cat in a blanket

Why Do Cats Knead on Blankets? Everything You Should Know

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One of the most endearing yet mysterious habits our beloved cats indulge in is kneading on blankets. You’re probably familiar with the adorable sight of your cat rhythmically pressing their paws into a soft blanket while creating a comforting symphony of repeated purrs. It’s a charming display for cat contentment, but you may still be wondering why they do that and what it means. Grab a cup of tea and settle into your favorite cozy spot with your cat while you gently brush their fur with a pet grooming kit. If you’re not sure why your kitty likes to knead their paws on a blanket, here’s everything you need to know.

1. Comfort and Security — When you see your cat kneading on a blanket, it’s taking them back to the comfort sensations of their kittenhood. This deeply rooted instinct comes from the early days of nursing when they once kneaded against their mother’s belly to stimulate her milk flow. Even as adults, your cat’s kneading behavior persists to provide them with a sense of comfort and security, especially when they’re feeling happy and relaxed. As comfortable as our cats can be when they knead on blankets, they’re still going to get their fur all over not only your comforter but also your clothing. Keep your clothing smelling fresh and cat hair-free with dryer sheets for pet hair.

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2. Territory Marking — According to Purina, one of the reasons why cats love to knead on blankets is to mark their territory. There are scent glands that release pheromones when they push their paws into the blanket to warn other cats to stay away. Kneading is a type of territorial behavior that your cat engages in to subtly mark their territory with their unique scent. By claiming a space – like a blanket – as their own, they’re creating a safe and familiar environment.

3. Emotional Expression — You may notice patterns when your cat kneads on a blanket. It’s usually accompanied by purring in an almost trance-like state, signaling that your cat has entered a state of emotional bliss. Many cats knead when they’re feeling happy or just want your attention. It’s your cat’s way of expressing themselves in a safe space. As another way to help your cat express themselves, upgrade their grooming routine with a pet grooming kit. That way, they can look and feel their best whether they’re kneading on your comforter or sunbathing on the windowsill.

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4. Attention-Seeking Behavior — Cats are masters at getting exactly what they want. They may not like to admit that they want your attention, but kneading is their subtle way of letting you know that they want to be near you. If your cat likes to knead on your lap or on a blanket near you, this may be their way of expressing their desire to be close to you. They may be asking for your affection. Respond positively to this behavioral quirk to reinforce the bond between you and your cat. If you’d rather your cat not knead their paws on delicate blankets or on fragile surfaces at home, consider providing them with an alternative surface like a designated cat bed or blanket just for them.

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Now that you’ve learned why cats carry this instinctive habit with them throughout their whole lives, one thing remains certain – the rhythmic motion is a testament to their deep-seated instincts and the connection they form with their surroundings. Every knead is a silent proclamation of trust and affection. As your cat continues to knead on their blanket as part of this comforting habit, they’ll get fur all over the blanket and the rest of your home. Prevent fur buildup by regularly grooming your cat with a cat deshedder.

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