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Why Do Cats Knead And Suckle

Stopping Your Cat From Biting And Kneading A Blanket

Why Do Cats Knead?

Most of the time, this behavior is benign and should cause you no worry. It is also possible for your cat to outgrow biting and kneading on his favorite blanket. And as long as the behavior does not cause serious harm to him or your garments, you can just let your pet be.

If you wish to stop your cat from doing this, be aware that your cat may be traumatized, especially if you do it abruptly.

You can try weaning him from biting and kneading a blanket by offering something different, preferably one with your scent. Rummage through your closet and you might find an old piece of clothing you no longer need which you can give to your feline.

For a more drastic approach, you can use a repellent spray on his favorite blanket. You can make your own spray using cat repellents like citrus, citronella, lavender, lemongrass, or peppermint, the smell of which cats hate. Alternatively, you can rinse his favorite blanket in a fabric softener with one of the scents mentioned earlier.

Do Cats Knead To Tell Us That They Are Happy Or That They Love Us

None of us have to be actual research scientists to agree that many kneading cats appear relaxed and happy. Cats who knead while they are being petted are obviously enjoying our attentions. Closed eyes and contented purring are further signs that they are relishing the moment.

Some resources suggest that cats knead to show you that they are happy or to tell you that they love you.

Do cats intend to communicate with us about their inner emotions? Do they want us to understand them more deeply? Are they worried about our feelings? Are they searching for the tools to express themselves to us in the absence of spoken language?

Of course, we dont truly know the mind of another human being, let alone the mind of an individual from another species. We do know that cats communicate with us about very concrete things, like their need for food or attention. But Ill leave it to you to decide if you think your cats have more profound thoughts than that, that they;are trying to convey.

I think its more important to consider what a kneading cat is inadvertently telling you by kneading on your lap and by falling into a gentle slumber afterward. He is telling you, I choose you. I feel safe around you. I can relax around you. And that, my kitty-loving friends, is about as good as it gets.

What Is Cat Kneading And Biting

Before we get into all the whys, its important to know exactly what this unusual behavior is. Also referred to as making bread or biscuits, kneading is when a kitten or a cat presses their claws into soft surfaces, like blankets, cushions, or clothes and sometimes even our own mortal flesh.

When cats knead, they push in and out with their feet against the surface they might sleep on. They usually use their claws, retracting them as they pull back, one paw at a time. Some cats suck or bite at their blanket while kneading, which is also quite common. While biting could bring comfort to some cats, if your cat is doing more than biting and is actually eating the blanket it could ba a concerning condition called feline pica. Feline pica occurs when cats eat non-food substances and you can read more about that here.

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Is This Habit One That Needs To Be Broken

In many cases, pet owners believe that blanket sucking is a habit they need to break. In reality, blanket sucking is not inherently dangerous for cats unless they begin to ingest the fabric and experience gastrointestinal upset or blockages. Additionally, if the behavior is tied to behavioral disorders or severe anxiety, the underlying problem should be addressed for many more reasons aside from the blanket sucking habit itself.

If your cats sucking habit is causing destruction or leading to health problems, youll want to try and curb the habit as early as possible. To do this, youll first need to ensure all their needs are being met. If it persists, try to divert your cats attention by playing with toys or by introducing a safer item for them to suck or chew on. If your cat prefers to suck or chew on one item in particular, try keeping it out of reach so your cat cannot access it. However, avoid removing the item from the cat if they are sucking on it to avoid causing additional stress.

With that said, unless your cats sucking habit is bad for them or your belongings, you can let your kitties soothe themselves in the ways they like best!

Pet Parents And Cats That Knead Them

cat: Cat Kneading Blanket

When trying to figure out why cats knead your leg, the dog, blankets, and other soft things, it may seem as if theyre being affectionate. They are showing affection, but for them its more of a self-comforting act. Thats why they also manipulate inanimate objects.

However, they do look to you for their needs and their kneads too! Its kittys way of saying, you make me feel comfortable, safe, and secure, and;I love and trust you. Kitty sure wouldnt knead the leg of someone he or she didnt trust.

Do all cats purr while kneading? Most cats do, but some also meow. Check out Butters happily kneading, meowing, and purring up a storm.

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Professional Way Of Handling Kneading

Like most awkward behaviors of cats, entrepreneurs have discovered how they can merge their love for cats with business. There are too many solutions that will deliver the same results. One way is by using a soft and comfortable to handle toy the Petlinks Floor Cat Scratchers cat toy.

A toy is a playful object that has a decent rating from former buyers. Here is what your cat will get from using the toy:

·;;;;;;; The fun-sized toy encourages interactive playing when you pull the tassel and feather for a hide and seek game

·;;;;;;; The catnip in the toy is an irresistible enticement for play and cuddling. It sensitizes multiple senses and promotes active play without bore

·;;;;;;; The three textures of the toy are foreign to the cat and soft enough for extended use. The curiosity of the cat will not fizzle over anytime soon, because they will want to figure out all its exciting bits over the non-uniform shape.

Why Do Cats Suck Wool

Genetics may play a role. Wool sucking most often occurs in kittens who are taken from their mother before they’re fully weaned. Kittens should be kept with the mother cat at least until the age of 8 weeks and ideally until they’re about 12 weeks old. Although they should outgrow this behavior once they’re introduced to kitten food, many continue to try to suckle the mother cat for a few weeks longer.

If you adopt a kitten that’s younger than 12 weeks, you become the surrogate mother. The mother’s nipple is no longer available, so the kitten may find other “nipples”kneading while sucking your earlobe, for example. This would be a natural step in the kitten’s development.

Wool or other similar fabrics can easily become a cat’s second choice because of its soft warmth, which is also reminiscent of the mother cat. Some cats may try to suckle other cats or even their own fur, a habit comparable to that of a human child sucking its thumb.

Even for mature cats, wool sucking may become a regular behavioral issue or a habit that periodically comes and goes. Other factors that may provoke or help sustain this behavior are:

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Why Do Adult Cats Suckle

An adult cat will still suckle because performing this behavior can provide them with a sense of comfort. And, as we mentioned above as is with some kittens, adult cats can also suckle as a way to ease their stress. Just as in humans, when cats are stressed, they can display obsessive compulsive behaviors.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Kneading And Biting Blanket

Why Does My Cat KNEAD Me? Origin and Meanings

You could always use a cat repellant formula to keep your feline away from your blankets.

Use homemade solutions as opposed to commercially sold repellants.

The latter may contain chemical additives that can harm your cat healthwise.

Some natural cat repellants you can use include;

  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass
  • Lemon or lime

Rinsing your laundry with fabric softeners containing any of the above ingredients as fragrance could help stop your cat kneading and biting blanket.

Cat kneading and biting blanket is a harmless habit that felines love to indulge in.

They do it to show they are happy and at peace.

But if this behavior is persistent and the cat shows signs of distress, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Have your cat checked by a vet to ensure he is healthy and does not have psychological issues.

Only stop your cat from kneading and biting blanket if it chokes or causes digestive issues in your feline.

Also, a cat that is allergic to fabrics should be prevented from kneading and biting a blanket.

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Reasons For Your Cat’s Newfound Blanket Sucking Habit

Stress Relief4

Kittens and adult cats alike can develop some interesting habits that we humans find strange. Cats behaviors largely stem from evolutionary instincts and behaviors they learn as kittens from their siblings and mothers. One somewhat strange behavior cats may partake in is sucking or chewing on blankets or similar types of fabric.;

The sucking behavior is often accompanied by purring and kneading. This behavior might perplex some pet owners or even make them nervous, since blanket chewing could potentially lead to upset stomachs or intestinal blockages. The habit can also lead to the destruction of some of your favorite blankets or sweaters.

As it turns out, there are more than a few reasons why cats might take up a blanket sucking habit either as a kitten or an adult. The reasons may differ with age, and each cat is unique, but the following three are the most common causes.

  • Comfort: Suckling at wool may provide cats with a sense of comfort or relaxation any time they feel stressed or just want to settle in to sleep. Nuzzling up to and suckling on something fuzzy harkens back to the nursing instinct in cats, which is closely linked to feelings of comfort and safety. Both kittens and adult cats may be inclined to develop this behavior.
  • They’re Showing You They Care

    Often when cats knead, it’s to show how content and happy they are. Have you ever noticed how your cat kneads your lap after you’ve given them a rather satisfactory petting session? They may be;”petting” you back.;;

    Unfortunately, this can be a painful experience, as some cats use their sharp nails in the kneading process. It may be instinct for you to scold your cat for inflicting pain on you, but try not to. Your cat does not realize that kneading is a painful situation for you.

    Opt for nail guards or routine nail trims to keep your cat’s loving kneading bearable for your lap.

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    Why Cats Knead Blankets And Other Soft Objects

    Cats start to knead as kittens while nursing from their mother. A nursing kitten instinctually kneads to help stimulate the mothers milk production. But why do they continue to knead past nursing age?;

    You might find your cat kneading blankets, stuffed animals, or other soft objects around the house. Even though kneading a soft surface doesnt yield milk, adult cats forever associate the motion of kneading with the rewarding comfort of nursing.

    Do You Have An Adult Cat That Is Still Suckling This Is Why

    Why Do Cats Suck on Blankets? 5 Reasons

    While kittens have a strong desire to suckle, it is still a natural instinct that all cats possess. But obviously for some cats, this desire is much stronger than others. And those fuzzy, warm blankets/towels/rugs that they choose to suckle on? Well, that just reminds them of the time when they were still a nursing kitten.

    An adult cat will still suckle because performing this behavior can provide them with a sense of comfort. And, as we mentioned above as is with some kittens, adult cats can also suckle as a way to ease their stress.

    Image Courtesy of

    Interesting cat suckling fact: There are certain cat breeds that are at a higher risk of performing this behavior. Oriental breeds are more prone to adult cat suckling than North American or European cat breeds. Examples of these are the Tonkinese, Siamese and Balinese.

    Just as in humans, when cats are stressed, they can display obsessive compulsive behaviors. A cat may neurotically suckle to cope. And their obsession with suckling can turn into a behavior that they become dependent on. Other coping behaviors for a highly stressed cat include, obsessive grooming, licking or intense and repetitive meowing. Its important to monitor your cats sucking behavior if it should become obsessive. Because ingesting foreign objects can be potentially deadly!

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    Why Does My Cat Reach His Paw Out To Me

    Cats usually reach out their paws because they want your attention for some reason. They may want to be pet, or they may need food. Sometimes, they may be requesting for a door to be opened or because they cannot reach one of their favorite toys. Usually, it is entirely benign and a sign that your cat is comfortable.

    Heres What Im Going To Do About Kitten Suckling

    Most of what Ive read say to me that kitten suckling is not a bad thing. It seems that Norton is getting comfort, and hes not acting like hes doing it from stress. The site is not infected, as my vet pointed out, and were keeping an eye on that. The frequency of suckling gradually seems to be diminishing. And if were playing with Norton, or snuggling, suckling seems to be far from his mind. So Ill wait it out, and see what happens. In my situation, Im not worried. Norton seems happy and not stressed or compulsive.

    In short and the ASPCA article worded this in a helpful way if the kitten suckling is interfering with your cats quality of life, then its time to seek help. If your cat is damaging his skin, or the skin of another, or seems to be suckling as a kind of stress response, seek help. Get the help of a certified cat behaviorist or your veterinarian.

    Tell us: Have you ever had a suckling cat or suckling kitten? What did you do about kitten suckling? Let us know in the comments!

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    Is There Any Way To Prevent A Kitten That Was Taken Away From His Mother Early From Developing This Habit

    NR: The best thing that you can do is offer a loving and nurturing environment for the kitten. If a kitten feels safe, cared for, and happy it will less likely seek out suckling opportunities.; Make sure that the environment is comforting and non-stressful. Provide lots of opportunities for play and stimulation. And, most importantly, spend lots of quality time with your kitten.

    Why Do Some Kittens Nurse On Objects

    Why Do Cats Knead? | Blue Cross Pet Advice

    NR: Both kittens and older cats will nurse on objects. This is commonly called suckling or wool suckling if specifically involving fabrics . In concert with the suckling behaviour, cats will often purr, and knead as if they are still nursing.

    There are three main theories regarding the suckling behavior:

  • The most common and widespread belief is that the kitten was weaned too early from its mother. There are slight differences of opinion regarding the exact best weaning age, but, all groups agree that ideally weaning should take place between 6-12 weeks of age. For all kittens, suckling the mother cat provides comfort and reassurance. If the kitten is orphaned or intentionally weaned too early that comfort chain is broken and the kitten searches to replace it often for life.
  • A second theory looks for medical reasons underlying the suckling;behavior. This is particularly true in older cats. Specific health issues linked to suckling include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism or teeth and gum issues
  • The third theory of suckling behavior involves emotional issues. Many kittens and cats will suckle when stressed, anxious, nervous, lonely, or bored.
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    Waking Up To Kitty Kneading My Thigh

    I woke up to find my cat vigorously kneading my thigh a few nights ago, and it felt really good! I had ridden my exercise bike that day, and my leg muscles were tight and sore. Kittys massage felt great, and I just laid back and let her keep stomping grapes.

    I always said my cat was a natural healer. However, kitty had a different reason for kneading my leg like a bread baker. Its nice to think that its merely an expression of love, but kitty has a reason for marching in place on bedding, people, and even the dog.

    Why Does A Cat Knead Blankets And Suck On Them

    Felines always do such things that might grab the attention of their owners and they are forced to ask or search on why my cat is displaying such behavior.

    There might a number of reasons that your cat might be kneading on blankets and suck on them. Following are some aspects that are true for cat kneading with a blanket in the mouth:

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    What To Do If Your Cat Kneads You With Sharp Claws

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    Do not ever punish your cat for digging her claws into your tender flesh when she is kneading. Kneading is an instinctual behavior. Your cat is unaware that she is hurting you. Punishing your cat will keep your cat from kneading on you in the future, but not because she has learned a lesson. Your cat will refrain from kneading on you because she has learned that you are unpredictable and unpleasant to be around. Now theres an ouch.

    That does not mean you should suffer your cats painful kneading. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your relationship with your cat.

    Keep nails trimmed with an inexpensive nail trimmer like this one by Pet Republique. Or consider using nail guards like these from Soft Claws, but understand that not every cat will cooperate with the application process of the nail covers.

    Does your cat tend to seek out your lap in a particular chair or sofa? Keep an old towel or blanket handy and put it on your lap before the kneading session starts. If youve planned ahead and theres a blanket between your lap and your cat, you can always lift your cat gently in the blanket and place him beside you on the sofa if the kneading gets too intense.


    Why Do Cats Knead? PetMD, PetMD, 21 Jan. 2021,


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