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Why do cats "knead" things?

Cat owners tend to be very close to their feline friends. It’s not uncommon that when sharing moments of relaxation, and the cat is very close, whether it be cuddled up on its owner’s lap or next to them on the sofa, the cat starts to make a repetitive movement with their legs as if it were kneading dough.

This has a double explanation: on the one hand, newborn kittens make this movement to put pressure on their mother’s mammary glands, stimulating the output of milk. This behavior stays with the adult cat as a stress-relieving mechanism and to make them feel comfortable.

On the other hand, and as we explained in our article about pheromones, cats have glands that release pheromones in their plantar pads. So when they make these movements on their owners’ legs on the sofa, or on objects around the house such as blankets and pillows, they’re actually marking their territory, showing what’s theirs and also using it as a way to relax and feel comfortable.

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