Cats are creatures with the most uncommon and strangest behavior. If you are a cat parent, biscuit making is a regular part of your everyday life. The rhythmic movements felines make with their paws pressing in and out are satisfying to watch. In fact, making biscuits is a serious business for cats.
But have you ever thought, “Why does my cat make biscuits on me?”. If so, I’m here to talk about some of the most popular kneading theories. It may be because it’s something they do while they’re feeding off their mom and this learned behavior exists from when they were kittens. But this is just one of the possible reasons they knead; you can find the remaining below in the text.
Unfortunately, whatever the reason for their kneading, it’s not always satisfying to experience it on your skin. Cats can sometimes get so involved in kneading that they start hurting you with their claws. In this article, I’ll also explain what you can do to prevent painful kneading without hurting your cat’s feelings or chasing her away.
What Is Making Biscuits?
Before we delve into why cats make biscuits, I want to cover what making biscuits is.
Most cat parents are familiar with the term “making biscuits”. Also known as kneading, this is a common behavior among felines, no matter the age or gender. It is characterized by rhythmic movements that a cat makes with her paws. Most felines first push one paw, then the other towards a soft surface, and keep pushing them continuously. Others will retract one paw and push the other.
Not all cats use the same intensity of kneading. You’ll see most of them using hard motions, while the minority will be soft and gentle while making their biscuits. Another thing to know is that some will add nails to the mix, and most will purr at the same time. Have you seen a cat that uses all four legs to knead? Yes, that also happens! There are so many variations of this behavior.
Biscuit making is generally combined with purring and eye-rolls that show how much the feline is enjoying it. This is an adorable act that becomes cuter to watch every time it happens. This kneading behavior happens for a number of reasons. Most are theories and aren’t exactly proven because there is no way to know for sure, but I’ll cover all the theories down below.
When felines make biscuits, they can be on anything: their human friends, furniture, pillows, bed covers, blankets. Often, cats will get so intensely involved that when they choose to make biscuits on you, you can end up with claw marks on your skin. This makes it a slightly less enjoyable experience!
Have you met a cat that doesn’t knead? If yours is one of those, she might just be an exception. One of the reasons why felines don’t make biscuits at all is because they’re stressed out. Try creating a relaxing atmosphere for your cat, and you’ll see whether she’ll start kneading. If nothing changes, she’s probably just one of the rare furry friends who doesn’t knead.
Why Do Cats Make Biscuits?
For anyone wondering, “Why does my cat make biscuits on me? Is this normal?” you can relax.
Yes, cat kneading is entirely normal, and there are a few theories that try to explain why felines do it. Is it because they want to help you lose the extra belly you accumulated during winter? Or is it in their nature?
The main reason why cats knead is that it’s in their genes. When kittens are born, they nurse on their mom’s breasts. Kittens use their paws to massage the breasts so that they start releasing the milk. This is how cats get their daily dose of milk when they are born, and the instinct lasts for their entire life. Some felines even add a sucking notion while kneading when they’re older which resembles so much to the way they feed on their moms.
However, that’s just only one reason as to why. Here are six other common theories that could explain this undeniably cute but sometimes uncomfortable behavior!
1. To Show They Love You
Although cats aren’t known as being overly affectionate animals, that’s not always the case. Has your cat been making biscuits on you for a long time? If your answer is yes, then your beloved furry friend is trying to show you some love.
And to be clear, this is far more than love and affection. Cats actually knead on people who they think of as their mother. As I mentioned before, kneading is an instinct that stems from early on in life when they knead around their mom’s breasts for nursing. It’s in their genes, and it’s a completely natural occurrence.
So, this behavior stays even when they grow up, just their mom is a person now; their mom is you! Felines usually knead on people with who they feel most secure, and that’s how they show their commitment. During these moments, they are relaxed, happy, and are trying to enjoy their best life.
2. Making Their Bed
One of the most common times you will see a cat make biscuits is right before going to bed. One theory says that felines knead before going to sleep because they’re making their bed and trying to get a comfy spot to settle down in for the night.
This behavior all stems back to when cats weren’t domesticated animals. Way back in time, felines in the wilderness used piles of leaves or tall grass to create a soft spot where they could sleep, and they used a kneading motion while building their beds. All of this is not only meant to make the spot more comfortable, but also to check if there are any hidden dangers.
Although this is just a theory, it sounds pretty convincing, and it makes sense. Your gorgeous feline might have the comfort of your home and a large soft bed, but it’s in her genes to knead the spot before going to sleep. You can see your furry friend doing this anywhere, on your bed, their bed, on your lap, on a pillow, literally any area in the house they find comfortable.
Some people think that a feline will knead before sleeping only if she’s been separated from her mom too early. This theory is not supported by enough facts. Another thing that states the contrary is that both cats that have been separated from their moms as tiny kittens and ones that grew up with moms will knead and make biscuits before bed.
3. Going Into Heat
An unspayed cat can intensely knead when going into heat. The other term for this is entering estrus, and the kneading is meant to show male cats that she’s ready for reproduction. During this time, a female feline will likely show other symptoms as well. The range includes releasing loud sounds, trying to get more cuddles, and wanting to go outside.
If you want to avoid your cat being loud, making biscuits, mating with other cats, getting pregnant, and wanting to go outside, your best solution is to get her neutered. There are already too many homeless animals on the street, so there is no need to let your gorgeous feline suffer and have kids.
Also, if your cat goes outside, you can never know where she’ll end up and what kind of partner she’ll find. What if she gets together with a stray cat that hasn’t been vaccinated or gets hurt by someone? Anything can happen, which is why spaying her should be your priority. Plus, you might even avoid the hurtful kneading!
4. Marking Their Territory
Cats are territorial animals, and they don’t even have to feel endangered to mark their territory. One of their ways to say something is theirs is by kneading. There are tiny glands on the paws that create the smell, and once it gets over items or on you, it’s officially cat territory. While they’re making biscuits with their paws, this scent is transferred from their paws and onto the object.
Male cats are even more aggressive when they want to show something is theirs. If you’ve had an unneutered male feline at home, you probably know how nasty things can get. Aside from the kneading, they often urinate all over the home, and it can smell for days, no matter how much you clean. That’s why neutering is one of the best things you can do for your cats, no matter if they are male or female.
5. They Want Something
Cats are clever creatures and know that they can get what they want by looking extra cute!
So, sometimes, biscuit making isn’t all that innocent, They may want something from you and are playing nice until they get it! For example, if she has treats on her mind, she’ll likely make you get them by kneading and purring. It doesn’t always have to be the case, but it often is.
Have you noticed how many of the things cats do are to manipulate you? They’re so cute, it’s hard to say no!
Cats can stretch in the craziest ways possible. Can kneading be just another one of their stretches? According to some theories, yes.
When your kitten is making biscuits, it might mean that she just needs to stretch from the 10-hour nap she just finished. Felines usually hold a surface with their nails and paws, knead it while they’re stretching their back legs and back.
What to Do if Cat Kneading Hurts
There is no need to prevent your cat from kneading or be worried about it when it hurts you. Making biscuits is an entirely normal, natural behavior, and your feline has no idea that it’s hurting you. Since they’re trying to show you love, it’s never recommended that you yell or try to stop the kneading. Instead, try following the below tips and you’ll see how effective they are at solving the issue – and all without upsetting your feline!
1. Walk Away
When the kneading becomes very painful, you can just get up and walk away. Your furry friend won’t be disappointed. The chances are she won’t even notice that you’re gone. This is your best bet because you’ll spare yourself from pain, and the feline will either keep on kneading where she left off or will go to sleep. If she was on your lap, you can gently transfer her to the couch, floor, or her bed. There is no need to be aggressive, yell, or jump off your seat. You don’t want to scare the cat, and it’s not a good way to let her know she’s hurting you.
2. Get a Blanket or a Pillow
Another way to stop painful biscuit making is to have a soft blanket or a pillow next to you. You’re probably wondering how this will work. Each time you start to feel claws on your legs or arms, bring the pillow or blanket closer and slowly move the feline on it. If you can’t move the cat completely, move just the paws. Instead of her claws going into your lap, they’ll now sink into the blanket or pillow instead.
3. Stop Petting
If you’re petting the cat while she’s making biscuits and it starts getting painful, you should stop petting her. Then, when your feline stops digging her nails into you, you can continue petting her. This will help to teach your cat the difference between good and bad behavior. Your feline will love being petted, so will likely quickly learn to put her claws away to get more of what she wants.
4. Regular Nail Trims
Sharp nails are so painful! Every owner has experienced the hurtful, burning sensation of kitty scratches. When you want to avoid it as much as possible, you should keep your cat’s nails trimmed regularly. Pet owners often forget how important nail trimming is as a part of good personal hygiene for cats.
Although not all felines will include nails when kneading, a lot of them will. However, even if not, you should practice regular trims. It’s good for the cats and for you too. Besides, felines that are constantly at home can also try to trim their nails on your furniture and destroy things around the house, so give yourself and your furniture a break and start trimming her claws.
You don’t have to bring your kitty to the groomer for a trimming session. Instead, you can do it at home, saving you time and money. All you need is a nail trimmer you can order online and a little patience while you get the hang of it.
5. Use Nail Caps
So many cat parents love using nail caps as an alternative to trimming their kitty’s claws. These are covers that sit over the tips of your cat’s claws, meaning they are no longer sharp. Some cats are so aggressive with their kneading that they manage to rip through things even when their nails are trimmed. In that case, nail caps are the perfect solution.
Nail caps used to be quite expensive and hard to find, but today you can order them online. One pack can have over 100 caps will last a very long time. You don’t have to use them every single day, but they’re an excellent solution for aggressive biscuit makers who are too intense with their nails. Applying the caps the first few times can be challenging, but once you understand the procedure, your life will be easier.
6. Training Your Cat
If you want to teach your cat good behavior, you will need to spare some time training her. Reinforcing and awarding positive behavior is the first step, be that with petting or offering your kitty treats. For example, you could reward your cat whenever she jumps on your lap and starts purring instead of having her claws in your skin.
The second training step is to redirect the behavior. Redirecting means that you should help the cat take the kneading someplace else. This can be the pillow or blanket that I mentioned before, or many felines also love fleece fabrics. For example, if your furry friend loves making biscuits on your couch, place the fleece there. Next, when she’s in love with the fleece and kneading it, you can slowly start moving it to your preferred spot.
7. Let Them Know
Is there a way to let your furry friend know that she’s hurting you? Yes, there is, but it’s not the most suitable way to deal with things. However, it’s a good alternative for young kittens that are willing to learn.
Although yelling at your cat is not an option, you can still release sounds that show you’re hurting. It doesn’t have to be too loud, and it should be similar to voices that cats release. You should do it the second you feel pain because the kitten has to understand what caused it. This method won’t work with all felines, and it won’t always be effective.
What Not to Do When Your Cat Makes Biscuits
There are certain things you should never do to your cat, no matter if she’s hurting you while making biscuits. Two of those are punishment and declawing. Cat behaviorists condemn yelling and physical violence on felines, not only because they’re not ethical but because they don’t work.
Yelling, hitting, or throwing your cat off your lap is not a solution. You can’t teach felines how to behave with yelling or physical punishment. This won’t do you any good, and it can scare the cat away. Instead, you can try to train your cat or learn how to promote positive behavior. If these two are not an option, just use any of the tips that I listed above. Your feline is just trying to show you love, and you want to yell?
Using a water spray for punishment is another huge no! It’s simply not an effective technique, and you can confuse the cat even more. Also, kneading is a natural instinct for felines which is a part of their genes, and so removing this learned behavior requires a lot more work than simply using a spray bottle. Plus, this can cause distrust, and that’s the last thing you want between you and your best friend.
Declawing is the biggest no-no! It’s an inhumane procedure and can have several negative effects on your cat’s health. Thankfully declawing is restricted by law in numerous countries. Hopefully, they’ll ban it globally soon.
This is a procedure that is much more than removing the claws. Everyone who’s ever thought about declawing should know that it’s a complicated surgery that also removes bones from each toe of your cat’s claws. It’s not beneficial and can lead to a range of side effects, such as arthritis and continuous pain. It is extremely cruel for your felines and shouldn’t even be considered as a solution.
Other Ways Cats Show Affection
As kneading is a sign of affection and a display of love, it can be a little disheartening if your feline doesn’t knead on you. Don’t they love you? Aren’t you a good enough cat parent? This simply isn’t the case, and making biscuits is only one way that cats show affection towards their owner. In fact, there are multiple ways cats can tell you that they love you if you know how to read the signs!
It is important to remember that every cat has a different personality, and some will be more loving than others. For example, orange tabby cats are so affectionate, whereas others may be less so. Here is a quick look at all the other ways that cats show you they love you. I guarantee you’ll notice at least one of these behaviors in your kitty, reassuring you that they do adore you!
1. Showing Their Belly
The ultimate sign of love, trust, and affection is a cat showing you’re their belly. Did you know that this is the most sacred area of their body? Felines hide their belly because that’s where all their organs are, so they’re very careful with who they expose it to. So the second your furry friend shows you their belly, you should know that she loves you and trusts you.
The bad side of an exposed belly is that you shouldn’t take this as a sign for scratches, petting, and rubbing. Take it as what it is – a short-term sign of affection and that you shouldn’t try to cross their limits. If you already know that your feline enjoys belly rubs, feel free to give her some love. But, if this is the first time your cat exposes her belly, you should be careful. Even when they expose their bellies to their owners, some cats don’t want to be petted.
Also, when cats thump their tails when lying down with their belly up, this might be a sign they’re not up for cuddles. You don’t want to end up with nasty scratches on your hands, so your best bet is to watch and be content with the love you’ve been given.
Rubbing up against you is an unmistakable sign that your cat is showing affection. In most cases, a cat will rub upon you to mark you as theirs. Glands located on their bodies release smells that will end up on your clothes once the cat starts rubbing. It’s strange but a cute way to show love.
These glands and located around their teeth, mouth, forehead, paws, tail, lower back, cheeks, and more. If you noticed that your cats rub their teeth on you, don’t be surprised. It’s completely normal behavior, and there’s usually nothing wrong with their teeth. Another common way that felines will leave their scent on you is by moving around your legs or wrapping their tail around you.
Although marking you as theirs or their territory might not sound like love to many people, this is the closest thing to love for cats. Next time your feline starts rubbing up on you, no matter if it’s their chin or tail, you should know they’re showing emotion. They won’t do this with people they don’t feel comfortable and safe with or people they don’t trust.
When cats rub their faces on things rather than people, it doesn’t necessarily mean they love the objects. It means that they are leaving their scent around your home and are marking these items as their territory. Felines can also do this with other animals. It’s totally normal, so just leave them to it.
Have you ever wondered “Why did my cat lick me?”. Truth is, they’re actually grooming you! Grooming is a part of felines’ everyday life. These creatures are notorious for their good hygiene, and they do it all with their rough tongue. When a cat tries to groom you, she wants you to know that she loves you.
While grooming you, the feline will also mark you as hers. You are her territory and all other cats can tell. When they lick you with their tongue, they release signature scents, and it’s a sign that no one else should touch their territory. The best way to give love back is to grab the brush and start grooming your kitty in return.
4. They Come Bearing Gifts
You probably won’t enjoy the gifts that cats drag in for you, but they’re doing it with the best intention. By gifts I mean dead animals. If humans bring flowers and chocolate as a present, felines bring mice, rats, lizards, bugs, and literally anything they’ll find outside.
Cat parents of indoor cats shouldn’t worry about this. But if your cat has the luxury to go outside, you can expect a present from time to time. This is their way of showing how much they care and that they can provide for their family.
You should be mad because this another instinctive behavior. Cats are hunters and feed on meat. The occasional mouse in your home will be a gross sight, but your cat will be happy to share her recent catch with you. They don’t have kittens to feed, so they’ll bring the animal to you. In other words, you are their family and they love you.
5. They Purr Around You
Purring is one of the cutest cat sounds. Humans relate purring to ultimate chill, but have you ever thought if this could mean that your feline is trying to be affectionate? Purring is a sign of love and contentment. If your furry friend starts purring when you pet her, then it’s safe to say you’re being loved. Some cats will even purr when they see you.
There are times when this cute sound will mean something else. Sometimes, they’ll just want to get something from you, such as treats or attention. Other times a cat will start purring if it’s not feeling well.
Now that you know all about kneading, can you answer the question “Why does my cat make biscuits on me”? Cats are truly intriguing creatures, and there is no way to tell for certain why they love kneading so much. However, all of the theories we mentioned make sense and can be a reason why your feline gets so busy with her cute paws.
The main theory that most people are convinced of is that it’s in their DNA. The motions they make as kittens to stimulate milk flow remain throughout their lives. Cats can also knead when they want to show you affection, make their bed before sleeping, or want to mark their territory. They could also be after something from you or going into heat.
As cute as it is to watch, kneading can sometimes be painful. You can use the tips I listed to try and make the experience more pleasant for you and your furry friend.
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