Why Do Cats Knead Blankets?

A cat arranges her bed in a blanket for security.
i the cat image by Milena Kowalska from Fotolia.com

When cats are kneading blankets, they use a motion much like making bread, thus the term kneading. Cats are extremely happy when kneading rhythmically nd often have a far-away, calm look in the eyes accompanied by the sweet sound of purring.

Mimicking Nursing

Cats knead a soft cuddly blanket as a habit from when they were kittens. A kitten will knead her paws against her mother’s stomach when she is nursing. The pressure from the pressing motion stimulates the flow of mom’s milk through her nipples.

Arranging Bedding

A cat kneads a blanket and turns around to arrange her bedding for a nap. She shapes the blanket into a cuddly bed so she feels secure while sleeping, just like when she cuddled with her mom at a young age.

Ancient feline ancestors would knead tall grasses to form a bed in the wilderness that was protected from predators by grass surrounding a sort of nest.

Marking Territory

Cats have scent glands in the pads on the paws. As a cat kneads, the scent is released onto the blanket fabric, thus marking the territory as her own. Multiple cat homes encourage more kneading to mark a blanket as each cat claims a specific area to rest.

Unspayed Females

An unspayed female cat will knead a blanket when she is coming into heat. Her scent glands give off an odor for the benefit of male cats to realize her cycle. As humans, we cannot smell cat pad odors, but other felines definitely can. This is also a form of nesting instinct for a female cat.


If your kitty wants to sit on your lap and knead on you, it is a form of pleasure and satisfaction. Place a blanket on your lap to protect your from her claws and enjoy her pleasure.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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