Cats purring and kneading are two of the most recognizable behaviors cats exhibit. Wonder why cats display these behaviors? In this article, we explore why cats purr and knead to try to better understand why cats engage in these behaviors.
I. What Is Fur Kneading and Purring?
Kneading is the instinctive behavior that cats exhibit in which they push against a soft surface with their paws. This action is also known as “making biscuits”, as the cats appear to knead dough with their paws. It typically involves alternating the front paws, pushing against the surface in a rhythmic motion.
Purring is the sound cats make while they are content and relaxed. Purring usually occurs when cats are content and involved in activities they enjoy, such as kneading or being petted. Some experts believe that cats purr not only when they are content, but also to communicate and to self-soothe when they are in pain or traumatized.
Kneading and purring often occur together because both activities indicate a content and relaxed state of mind. Cats that are kneading may alternately purr and knead as they become comfortable with their surroundings and the activities in which they are engaging.
It is thought that cats may adopt kneading and purring behaviors from the time they are kittens. When nursing, a mother cat kneads and purrs to help stimulate her milk production and comfort her kittens. Kittens may mimic this behavior, kneading while nursing and bonding with their mother.
Kneading and purring are normal feline behavior that indicate contentment. This behavior is generally harmless, but can become irritating if the cat continues to knead and purr on people or surfaces that are not meant for such activities.
II. Possible Reasons Why Cats Purr and Knead
Cats purring and kneading are both common behaviors in cats, but why do they do them? The reasons why cats do these behaviors can be as varied as the cats themselves but there are some possible explanations:
- Sign of pleasure: Purring and kneading are both behaviors that cats may exhibit when they are happy and content. It is possible that cats purr and knead when they are feeling relaxed and content.
- Nursing behavior: Kneading is a behavior that cats may have kept from their kitten days when they kneaded their mothers for milk. Cats may knead as an instinctive behavior associated with comfort and pleasure.
- Mating behavior: Purring and kneading are both behaviors that cats may display when they are feeling aroused. Cats may express their excitement and anticipation of mating behavior through purring and kneading.
It is not always easy to figure out why cats are purring and kneading and it is often a combination of all these behaviours. Some cats may purr and knead when they feel safe and content, such as when they are curled up in their favorite spot. Others may purr and knead when they are feeling excited and aroused. It is possible that cats can even knead their owners as a way of expressing their affection.
Not all cats will exhibit these behaviours, as some cats are more reticent than others, but these are some possible reasons why cats may purr and knead.
III. The Benefits of Purring and Kneading
Many owners may not know it, but cats actually get a lot of positive physical and emotional benefits when they purr and knead. It’s important to recognize these benefits in order to increase an owner’s awareness and understanding of their cat’s body language and their overall wellbeing.
Physical Benefits of Purring and Kneading
- The vibration of purring causes a rhythmic massage-like effect on their internal organs which can help support healthy circulation and breathing.
- Kneading is a form of exercise that not only tones the leg muscles but also helps cats to expel energy.
Emotional Benefits of Purring and Kneading
- The low-frequency vibration combined with the sound of purring can be calming to cats in stressful situations.
- Kneading is like a comforting rhythmic massage that cats do when feeling particularly content.
- Furthermore, purring has been linked to the production of hormones in cats that can promote healing and help them cope with pain.
Therefore, purring and kneading are important behaviors for cats to partake in, as they can benefit them both physically and psychologically. As an owner, it’s important to recognize when your cat purrs or kneads as a signal of contentment, and to appreciate its presence in their lives.
IV. Ways To Encourage and Respond to Purring and Kneading
- Encouraging Purring and Kneading
The easiest way to encourage purring and kneading in cats is to provide them with a comfortable and safe environment. Make sure your cats have access to a comfy and stress-free environment in which to nap and doze, as cats can become stressed if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable. If your cat is feeling anxious, give them more attention and playtime. Make sure that their needs such as food and water are provided consistently. When cats are comfortable, secure, and stress-free, they are more likely to purr and knead.
In addition, cats also purr and knead when they are content and relaxed, so if your cat is purring or kneading you, it may be a sign that your cat is feeling calm and happy. Give them lots of love and attention if they are purring and kneading you in order to reinforce the behavior. If your cat is kneading a blanket, try petting them at that moment to provide positive reinforcement.
- Responding to Purring and Kneading
When cats purr and knead, they usually appreciate a response from their humans. This can be done by engaging in petting and cuddling, talking softly, or playing gentle games. Additionally, try offering some cat treats to your cat when they’re kneading, as this will reinforce the behavior and associate purring and kneading with positive reinforcement. Engaging in interactive play is also beneficial for cats, as it provides mental stimulation and encourages purring and kneading.
If your cat has stopped purring or kneading, you can try encouraging them by providing a safe environment, talk calmly to them, and offer a comfortable sleeping spot. Additionally, you can also try stimulating their senses with toys, which will help them feel less stressed and more relaxed. Lastly, interactive toys and treats are also beneficial for cats, as they will provide stimulation and play.
Q: Why do cats purr?
A: Cats purr as a form of communication. It can be used to express contentment, joy, hunger, or distress.
Q: What is kneading?
A: Kneading is a behavior in which cats push in and out with their front paws. It is a sign of affection and usually occurs when cats are feeling relaxed and comfortable.
Q: Does purring and kneading mean the same thing?
A: No, purring and kneading are two separate behaviors. Purring is usually a sign of contentment, while kneading usually indicates comfort. When cats purr and knead, they are communicating their contentment and expressing their need for affection. Unravelling why cats exhibit these behaviours can provide us with deeper insight into our feline friends and enhance our relationship with them.
Lori Randolph is an expert in technology and innovation, crafting informative and accessible articles that demystify complex concepts. With a knack for breaking down technical jargon, he empowers readers to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and make informed decisions in a rapidly advancing digital landscape.