like happiness, comfort, and relaxation. They are more likely to engage in rhythmic kneading as they grow older. You can find a relaxed feline kneading on you, a soft cushion, or any other comforting surface.
But kneading is not inherently a way to express only positive emotions. Although not seen very commonly, some cats use this gesture to showcase aggression, stress, anxiety, triggers, discomfort, and pain. This way, kneading is an emotionally rich habit of letting their owners know what they feel.
While the emotional implications of kneading in cats are pretty clear, it can also take a turn for the worse. Understanding the difference between healthy kneading and problematic behavior is crucial to ensure your cat does not go overboard or have an underlying issue.
Healthy kneading is generally characterized by soft and rhythmic kneading, showing your cat is in a good mood. On the other hand, problematic kneading can mean a surge of negative emotions in your cat. They may be stricken with anxiety about something, have an underlying medical issue, or may not have proper training about being domesticated. You can spot this type of kneading when they are being extra aggressive and kneading excessively like it is an obsession.
You need to monitor your cat’s behavior closely and try to understand their triggers. Mostly, cats who do this have problems like arthritis or stress. The environment around them may also be too much for them to take, so this behavior prevails.
A cat’s environment profoundly impacts its behavior, health, and overall well-being. If you have seen problematic or erratic behavior in your cat, you can agree that the ambiance is taking a toll on it.
As a conscious pet parent, you must provide your feline with a comforting and safe environment.
- Install cozy resting spaces, scratching toys, and stimulating toys around the house to make it more accommodating to its needs.
- Keep playtime a balanced activity between fun and activeness.
- Keep your cat’s mealtimes regular by remembering to feed at designated intervals and occasionally providing a treat. If you cannot feed on time, install an automatic feeding setup to do the job for you.
- Provide the cat with a clean litter box whenever they may need it.
- Take care of regular health checkups when you notice something is wrong and sometimes for no reason to make sure everything is okay.
Cats can only thrive in calm, peaceful, and loving environments. To be a good parent, you must ensure they do not feel triggered and engage in erratic behavior.
As it is clear by now, kneading is naturally a positive gesture by cats. However, they may excessively start using it to express underlying emotions. While showing hunger and asking for attention is normal for cats, and they may use kneading to meet their needs, it is not normal for your cat to become aggressive in doing so. You may note a change in your cat’s behavior if it goes from kneading gently on soft surfaces to doing it excessively. Situations like these demand proper veterinary attention.
Do not overlook sudden changes in your cat’s behavior since it may mean anything from digestive disorders to arthritis and the discomfort involved in all these situations. Your vet can provide comprehensive answers to your cat’s changed behavior so you can address them effectively.
Keep in mind that making biscuits or kneading is a normal activity for your feline friend. This is one among many ways for your cat to bond or celebrates its time with you. However, keep in mind that it could be a sign requiring your attention in cases such as a skipped meal. So, the next time your cat does this, ask yourself if you forgot to feed them!