Kneading is the rhythmic movement made by a cat's front paws as they alternately flex and press their toes and pads against a soft substance.
Many cats purr when kneading, giving the impression that they are totally absorbed in the activity. While kneading, some cats might also rhythmically kick their back feet and wriggle their hips.
Cats may regularly knead a favourite blanket or soft toy, or they may knead a range of soft surfaces without clearly favouring any in particular.
Cats frequently knead the humans they live with, frequently picking out the person's legs, chest, or stomach. Other pets, such as dogs and other cats, may also be kneaded by cats.
There are multiple theories as to why cats knead, and it's possible that depending on the stage of life, environment, and context, cats may knead for various reasons.
One of the first habits newborn kittens exhibit is kneading. For them to be able to nurse, they would knead on their mother's belly to encourage milk letdown.
It's likely that domestic cats have carried over this early behaviour learned as kittens into their interactions with people who care for them.
In general, kneading is not a reason for alarm in cats because it is a typical action that is beneficial to their health and welfare.
A cat massaging a person can be a wonderful bonding experience for them both and demonstrates how at ease and content the cat is with them.
Knitting can occasionally cause damage to things like sweaters, pillows, and blankets because cats' claws tug on the strands. Never hit the cat or quickly interrupt their kneading if this happens.
Instead, gently steer the cat to another item by sliding it beneath their paws as you remove the original one.
Alternately, you can shift them to another blanket, cushion, or toy by transferring their body slowly and gently to the new one.
When not in use, store any items you don't want damaged and set aside a particular blanket or towel for the cat to use for kneading.