Cats love to lay on their owners’ chests – or any soft, fluffy surface – and knead. Kneading, in the cat world, serves many purposes, including marking the territory and relieving stress, but it also can express deep affection for you. Here are some reasons why cats keep doing it to you!
Why Do Cats Knead On Your Chest?
Kneading is a behavior that cats learn as kittens. When a kitten is nursing from its mother, it will push its paws on the mother’s belly in order to stimulate the flow of the milk. This is an important survival instinct for kittens.
Adult cats will continue this behavior well into adulthood, and it’s believed that they associate kneading with being safe and cozy.
7 Reasons Why Cats Knead On Your Chest
1. Cats Knead For Scent Marking
A cat kneads with its front paws when it is happy and content. This behavior is a remnant of kittenhood when kittens are nursing.
The mother will firmly place her paws over their back and chest to keep them warm and to discourage them from wandering off while she’s eating. By doing so, she also spreads pheromones over their fur that help mark them as hers.
This scent-marking indicates safety and security. So, in essence, cats have an innate desire to comfort themselves and feel safe by spreading their mother’s scent over themselves. That said, they aren’t always as subtle about it as they should be!
2. Attention Seeking
If a cat is kneading you, it’s probably looking for your attention. It’s as simple as that. Cats have many ways of getting our attention-meowing, purring, and rubbing themselves against us are just a few examples-but they also have specific ways of letting us know that they want to be petted or scratched.
One way cats do so is by kneading; they use their front paws to push into us while making an Mmm … I love your sound.
When cats do so, they don’t necessarily mean that they really like a certain spot (though some might); instead, what makes them happy is simply having contact with their person through touch and hearing affectionate words in response!
3. For Their Playful Behavior
One of the most common reasons why cats knead is that they are playing with you. When they do it, they want to invite themselves into a game of sorts.
If you want to play, then encourage them and indulge in their little game; if not, then simply put them off your chest or try to divert their attention by stroking them elsewhere. Alternatively, you can also try putting a toy nearby so that they immediately go for it instead.
Most likely, they will forget about the whole thing once they’ve been distracted by something else. In fact, another reason why cats love being close to humans is that they know how quickly we react when we see catnip around us.
To ensure that your feline friend isn’t left out of fun even without a catnip around, try keeping some toys nearby so they have something else to enjoy while kneading at you.
4. Maternal Bonding
Mother cats start to teach their newborns how to clean themselves and other members of their family by kneading on them during grooming. It is a way for newborns to bond with their mothers.
As they grow, the behavior becomes instinctual, leading adult cats to continue kneading during play and when in close contact with humans or other cats.
Once your cat begins kneading you, it’s impossible to break off that habit-even if you don’t enjoy it. But unless it does it to excess (all day every day), there’s no reason not to let him express his love for you through touch. He may just be telling you he loves you!
5. Kneading is a Way of Marking Territory
If you notice your cat kneading on you, it’s probably trying to claim your chest as its own personal territory. Feline experts also say that when a cat is kneading or purring, they’re showing signs of contentment.
So take comfort in knowing that whether your cat is kneading on you because it loves you or because it wants to mark you as part of its property, both gestures mean that everything is okay in kitty land.
And if you don’t appreciate your feline friend doing either of these things? It might be time for an adjustment in behavior training-and no need to worry about hurting feelings: It’s highly doubtful that cats even care.
6. It is a Sign of Comfort
As a young kitten, your cat would have been brought up by its mother and littermates. When they were nursing, kittens would knead their mother’s stomach to get her to release more milk (yep, those are the boobs they’re staring at).
Eventually, though, she’ll want you to stop – but as a human, you won’t tell them off.
The same goes for cats with their owners too. It might be due to stress or anxiety. Your scent can also affect how comfortable a cat feels around you – if you allow it, it may rub itself against your legs or chest to mark you with its scent.
7. Kneading is How Cats Remove Air From the Milk They Drink
If you’ve ever been around a cat while she drinks milk, you might have noticed that it often kneads its body with its paws. Although you may think your kitty is just a bit too needy, there’s actually a good reason for her actions.
While nursing, kittens press their mother’s teats with their paws in order to remove excess air from their meal.
In turn, they swallow as much as 80 percent of what they drink, so they can get down to business digesting all those nutrients and calories.
Domestic cats exhibit similar behaviors when eating solid food, which means if you see them kneading while they eat or drink anything (particularly if they’re self-feeding), chances are they need extra help removing excess air from what they consume.
Why do cats knead on your chest? There are many reasons for a cat kneading at your chest. Each cat is different, and so are their motivations. We’ve just given you a basic overview of some of them here.
But if you’re a cat owner, chances are you already know what you like about kneading on your body parts!