Why Do Cats Knead? 5 Reasons Cats “Make Biscuits”

Many cat parents are all too familiar with the situation: your kitty has finally calmed down, they’re just about to relax...and then suddenly, their paws spring into action! Before you know it, your feline gives their blanket (or you!) what seems like a tiny massage with their paws. This may leave you wondering, why do cats knead? While these curious creatures are known to have some inexplicable behaviors, there are many reasons that explain why cats knead!

What is Cat Kneading?

As our furry friends start to cozy up, you may see them use their paws to push and pull at their surroundings. This repetitive motion can make it look like your feline is hard at work “making biscuits” like a baker with dough, but the action is widely known as kneading!

Why Does My Cat Knead on Me?

Some kitties like to make biscuits on a blanket or a pillow, while others will go straight for a spot on your body! So, why do cats knead on people or objects? Let's break down some of the reasons.

Reason #1: Mark Their Territory

Scratching is a common way for cats to mark their territory. When they knead on something—or someone—the glands in their paw pads release pheromones that mark the spot. This gives your cat a sense of safety in a familiar space, especially in their home.

Reason #2: Show Affection

Decoding cat body language can often be a challenge because our furry friends may show affection in less obvious ways. While a feline’s claws can come out while they knead, they typically are not trying to hurt you. In fact, it’s likely their way of showing how comfortable they are around you! If your kitty cuddles up and begins to knead on your body, take it as a display of love!

Reason #3: Help Them Relax

Another reason why cats make biscuits is because it’s relaxing! This is why most kitties tend to knead when they are lying down in a comfortable spot or about to take a nap. Stretching their paws on a soft surface feels good and even helps relax their muscles. As a bonus, the repetitive movement is also soothing, which is why fresh biscuits are often accompanied by a soft purr.

Reason #4: Seek Attention

If your feline wants attention, they will let you know! When your cat kneads on your body, they may be telling you they are hungry or bored—especially if they have spent some time alone. You can prevent cat boredom by planning playtime sessions throughout the day or offering a toy for mental stimulation.

Reason #5: Satisfy a Natural Instinct

Kneading may be a behavior that some kittens learn early on and don’t grow out of. Newborns knead their mother’s belly to help stimulate milk production, so if you ever wonder why your cat tries to make biscuits on your belly, it could just be their primal instinct kicking in!


Related: Cat Behavior Explained: 7 Quirky Kitty Habits


orange cat kneading a person

Do Cats Ever Stop Kneading?

Most cats will keep kneading into adulthood and there’s no clear way to stop it! However, you can trim your feline’s nails with a cat nail clipper to help reduce the chances of a ripped blanket or an accidental scratch. There are several possible reasons why your cat kneads, but this harmless action is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some cuddly bonding time together!

Kneading isn’t the only bizarre behavior our feline friends like to do! Learn all about the cat zoomies and what they may mean.