a cat interrupted while making biscuits

Why Do Cats Make Biscuits? Blankets, You, etc.

Posted by Dr. Kyle Burton on

If you own a cat or hang out with a cat for long enough, you will see them repeat a kneading motion with their paws. They might knead the bed or the sofa or even start kneading on you. 

Cat kneading is a behavior where cats will rhythmically press their paws against a soft surface, such as a blanket, pillow, or their owner’s lap. This behavior is sometimes called ‘Making Biscuits’ because it looks like the cat is kneading dough. Kneading is usually accompanied by purring and may even involve the cat licking the surface they are kneading. 

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So Exactly Why Do Cats ‘Make Biscuits’?

Although this behavior is completely normal, you may wonder why your cat makes biscuits. Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are some of the most common reasons why your cat is kneading.

Makes Cats Feel Comfortable & Content

Cats are known to knead when they are feeling comfortable and content. Kneading is believed to be a behavior passed down from the time cats were kittens. When they were nursing, they needed to knead their mother's fur to stimulate milk production. 

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As they grew older, they continued to knead to show affection or to indicate that they were feeling safe and content. Kneading also serves to comfort cats when they are feeling scared, anxious, or overwhelmed. It can help them relax and feel calmer. It is also believed that when cats knead they are releasing endorphins, which can create a feeling of bliss and happiness.

So if you notice your cat kneading, don't be alarmed - it is simply a sign that they are feeling happy and safe in their environment and want to show you how much they appreciate it.

an orange cat ready for a nap

Getting Ready for a Nap

Cats may seem like they can sleep anywhere at any time, but they still go through the process of getting ready for a nap. First, they'll make sure they are in a safe and comfortable spot.

Cats may look for a secluded area or a spot with lots of sunlight. They might curl up in a tight ball or stretch out in a sunbeam. Cats will knead as a way of making a comfortable bed for themselves. They tend to ‘make biscuits’ before they lay down to get it just right. 

Once they have their spot, cats will start to groom themselves. This helps them relax and make sure they look their best. They may lick their fur or knead the spot they’re going to sleep in.

As they get settled in, cats will start to close their eyes and begin to drift off. They may purr or make a soft sleeping sound as they get more relaxed.

Cats may seem like they can fall asleep almost instantly, but they still take the time to get ready for a nap. Kneading before bed is a survival instinct that our cats’ ancestors used to make sure that they were able to find any hidden dangers before bedding down. Knowing this process can help you understand your cat’s behavior and make sure they have a comfortable spot to rest.

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The Cat is In Heat

Cats knead to show they are in heat, also known as the 'mating season'. This is when cats are most likely to seek out a mate and reproduce. During this period, cats will knead their paws on objects, including humans, to show that they are ready to mate. The kneading behavior is believed to be a way of marking their territory, as well as a way to attract potential mates.

When cats are in heat, they often knead more vigorously than usual. This is a sign that they are ready to mate. During this period, cats may also become more vocal and active. They may also start to spray urine around the house as a way of marking their territory for potential mates.

Cats kneading to show they are in heat is a normal part of feline behavior. However, if the kneading becomes excessive or aggressive, it may be a sign that your cat is feeling stressed or anxious.

Because They Love You!

Kneading is often observed when cats are being petted or held, and it is thought that cats knead as a way of expressing their appreciation and pleasure

Generally, cats kneading is a sign of contentment and pleasure and a way for cats to show their affection for their owners. It is important to note that cats may also knead if they are feeling stressed, so it is important to monitor your cat's behavior and pay attention to their body language to ensure they are comfortable and relaxed.

Making Territory

Cats will knead, or ‘make biscuits’, as a way to mark their territory. This is why cats knead their owners, their beds, and other objects they are comfortable with. It is a way for them to spread their scent and establish a feeling of safety and security.

When cats knead, they press their paws against an object while rhythmically moving them back and forth. This is thought to release a pheromone from their sweat glands, which they use to mark their territory. By kneading, cats are essentially saying, “This is mine.”

a white cat stretching

Kitty Yoga

Cats knead in order to stretch out their muscles and keep their joints flexible. Kneading is a natural instinctive behavior in cats and they can do it from a very young age. 

When cats knead, they press their paws in and out, often alternating between the front and back legs. This motion can be quite intense and forceful at times, so it’s important to make sure your cat has a soft surface to knead on.

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Kneading is an important behavior for cats and it helps keep them in good physical shape. If you notice your cat kneading, it’s a sign that they are feeling content and relaxed. Just make sure they have a comfortable surface to knead on and that their nails are not too long.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many reasons why your cat will ‘make biscuits.’ None of these are cause for alarm, so the next time you see your cat kneading, just bask in how adorable they are.

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