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Why cats are kneading

Most cat behavior is heartwarming and deeply confusing . Perhaps the most obvious example is something there’s no scientific name for — we can only call it “kneading dough” or “making the biscuits.” Kitty owners watch their floof children do this all the […]

[My comment: One of my cats do this all the time. She does it on my forearm standing on my chest (while I’m sitting in my chair leaning back). It is like a massage and it is the most suiting experience. She can go on for 10-20 minutes doing this. She is purring and obviously enjoys this as much as I do.]

Most cat behavior is heartwarming and deeply confusing. Perhaps the most obvious example is something there’s no scientific name for — we can only call it “kneading dough” or “making the biscuits.”

Kitty owners watch their floof children do this all the time, but what’s really going on here? Is this all an elaborate marketing scheme for a Pixar movie about a cat baker? While researchers don’t have one concrete explanation, they’ve got some pretty compelling ideas about the science of kitty kneading.

“This kneading, also known as ‘making bread’ or ‘making biscuits,’ is an instinctive feline behavior kittens display shortly after they’re born,” Dr. Karen Becker, a veterinarian and creator of the Healthy Pets blog, writes on her site. “The reason for the movement in kittenhood is to stimulate the flow of milk from the mother’s mammary glands.” Cats who knead in adulthood could be “showing contentment,” according to Becker, or simply marking their territory since cat’s paws contain sweat glands.

While there’s always the chance that a kitty kneading is your cat’s attempt to claim you as their own — which, of course, you are — experts say kneading is probably as tender and adorable as it looks.

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