Why does a cat wrinkle me with its paws: reasons and their meaning - Inc News
, author: Ermakova M.

Why does a cat wrinkle me with its paws: reasons and their meaning

Suddenly, your cat comes up to you and begins to knead your belly, leg, or other part of your body, moving its front paws rhythmically.

The question of why a cat, when lying on top of you, begins to move its front paws, as if massaging, is one of the most frequently asked questions among those who share their lives with representatives of the feline family.

This is certainly a curious behavior: suddenly your cat comes up to you and begins to knead your stomach, leg or other part of your body, moving its front paws rhythmically. A cat can accompany this movement with a purr or meow, and sometimes it does not do it on the owner at all, but, for example, on a sofa or bed. Some cats "knead" with their claws retracted, otherwise they release them. So why do they do it? Let's tell.

Origin of this behavior

Cats learn to knead when they are still kittens and are still lactating. Kneading the breast with the front paws helps push the milk out of the mother so that it comes out better and the kitten can drink it more easily. Thus, kneading becomes a reflex that the cat maintains throughout its life.

It used to be thought that adult kneading was not a natural behavior, but a problem resulting from premature weaning.

However, over time, it has been proven that the vast majority of cats continue to mash into adulthood, no matter how sooner or later they were separated from their mothers.

Just because the mush was originally meant to make it easier for the kitten to feed doesn't mean your cat loves you because she wants to feed herself or because she thinks you're her mother. It simply means that this behavior is acquired early in his life. This reflex is very closely related to relaxation and well-being.

Reasons why a cat "kneads"

There are many theories that try to explain. We have compiled the most popular among cat behavior experts.

1. The cat is preparing to rest. The first reason cats warm up is to prepare a comfortable place to rest. In this case, this behavior may be due to the need for cats living in the wild to crush leaves and branches on the ground in order to create a comfortable place for themselves to rest. Regardless of origin, both females and males can instinctively begin to knead a blanket, a sofa, or you, so that they can then lie down in greater comfort.

2. The cat marks its territory. Cats are territorial animals, so another reason a feline might knead a surface or person is to mark its territory. Cats have a number of scent glands (that is, those that produce scent and pheromones) on their paw pads that are activated when the surface is kneaded.

You can assume that your cat is trying to notice what she is kneading, including herself, if she also rubs her cheeks, chin, or whiskers. This happens most often (but not only) when several cats live in the same house. So, if your cat is petting you, she may be trying to tell the world (and your other pets) that you are hers.

3. In moments of happiness. In many cases, the cat kneads simply because she is comfortable and at ease. The cat associates kneading with a situation of great well-being: when she was small and safe with her mother and feeding. This is why kneading can occur as a reflex when the animal is relaxed and feeling good. Good sign!

4. Emotional attachment. Contrary to popular belief, cats form bonds with their human owners and even with the other pets in the house and are very fond of their company, to the point of always following them around the house. If you have a cat, a dog or a rodent at home, your pet can also “knead” them, as well as lick and gnaw at the same time. With other animals, attachment, an emotional connection, can also be formed. In other words: your cat may be messing with you simply because she loves you and enjoys being with you. This is especially likely if your cat is one of the most affectionate cat breeds in the world.

Kneading is almost always a sign of affection or an indicator that the cat is content and relaxed.

5.Stretching with stretching. Cats spend most of their lives sleeping. And after such a long sleep, they usually stretch, which gives the cats a special mood.

Do not confuse kneading with other activities

Do not confuse kneading with activities such as sharpening claws or cat pose during estrus.

The two most common examples are:

  • Pose of a cat on horseback during estrus. One of the typical signs that a cat is in heat is the rhythmic movement of the hind legs, which they usually make, tucking their tail and exposing their genitals. This is a riding or lordosis posture that has nothing to do with kneading. However, many cats tend to mash more frequently when they are in heat.
  • Sharpening claws. Kneading is also different from nail sharpening, a movement that cats perform by driving and running their front claws over various surfaces. The purpose of this behavior is to keep the nails in good condition and to mark the territory.

What to do if a cat scratches you with its claws during kneading

Cats often release their claws when they knead something or someone. This gesture can make kneading a very painful moment, but it is important to understand that the cat is not going to hurt you. It's just a reflex.

That's why if a cat has scratched you with its claws while kneading you, it's important to suppress the urge to quickly push it away. Also, don't yell or punish her. If you do any of this, your cat will most likely associate it not with claws, but with kneading you or, even worse, with being in your arms. She will think that laying on top of you or even approaching you is not safe, and this can create behavioral problems.

It's hard to stop your cat from releasing its claws during kneading if it has this habit, so prevention is your best weapon. If your cat often climbs on your back and kneads you at certain times (when you're on the couch, in bed, etc.), keep a thick towel handy and place it on your lap when your cat sits down.

Of course, to keep damage to a minimum, it is also highly recommended to keep her nails trimmed and in good condition.