Why Does My Cat Knead Me- Understand Cat Psychology Behind Kneading Humans!

A lot of you may have wondered once in a while that why does my cat knead me because there are so many reasons one can think of behind the vague things cats do. Understanding your cat requires patient observation and constant companionship and we are going to help you give an easier start by giving some of the popular reasons why cats knead.


About the habit of cats kneading

why does my cat knead me

Cats have a set of physical gestures that are mostly instinct related and are performed by cats for different reasons. To that set, belongs the cat’s gesture of kneading surfaces which is also sometimes referred to as the action of cats ‘making biscuits’ because the motion appears similar to us kneading dough.

When cats knead, they move their paws in a rhythmic and repetitive motion towards pushing in and out on any soft surface and using the paws alternatively. This action may also involve claws sometimes as some of the cats stretch and retract their claws while kneading and some would keep the claws inwards all the time. You may see some cats using all their fours to knead while some would only use the front ones.

Important aspects of a cat kneading

Kneading is sort of therapeutic for cats and even if it doesn’t feel good to you making you think that why does my cat knead me all the time, be assured that your cat is never doing it out of any intention to harm you.

Cats would only knead the surfaces that are softer and won’t hurt their paws. The activity is supposed to bring them comfort and relaxation and they would never knead hard surfaces.

Kneading is not the thing of every cat because all of them have different personalities. Thus, you don’t have to start worrying if your cat doesn’t knead you as your neighbor’s cat does. Every cat has a different level of social interaction levels and your cat may choose to show affection in a different way as per choice.

At the same time, cats choose the people they want to knead and it only depends on their liking. Your cat might not even choose the same person for kneading every time and you don’t have to think that it is because of any loss of likeability.

Reasons behind cats kneading

why does my cat knead me

Unfortunately enough, we don’t have any cat dictionary to understand the psychology of cats behind the different things they do or that they would come to us themselves to tell how they feel. What is left for us to rely on are calculated guesses and predictions for understanding our cats and you will have to use them too while understanding why is my cat kneading me. Here are some of the reasons that we think fit in and might help you.

Kneading is instinctual for the cats!

Cats start with kneading since their kittenhood where they would knead the bellies of their mothers whenever they wanted to feed. The milk flow would get stimulated in the mother’s body and she would start to feed the kittens. This instinctual urge continues to exist in cats even as they grow and they get the same feeling of comfort and protection when they knead humans.

Cats knead to mark their territory!

This can be one of the prime reasons behind your cat kneading you because cats are very possessive about the things they like and mark them as their possession via various means, one of them being scent marking. Cats have scent glands in their paws just like the different other parts of their body and when they knead the surface with the paws, the glands release their scent onto it. This way, you are scent marked be your cat and next time when you come back home after playing with another cat, your cat would know!

Cats knead to express demand!

Cats can be very demanding and if you have one of those attention-loving cats, then you might have more moments of ‘my cat kneading me’. Your cat may start kneading you at any odd hour to get something they want that can be attention, food, their favorite toy, a back scratch, or anything. They might knead you with greater intensity for instant attention as some of the smart cats tend to process human responses with time and know just the right amount of cuteness they have to exhibit to become irresistible.

Kneading is hypnotic for cats!

Cats feel immense relaxation when they knead any soft surface and even reach a state of trance that depicts their mood. You may see their face becoming expressionless and their bodies completely stationary as they enjoy the sensations running through the paws. This is an exaggerated response to the feeling of comfort they get from this activity after a period of stress.

Cats knead to express affection!

Every cat has a different way of showing its love and trust for its owner and your cat might be the one using kneading as a way to tell you how much it loves and trusts you. This is just one of the physical gestures that cats show to establish a closer bond with their owners as a response to the care and love you give to them. Cats will only knead the person they trust and if they are doing it to you, understand that they trust you.

Cats knead to soften you!

Kneading was also done by the wild cats to make their survival in the wild better where they would knead leaves or grasses to make it cleaner or softer for sleeping over it. So, whenever you think why does my cat knead me, the answer is that probably it is trying to sleep over you and softening the surface out of instinct. Cats also knead meat before eating it, thus, who knows that they are just seeing you as a delectable piece of food that can be eaten.

Dealing with a cat when it kneads

Kneading can be pleasurable or not and you can use these tips to deal with your cat when it does so:

  • Cats may accidentally hurt you sometimes with their claws while kneading and this can be a little painful. If you don’t want them to stop with the kneading but also want to avoid the scratches, keep the claws of your cat trimmed. Watch this video.
  • When you are in the ‘cat kneading me’ moment, guide your cat calmly into the right position in your lap so that it can sleep comfortably.
  • You can even keep any soft cushion or thick blanket on the favorite spot of your cat when you see them arriving for a nap and start to knead.
  • If the behavior turns addictive or you simply don’t like to be kneaded, you can gently call a NO at them. You may have to repeat this response for quite some time till your cat starts understanding that you don’t like the kneading and stop.
  • You can also get rid of cat kneading by simply picking your cat softly and placing it at some other softer spot.
  • To deter the cats from kneading, you can also use their toys. Motion-sensor toys are a good option since they can be activated from anywhere and your cat will jump to get them.
  • The most important thing of all to remember is never punish or shout at your cat when you don’t like their kneading. They knead out of instincts and intend no harm. Remember to be gentle while dealing with them always as harsh treatment can affect your relationship with them.


We hope that all of you cat lovers that have been stuck with why does my cat knead me have gotten the answers. Your kitty surely has mysterious ways to express and all you need to understand them is patience and kindness.

Related posts:

Luna Tran

My name is Luna and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of three lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.