Kneading, treading, happy paws, call it what you will. Most of us will have seen our feline friends rhythmically pushing with their paws and purrrring. It can be a two legged or four legged affair, claws in or claws out. It seems to be a happy cat behaviour, something our cats do when they are relaxed and content. But why do they do it?
Well..... we don't truly know but here are some popular theories as to why cats knead with their paws.
Kittens knead at their mothers side while suckling to stimulate milk production. It's possible that adult cats associate this action with the comfort of mum and the snuggles of suckling.
It may be that your cat is telling you he loves you right back! Many cats knead in response to being patted so it may be a reciprocation of affection.
Kneading may be a way of stretching the delicate and flexible joints of the feet, keeping them in tip top condition for hunting and leaping.
Back before cats had established themselves as Lord of the Couch and Master of Any and All Warm Spots in the house their wild ancestors would sleep in soft beds of grass or leaves. Kneading may have been a way of flattening out and preparing a comfy bed to snooze in.
Cats have sent glands in their feet so kneading may be a way of claiming an item - such as a beloved owner - as their very own. Each pad of paw is a stamp of ownership!
These theories may or may not really cover the reason for kneading behaviour but we can be sure that a kneading cat is typically a happy cat so we suggest you take it as a compliment on your patting technique and enjoy those cuddles with your happy pawed kitty