Why do cats knead us humans

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By Anita Kelsey
It is a nice feeling when our cat decides to knead our laps or overhanging bellies! Well, nice until we start to silently scream in agony, as its long claws rip open our legs, laps and other fleshy parts.

So… what is kneading all about.

First of all let me start by saying that the action of kneading is a natural instinct, so telling off a cat that does this is plain silly so stop it!!!

cat behaviour expert UKAccording to Linda P Case kneading begins during the nursing process from a kitten’s birth. During the first 3 weeks of age the mother will call to her kittens to initiate suckling. The mother cat will lie on her side and display her nipples for easy access. When kittens are three weeks of age they actively start seeking the nipples to suckle even when mummy cat may not be ready. It is believed that a kitten learns to knead the area surrounded the nipples to aid milk flow. This action is a slow gentle treading movement with both kitten and mother purring throughout.These moments are comforting, happy and safe with the kitten getting the best care and nutrition.When you hear the word ‘weaning’ it means the process of decreasing a kitten’s dependency upon the mother and this usually last until week 6 when the kitten will become independent.

The association with suckling and kneading  (feeling content, nourished, cared for and safe) is carried through to adulthood by most cats. Many cats, at some stage in their lives, will start to knead a soft cushion or our laps and it can only mean one thing. If your cat is kneading you, you can guarantee it is purring, happy and enjoying the close bond it feels with you. This is a very good thing!

cat behaviourist LondonNow, the claw thing is a different matter entirely.

I would suggest you bite down on something hard and let your cat knead away until it gets bored and goes and bites the head off the nearest rodent! Only then should you let out a loud scream and go clean the blood away.

Before you all write to me calling me a rodent hater! Please don’t bother.

I love all living and breathing beings.

Why do cats knead us humans. Well, now you know!!!

 We really should have a kneading kitty day.
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