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Cats Kneading

March 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 111

Kneading is when a cat extends and retracts its claws, usually while resting on its owner's lap or perhaps on a comfortable,furry cushion or blanket. Most of the time it's followed by purring and closing their eyes, clearly showing that they are content. In some parts of the world this is called paddling and purring.

Explanations for this behavior may vary, but without doubt it is an instinctive trait.

One of the theories is that kneading comes from the time they were kittens, when cats were kneading their mothers while nursing to make the milk flow more freely. From the age of three weeks until weaning, kittens spend a lot of their time kneading and purring around their mother's milk supplying nipples. They are fast learners when it comes to fun and food, discovering that the movement of their paws on either side of the mother's nipple stimulates the milk flow. If a cat dribbles or sucks its owners clothes while kneading, it has probably been taken from its mom too early and never had a chance to grow out of the behaviour.

A soft, warm, comfortable area, whether it is our laps or the favorite cushion on the couch seems to bring out this kitten behavior in cats. Although this is the most common explanation for kneading, there are other reasons. Adult female cats, coming into heat might also produce this very same behavior.Kneading may also take us back to when wild cats patted down tall grass or shredded leaves to make a bed for sleeping or giving birth.

Touching soft and furry materials such as blankets, cushions, carpets, stuffed toys and sweaters makes some cats and kittens want to use their paws. It can also be seen as a pre-sleep routine for some gorgeous felines. They see it as a way of making themselves comfortable before sleeping. The area they are usually purring and kneading is where they will have their cat nap.

There is also a practical explanation to cats kneading. They have scenting glands in the soft pads on the bottoms of their paws. When they are kneading, some of their unique smell is released onto the surface, and that smell serves as a kind of territorial marker for any unfamiliar cats that might come along and try to stake a claim. So, when your cat is kneading your lap, it is not only telling you it feels comfortable and secure, but it is claiming you as its own.

Kneading is a sweet behaviour to watch, but it can be painful if your cat does it with its claws bared. Kittens are kneading with their claws retracted because their moms wouldn't allow it any other way. You can train your kitty to do it with claws retracted too, by gently tossing it off your lap when it uses its claws, and praising it when it's kneading gently without. Or you could just put a nice thick blanket on your lap and relax.

Kneading is a sign that your cat is happy, comfortable and relaxed. You should feel proud if it deems you worthy of sharing this pleasure. It is your cat's way of saying it is glad you are there. It's nice to be kneaded! Whatever the precise reason, one thing is for sure: A kneading cat is a happy cat.

Source: EzineArticles
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