Why do cats hold blankets in their mouths while kneading?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

Cats are fascinating creatures, aren’t they? One of their quirky behaviors that many cat owners have observed is when they knead and bite at blankets or other soft objects. It’s a behavior that can be quite endearing and puzzling at the same time. So, let’s delve into the reasons why cats engage in this behavior.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that cats are highly instinctual animals, and many of their behaviors are rooted in their ancestral behaviors as kittens. When kittens are nursing from their mother, they instinctively knead at her belly to stimulate milk production and ensure a good flow of milk. This kneading action involves their paws rhythmically pushing against the mother’s body. As they do this, they also often bite or suckle at their mother’s nipples.

As cats grow into adulthood, they no longer need to nurse for milk. However, the instinct to knead and bite at objects remains. It’s believed that this behavior is a way for cats to recreate the comforting and bonding experience they had with their mother during nursing. The action of kneading and biting at blankets or similar objects can provide cats with a sense of security and relaxation.

Additionally, the texture of soft objects like blankets may simulate the feeling of their mother’s fur or the warmth of a nest. Cats have sensitive paws, and the tactile sensation of kneading on a soft surface can be soothing for them. It’s akin to a human rubbing their hands together or massaging their fingers to relieve stress or promote relaxation.

Furthermore, kneading and biting at blankets can also be a sign of contentment and happiness in cats. When they are feeling relaxed and comfortable in their environment, they may engage in this behavior as a way to express their contentment. It’s like a cat’s version of a happy dance!

It’s worth noting that not all cats exhibit this behavior. Some cats may knead and bite at blankets more frequently than others, while some may not do it at all. It can also vary depending on the individual cat’s personality and background. Cats who were weaned too early or lacked proper socialization as kittens may be more prone to engaging in this behavior as adults.

Cats knead and bite at blankets or other soft objects as a way to recreate the comforting and bonding experience they had with their mother during nursing. It’s a natural instinct that provides them with a sense of security, relaxation, and contentment. So, the next time you see your feline friend happily kneading and biting at a blanket, you’ll know that they are simply indulging in their primal instincts and finding comfort in their environment.