Cats have many interesting character quirks and one of these is kneading. Kneading is a repetitive movement that cats do with their paws. Most cats will use only there front paws but some will use all four. They knead down onto an object alternating between left and right paw, sometimes with their claws protracted, sometimes not.
There are several theories as to why cats knead.
Neotenic behaviour is a juvenile trait that has been retained into adulthood. Cats can be first seen kneading when they are kittens. They knead their mother’s stomach, while they are suckling, to help stimulate the release of milk. Cats usually knead before they settle down, just as a kitten would after feeding. The comfort kneading behaviour brings can help to bond kittens to their mothers and littermates. And even though it can sometimes be painful when a cat is kneading your leg to shreds, it can help your cat bond with you.
Another reason cats knead is to mark territory.
There are scent glands located in the soft pads on the bottom of their paws and kneading stimulates these glands to leave a scent mark. So when you see your cat kneading on the bed, a cushion or even your lap. They are not only telling you they feel relaxed and secure,
they could also be claiming ownership!
Kneading is completely natural behaviour and shouldn’t be discouraged.
If your cats kneading starts damaging furniture, clothes or you! There are several solutions. You can take your cat to the vet to have their nails clipped. This should limit the amount of damage or pain that they can inflict. Having a towel handy so that you can use it to protect your furniture and your lap. Some females increase their kneading when they are in heat. If you haven’t already, it may be an idea to think about getting them spayed.