Facts about the animal kingdom

Why Does My Cat Knead Me?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: October 10, 2017
Why Does My Cat Knead Me?

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If you've got a cat at home you'll probably know what we're talking about; cats are animals that love physical contact and interacting with those who they live with. Some regular behaviors include rubbing up against you, asking for affection, scratching, making sounds and kneading you. But have you ever wondered why does my cat knead me?

We'll resolve this doubt in this AnimalWised article. Find out why your cat kneads you - and why they takes the opportunity to stick its nails into you:

You may also be interested in: Why Is My Cat Pretending to Nurse?

When do cats start kneading?

Many experts agree that the cats start kneading when they are new born kittens. Right after they're born, kittens knead their mother's nipples to get more milk out. Besides creating a very special bond, physical contact is also a sign to their mothers that they should not stop nursing them.

Cats naturally develop this behavior, and they keep doing it into adulthood because they find it pleasurable and reminds them of being young and comforted.

Why Does My Cat Knead Me? - When do cats start kneading?

When they start growing, kittens investigate everything around them: cushions, sofas, carpets, etc. At the same time they begin to learn of the pleasures of sharpening their claws, which they love, as you'll probably already know.

By this stage, now weaned, the young cat connects with the environment and communicates through it. A curious cat, who explores and touches things, is a very good sign. If your cat occasionally sticks its nails into you, it means it considers you part of that environment.

Why Does My Cat Knead Me? -

Why does your cat knead you?

When your cat starts to knead a human, instead of - for instance - a cushion, they're trying to communicate that they loves you; they feel as comfortable with you as they did with their mother, and they hope that you feel the same.

At the same time, your cat knows that you find this experience to be pleasurable and relaxing, so you should reward them with strokes, massages and kind words when they knead you.

Therefore, we can safely say that a kneading cat is a happy cat, and they arein an enviable state of relaxation and tranquility.

Why Does My Cat Knead Me? - Why does your cat knead you?

There are other signs that your cat is happy and trusts you, like rubbing their head against you, purring, raising their tail, licking you and even giving you a little bite. Learn the 10 signs that my cat loves me in this article at OneHowTo.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Cat Knead Me?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.


  • It's important for you to find the time to cut and file down your cat's nails, so that you don't suffer pain when they knead you.
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1 comment
I think we should consider whether they are actually attempting to correct a health issue they perceive, like a lack of circulation in some area. I had a cat years ago that would always knead me in the same spot, I think below my appendix. More so when I wasn't feeling well. That cat died and we got a new kitten. This one kneads a bit higher up but always on that same side. Maybe they sense I need more lymph circulation or something, and they know how to stimulate milk flow so they instinctively give it a try. I like it, especially if my clothing is thick enough to keep the claws out.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Will,

There is some research to suggest cats can detect disease in humans, mainly due to their acute sense of smell. However, it is unlikely this kneading behavior is related to it.
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Why Does My Cat Knead Me?