We have all seen our cats knead (alternating pushing in and out with the right and left front paws) from time to time, but do you really know why? The truth is that no one is really sure what this behavior means, however there are several theories.
- It is an instinctive behavior that is comforting. Kittens perform this behavior while nursing, so kneading may be a self-soothing behavior similar to humans sucking their thumb.
- It is a behavior designed to help make a fluffy bed before settling down for a cat nap.
- Kneading allows cats to mark their territory through the scent glands on the bottoms of the paws.
So, long story short, we simply do not know! It may be rooted in one of these suggestions, a combination of them, or none at all. As with so many other aspects of feline behavior, this one remains a mystery!