Why Do Cats Knead? Exploring the Many Names and Reasons Behind this Feline Behaviour

Why Do Cats Knead? Exploring the Many Names and Reasons Behind this Feline Behaviour

If you've ever owned a cat, you may have noticed that they have a curious habit of kneading with their paws. This behaviour, often described as "making biscuits," is one of the many unique quirks that make cats so fascinating. But what is the reason behind this behaviour, and why do cats knead? In this blog post, we'll explore the various names people have for cat kneading and the different reasons why cats do it.

The Many Names for Cat Kneading

Cat owners have come up with many different names for cat kneading over the years. Some of the most common names include:

  1. Making Biscuits: This name refers to the way that cats push their paws in and out, as if kneading dough to make biscuits.

  2. Making Bread: This name is similar to making biscuits, and both describe the rhythmic motion that cats make with their paws.

  3. Milk Treading: This name comes from the behaviour that kittens exhibit when nursing from their mother. They knead their paws against their mother's belly to stimulate milk production.

  4. Paw Massage: This name is often used to describe the kneading motion that cats make when they are relaxed or content.

  5. Happy Feet: This name is used to describe the way that cats knead when they are feeling happy and content.

The Reasons Why Cats Knead

  1. Instinctual Behaviour: One of the main reasons why cats knead is because it is an instinctual behaviour that they learn as kittens. Kittens knead their mother's belly while nursing to stimulate milk production and create a comfortable space to rest.

  2. Marking Territory: Another reason why cats knead is to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands in their paws, and kneading can help spread their scent around a particular area.

  3. Relaxation: Kneading can also be a way for cats to relax and release tension. The rhythmic motion can be soothing and help cats feel calm and content.

  4. Affection: Kneading can be a sign of affection from a cat. Cats may knead their owners to show that they are happy and content.

  5. Comfort: Kneading can also be a way for cats to create a comfortable space to rest. By kneading and creating a soft surface, cats can make a cozy spot to curl up and sleep.

  6. Memory: Some cats may knead as a way to remember fond memories from their kittenhood. The motion can bring back feelings of comfort and security from their time with their mother.


Cat kneading, also known as making biscuits or making bread, is a unique behaviour that is both fascinating and charming. While the reasons behind this behaviour may vary, it is clear that kneading is an important part of a cat's instinctual behaviour and emotional well-being. By understanding the various reasons why cats knead, cat owners can better understand and appreciate their feline friends. So the next time your cat starts making biscuits, sit back and enjoy the moment, knowing that your cat is happy, relaxed, and comfortable.

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