Do you have a cat that “kneads”? Making cookies” is actually a completely normal behavior for cats. When cats make cookies, they press their paws against something soft, such as a blanket, jumper or a person’s lap, and move them back and forth rhythmically. The scene looks like a furry little baker kneading dough. We are under the impression that many cats only use two paws for this maneuver, but some cats have the “baker’s” gift and use all four paws! Sometimes the act of kneading turns into a complete dance.
There are several possible explanations for cats making cookies:
- As kittens, babies knead their mothers to stimulate milk production. This memory can be comforting to cats, so adult cats may instinctively “go there,” even if they’ve been weaned. Hey, if it feels good, why not indulge?
- Long ago, our feline ancestors made soft places to sleep in the wild. This “nesting” was accomplished by flattening the grass around them. This is probably why you see cats “making cookies.”
- Cats leave their scent on things (and people) they consider “theirs.” At a later stage, kneading also marks territory by releasing pheromones stored in special scent glands in the paws,” says Dr. Julia Donnelly of Aspen Grove Veterinary Care. In fact, the paws are the only part of a cat’s body that sweats. Some people believe that a cat’s kneading of a human is a way of saying “You’re mine!” Some people believe that a cat’s kneading of a human is her way of saying, “You’re mine.”
- Some experts believe that female cats will knead people and purr when they are in heat (or estrus). This is a way to let the male know he is ready to mate.
- We all know that stretching and keeping our bodies strong is good for our health, and cats know this too. Kneading is a great stretching exercise and cats probably do it for that very reason. The cat yoga dictionary should have “cookie-making pose” in it.
When Cats Have Trouble Making Cookies
When kneading, cats may or may not retract their paws. Don’t punish your cat for kneading, even if their claws are digging into your tender flesh. Instead, put a blanket or towel between you and your cat’s claws, or move your cat somewhere else to knead on something soft.
Clipping your cat’s nails will also help alleviate the pain of making cookies.
Finally, consider cat kneading cookies.
Cats are good at kneading, so they should be good at making cookies, right?
But that doesn’t mean they can eat human cookies. Keep the cookies (they’re delicious) and give your cat a tasty treat. Now all is happy!
Tell us: does your cat make or knead cookies? What do you call this behavior?