Friday, April 2, 2010

The Need To Knead

Nope your cat is not readying bread or pizza dough for baking, practicing for a position as a kitty masseuse or applying CPR when he or she alternately pushes out and pulls in with their front paws with a glazed expression on their face, your cat is performing the act of "kneading" and there are a few theories as to why this behavior exists.

According to Wikipedia one theory is that kneading may have an origin that goes waaaay back to the cats' wild ancestors when they used to have to smash down grass or foliage to make a nest to rest in.

Another more commonly known theory is the cat is returning to a "happier place", kitten-hood, where it used to knead it's Mama's teats in order to extract milk. If you study the cats face while it is kneading you may sense a degree of urgency as he kneads as in "feed me now"! Some cats are more subtle and have an expression of sheer kitty nirvana on their faces as they knead. Some feel that cats knead from being weaned too early from their Mama's and some feel it is a result of being weaned too late!

Other cats (unfortunately in the case of my cat) according to Wikipedia "have been observed to exhibit sexual movements, not unlike a dog "humping" a human leg" which can be accompanied by kneading and suckling. Not so much fun when they choose YOU as the object of their affection.

No matter what the reason please don't disturb your cat's trance-like state when it is kneading. Your cat is kneading because it is content, because it views you or the blanket, pillow, stuffed animal or whatever object it chooses to knead on as a maternal figure and just like us  cats enjoy the security and comfort of a little motherly love.

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