Cat Kneading: Why Do Cats Make Biscuits?

Felines express themselves in a variety of exceptional ways. One of their ways of expression is kneading, or “making biscuits”. This is when a cat uses their paws to press into and “knead” various surfaces or objects. This begs the question: why do cats knead?

Cat kneading is a behavior kittens utilize to get milk from their mother. Cats also “make biscuits” when you are petting them, and kneading is their way of telling you they feel good. Furthermore, Cats may knead when they are preparing their nest and trying to get comfortable.

It is also normal feline behavior for a cat to knead when they are marking their territory and leaving their scent. If you choose to learn more about cat kneading and why cats make biscuits, check out this pawsome article.

cat kneading why do cats make biscuits clifton park ny

What is Cat Kneading?

Cat kneading can be described as rhythmic pawing and the opening and closing of the paw to express happiness or some other feline-fueled emotion. When your cat does this, it may look like they are kneading dough like a little furry bread maker making biscuits. If you have ever been fortunate to be on the receiving end of cat kneading, it feels similar to your cat giving you a massage.

Why Do Cats Make Biscuits?

You may have seen how your cat becomes relaxed when they are making biscuits. Sometimes cats will become so adorably enthusiastic when they are kneading. You can often tell by the expression of sheer pleasure on their face that they are loving all of their nine lives! Expressions of feline ecstasy aside, there are some interesting reasons why cats make biscuits:

Instinct from Kittenhood cat kneading instinct nursing

When kitties are nursing, they knead their mother’s teat to express milk to drink. As hungry kittens, their mother fulfills their request for nourishment. It is a safe, happy time in a kitten’s life when their mother gives them:

  • Attention
  • Cuddles
  • Kisses
  • Love
  • Protection
  • Sustenance

Mother cats can be just as loving as human mothers, as they strive to give their babies all the adoration any kitten could ask for. Kittens often ask their mother for all of the above by making biscuits. When your cat becomes older, they often continue making biscuits as a way of expressing their joy when they are with you, and they are being cared for.

Happiness, Comfort, and Security

When your cat kneads you, they are trying to tell you that they are feeling happy and showing you love. You may be petting or lovingly stroking your cat while performing this action, and your cat is simply returning the favor. Your cat is giving you the ultimate compliment, and it has also been said that the more they love you, the harder they knead.

You want to keep your cat’s nails trimmed because the kneading action can sometimes be painful. Of course, your sweet and innocent fur baby does not know this, but it helps to be prepared, so you do not cry out in pain or jump up suddenly and ruin the good vibes your cat is trying to send you. You want your cat to be free to express themselves; part of that is kneading when they feel compelled to do so.

They Are Preparing Their Nest

Kneading is more than just a way for cats to express love; the behavior comes from their feral ancestors, who would soften the grass before lying down to make a comfortable bed. Domestic cats put this behavior into practice when they knead their bedding before lying down as if patting down the grass to create an excellent area for a nighttime slumber.

They Are Super Relaxed

If your cat is kneading and they are slowly blinking and purring a lot, they may be super relaxed. This situation is especially true if they lie in a comfortable area, such as your lap or bed. Your cat may be ready for a catnap. Cats in an exceptional state of relaxation may knead on your belly or chest before sending themselves off to dreamland.

Scent Marking as Their Territory

Cats leave messages for one another by leaving their scent. Cats have scent secretors on their paws that emit pheromones. When they knead an item, such as their bedding or one of their favorite toys, they signify to the other cats to back off because whatever they are staking their claim to is theirs.

When your cat kneads you, they may communicate to the other cats in the house that you belong to them. You should be flattered because that is very high praise from your faithful feline companion. In addition to having scent glands on their paws, cats also have these glands on their cheeks and head.

Whenever your cat kneads an object or rubs their head up against something, they are leaving other cats’ information about the cat who deposited the scent. All cats want to feel safe and sound in their houses, and marking their place helps them feel more secure.

To Stretch Their Arms

cat stretching kneading

We all need an excellent stretch from time to time, and cats are no different. Since they are the original yoga masters of the world, cats tend to stretch a lot. When cats knead, they stretch out their arms. If your cat has been inactive for a period, their blood pressure drops, and their muscles get stiff.

When a cat stretches, their blood moves to the muscles and the brain. They need to get the circulation going. When they stand up and do a little stretch, their muscles are once again activated. Your cat is ready for some more feline action.

To Indicate They Are in Heat or Labor

A female feline will also knead when they are going into heat. She may purr, stretch, and knead the air while lying on her side. When she does this, she demonstrates to her eager tomcat suitors that she is ready to mate. She may also spray the walls or furniture with strong-smelling urine, which is another sign she is ready.

Consequently, if your cat is going into labor, you may see them kneading quite a bit. If your cat was in heat about two months prior, became more prominent in the belly, and they are now making biscuits in their bedding, they may be in labor. One of the first signs of feline labor is a mother cat preparing comfortable bedding for her soon-to-be-born babies.


Kneading is a natural behavior of cats, gained from instinct during kittenhood. Traditionally, cats knead and “make biscuits” to show they feel happy and secure. Cats may also knead on you to express love towards you. Although kneading is usually nothing to worry about, you can always reach out to your veterinarian if you have any questions regarding your cat’s kneading behavior.

For cat parents in the Clifton Park, NY region, Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital of Clifton Park is here for you and your pet. Give us a call today at (518) 383-6254 or visit us online to make an appointment!

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About Us

Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital of Clifton Park was founded in 1989 as Animal Care Hospital of Clifton Park. We began with 10 employees, 4 of whom are still working with us today. The name “Cornerstone” has special meaning to Dr. Knott and his family, both because it symbolizes their commitment to “faith, family, and then everything else,” and because it promotes the animal hospital as a cornerstone of the Clifton Park community.