what does it mean when a cat massages you

To show affection — Cats may knead their favorite people or other household pets to show affection as they did with their mothers. To scent mark — Kneading their favorite bedding, places, or people leaves scent markings from glands in the feet, effectively claiming them as their own.

What to Do When Kneading Hurts You

When a cat kneads you, it’s cute, but not so much when they splay their claws. Even though it hurts, you shouldn’t punish them for kneading you because it’s an instinctive behavior and they’re just giving you back the affection they receive. Nonetheless, there are a few steps you can take to lessen the chance of getting scratched.

When your cat is massaging you, try placing a cushion or blanket between the two of you as a soft barrier in case their claws stab you in the skin. Alternatively, you can gently guide your cat down to lie down and relax by petting them. Another way to start playtime is to divert your cat’s attention with an entertaining toy so they have something else to sabotage.

In keeping with the nature of feline behavior, a conclusive reason for why cats knead is still elusive. Even though these are some of the most plausible theories, there is still some mystery. These are the kinds of mysteries, after all, that deepen the bond between cat owners and their felines.

There’s much more to learn about cats. Visit our Pet Expertise page to hear from our experts.

what does it mean when a cat massages you

what does it mean when a cat massages you

what does it mean when a cat massages you

what does it mean when a cat massages you

The evolutionary background of kneading

Cats first begin to knead when just tiny kittens, still nursing from their mother. Kneading is associated with suckling, which helps stimulate a mother cat’s milk supply through the release of oxytocin and likely evolved for this reason.

Kneading also has another evolutionary advantage. It can be a means of pheromone and tactile communication between the mother and kitten.

Cats’ soft paw pads contain scent glands, which release pheromones—chemical signals used in communication—when they knead.

Kneading on their mother releases pheromones associated with bonding, identification, health status or many other messages.

The sebaceous glands surrounding the mammary glands release one of these, referred to as the “cat appeasing pheromone.”

Pheromones are not only important for bonding between the mother and young. Cat appeasing pheromone also has the potential to treat aggression in mature cats.

It’s a Leftover Trait From Kittenhood

The most likely explanation for cats’ innate tendency to knead is that they have done so since they were kittens. Kittens nurse from their mothers when they are young, and during this time they frequently paw at and rub their mother’s stomach. Here, kneading serves a purpose by promoting the production of milk from their mother’s mammary glands.

Your adult cat has most likely started kneading when you pet them, and this could be happening when they are loudly purring. This could mean that they feel content, secure, and reassured with you, just as they did with their mother, which would be a huge compliment.

The idea that adult cats who knead were taken from their mothers too soon is said to be unfounded because almost all cats knead.

It’s possible that kneading is a nesting trait inherited from their wild ancestors, which explains why cats knead blankets. It is common knowledge that wild cats will paw at tall grass or leaf piles to make a nest to rest and sleep in for themselves and their young.

By preparing the ground in this manner, which is akin to how we fluff pillows, they are not only creating a soft nest but also keeping an eye out for any potential threats concealed by the foliage, such as predators or prey. If your cat behaves in the same way toward a blanket, pillow, or other possible sleeping surface, it may be a deeply rooted behavior that originates from their wild heritage.

Cats may also knead because they are attempting to mark their territory. The soft pads of cats’ paws contain scent glands that release pheromones.

They open and close these scent glands with their paws. Therefore, it’s possible that they’re kneading you in an effort to identify you as their own and to warn other cats to stay away.

When they come into heat, female cats occasionally knead. A sign of openness to mating for male cats is when they knead the air, stretch, and purr while they lie on their side. They might also be more talkative, show more affection than normal, and beg to go outside during this time.

Consult your veterinarian to determine whether neutering or spaying your cat would be the best course of action for you and your pet if you’re interested in possibly reducing these behaviors. Neutering can help avoid certain diseases and unintended pregnancies.

Cats are active animals with remarkable agility and leaping ability. Some claim that by kneading, cats stretch and loosen their muscles, so they’ll be ready for whatever physical activities they’ll get into next. So how are they able to keep their muscles loose and ready for running, pouncing, jumping, and fitting into small, confined spaces?