Why Do Cats Knead Blankets? 18 Reasons To This Behavior

Last updated on February 5th, 2023 at 05:51 pm

Why do cats knead blankets? While there are many things that cats do that may seem strange to us, blanket-kneading is definitely at the top of the list for most cat owners. It is an activity that many of their owners have never seen before, but it should not be something that will bother you.
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Why do cats knead blankets? While there are many things that cats do that may seem strange to us, blanket-kneading is definitely at the top of the list for most cat owners. It is an activity that many of their owners have never seen before, but it should not be something that will bother you. In fact, if you pay attention to what your cat is doing, you will see that it is communicating with you in ways that are absolutely fascinating. It just might want to communicate in a way that only it can! So, why do cats knead blankets? Here are 18 unique reasons why do cats knead blankets?

1. Mark their territory

When a cat kneads a blanket or any soft item, it is not just a way to relieve stress. It is also claiming that “space” as its territory. It is not uncommon to see cats kneading their bedding before settling for a nap in the middle of the night. Cats may also knead your pillows and blankets on which they are resting near you, watching TV or just hanging out together. The kneading action is simply another way for them to get comfortable and claim an area as their own.

2. A sign of comfort

It doesn’t matter if you are a cat owner or not; anyone who has ever owned a pet or been around animals long enough knows that they can put their bodies into positions that most human beings would never dream of trying or even being able to do. Cats can contort their bodies into just about any shape imaginable, and kneading is one of those things. By kneading the blanket, cats get the same relief you might get from doing a hundred sit-ups in 1 day. The kneading motion is a form of exercise and relief for tense muscles and nerves. In addition to helping relax the muscles, it is also an indication of comfort with their surroundings.

3. Tug of war

Cats are known for their love of pulling objects, especially when playtime comes into the equation. They will often tug with their mouth as well, especially on your hair if you are lucky enough to have them as pets. The reason why do cats knead blankets is simply an extension of that behavior and part of the cat’s nature to enjoy pulling objects and the human body. It is also a way of emitting stress. Cats knead when they are stressed, whether it is because they are comfortable in their own space or not or just itching to get something out of their system that they can’t seem to shake off.

4. A Sign of trust

If your cat kneads before they take a nap on the bed beside you, rest assured that it is not because they are trying to claim your bed as their own. It is because they feel safe enough to do so. The pressure of the cat’s paw against the blanket serves as a security blanket for them. This kind of security allows them to relax and get some rest while you are there with them, petting and reassuring them that they are loved and safe with you. While this action can be an indication of trust, it is more likely an act of affection towards you.

5. Genetic history

Cats that were domesticated long ago, especially those whose ancestors were feral, can show this behavior from time to time. It is one of the many behaviors that are still seen in cats that are not domestic or as domesticated as others. The kneading motion comes from their genetic history and goes back thousands of years. It is most commonly seen when they are in their “cave” or comfortable space and feel relaxed enough to do so. Even if the cat has been living in a home for many generations, they may still have a remnant of this behavior left over in them.

6. Hormones

It is also possible that a female cat is kneading the blanket because of her hormones. In the weeks leading up to her heat cycle, she may have increased levels of various hormones in the body. These can result in increased aggression and irritability as well as slightly different responses to stimuli. The same thing happens with other animals, including humans. This can have an effect on cat’s behavior as well, resulting in a few more instances of kneading and other actions that are considered more aggressive or even dominant in nature than normal.

7. Stress Relief

There are a whole host of behavioral and scientific theories about why cats knead. Chalk it up to one of those things that we just don’t know for sure. That’s OK. Cat owners usually prefer not to try and figure out the whys and how of everything their cats do, but instead, choose to simply recognize when they are doing something that they have never seen before and go with it. When the blankets start getting pushed around in the night by your cat’s paw, they are probably getting some relief from whatever is bothering them at the time.

8. A Need for Something Else to Focus On

Like humans, cats are distracted by many things in their environment. They can lose track of time, especially when they are relaxed and comfortable. Although cat owners will tell you that their cats live a lot of it, they spend very little time “living” in the cat world. The kneading can be a way for them to focus on something besides their stress or whatever is bothering them. Like human beings, cats also enjoy being distracted by other things while resting and getting comfortable in their own space. And as cat owners know, this is often when your cat is happiest.

9. A Response to Pain

There are many physical and mental conditions that can cause kneading in cats. Cats with arthritis will often start to exhibit this behavior when they have flare-ups of pain during the day and at night. Cats also tend to knead when they feel anxious, anxious because of something that is bothering them or because they are stressed out by something they read or heard while they were relaxing. Just as with humans, cats can become easily stressed by things that go on outside their home, such as the sound of a car driving by or someone trying to get into their home through a window. They can also become very nervous when a family member suddenly shows up unexpectedly at the door.

10. A Sense of Pleasure

Yes, you read that correctly. Cats can enjoy the sensation of kneading and can even work at a slow and steady pace to provide their type of pleasurable experience. Experienced cat owners will tell you that cats are not continuously “kneading” their blankets, but they are often rolling around in them while they are kneading them. The sensation is somewhat different because the blanket doesn’t have the same amount of giving to it as a human body does, and it can be uncomfortable for a cat to knead in certain spots. But it is still something that cats find pleasurable as well.

11. A Way to Show Affection

While cats do have their own way of showing Affection, and they do this through a series of body language cues, they are also known to use a few more. For example, they may knead your clothing when you are sitting on the couch, and you stop paying attention to them. This is not something that is done in the heat of the moment, like when you get home from work or see them for the first time that morning. But it does happen. It is another way for cats to show their owners how much they appreciate being with them and how much they enjoy having you around as well.

12. An Expression of Disinterest

It is also possible for a cat to knead if they are simply bored and not really paying attention to what it is doing. This behavior does not usually last very long, but it may happen several times during the day. Breathing or going for a drink of water can also be a way for cats to show that they are just not interested in whatever it is that they have been doing at the time. Cats can even knead in the middle of the night if they are simply something else on their mind and nothing else is around them that could be interesting enough to hold their attention.

13. An Expression of the Mate

Cats do not always knead when they are sitting on their blanket, but they can, and many of them do. That is why it is so important to know what the behavior actually means. For example, once cats reach adulthood, it is often a sign that they want to mate with their partner. When this happens, they will often work on their blanket-kneading behavior. This is an expression of the need to be together, and it is usually a good sign that your cat wants you to take notice of him or her. So, stop what you are doing and take note!

14. A Way to Get Attention

Cats are masters of pestering humans when they want something. They will scratch at the door, meow loudly and work on their blanket-kneading behavior in hopes that someone will pay attention to them for a few seconds. It is a way for cats to work on their interests by doing something that humans already enjoy doing – relaxing and being with them!

15. Mimicking the Behavior of Other Animals

There are many different animals that cats mimic in several different situations. Cats will use this same kind of method when trying to communicate with other types of animals as well. This can be especially true for some of the more endangered and shy species that cats often come into contact with. Kneading is a very common way that cats will mimic the actions of other animals, especially rodents, domestic cats and even male cats.

16. A Way to Work on Their Reflexes

Another reason why do cats knead blankets Maybe that they are working on their reflexes, and they will be using it while they are trying to learn a new skill when they are young. It is similar to the way that a baby uses a blanket in order to learn how to crawl.

17. A Way to Keep Warm

Cats that live outside in colder climates often use this method of keeping warm at night by simply rolling and kneading on their blankets for warmth and comfort. In turn, they also use it during the day to stay warm while they bask in the sun.

18. A Way to Practice Their Feeding Skills

Cats are very good at practicing new skills, and this is particularly true for younger ones that are still learning how to be more independent. They will work on their blanket-kneading skills to practice their feeding techniques and coordination when they are just learning how to use their paws and mouths to eat for themselves. It is among the first signs that a cat is on its way to independence but will still play around with you from time to time. In fact, it can happen as early as a week after being born!


So why do cats knead blankets? Well, there are many different reasons why cats do this, and it all depends on their situation at the time. If you want to know what these reasons are, just refer to the above list that we went through in order to help you understand even more about your cat’s behavior. Don’t be afraid of your cat’s blanket-kneading behavior. Instead, learn more about it and take advantage of it while it lasts. Kneading can mean a lot to your cat and is a great way to spend time with them.

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