Caturday felids: kneading

If you have a cat, you’ve undoubtedly seen it “knead”: it puts its paws on something soft, like a pillow or your stomach, spreads its toes, and makes rhythmical, alternating movements of its front paws, as if it’s kneading dough. The common explanation for this is that it’s a carryover from kittenhood:  kittens are said to knead their mothers’ stomachs when nursing, which may stimulate mom to give milk.  (Verifying this is a job for cat evolutionary psychologists.)  And damn if Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry on cat kneading,

This “kneading” behavior of cats can be put to good use.  Though I haven’t yet seen them make bread, they can do a wicked massage:

Here’s a cat massaging a dog. That’s just wrong!

15 Comments

  1. Jacobus van Beverningk
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Ah! I always though my cats did that to let me know it was time for me to snip their nails again!
    A RATHER effective method, I should add!

  2. Bernie
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    One of our female cats would climb onto our Great Pyrenees as he slept and knead away. She wouldn’t miss a beat as he rolled over onto the other side.

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    A dog! There’s a dog in that video! And the cat is duly servile, to boot.

    • Jacobus van Beverningk
      Posted August 21, 2010 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Cat is servile? You’re naively mistaking action for serving! It’s the DOG that serves the needs of the cat: the need to knead.

  4. MosesZD
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Here’s a cat massaging a dog. That’s just wrong!

    I prefer to believe the cat is tenderizing him. Like Kobe beef.

    • Jacobus van Beverningk
      Posted August 21, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      There ya go! That’s it! Whether it’s applied to dough, dogs or chests: it all comes down to simply food processing. Is all.

  5. Leslie Klug
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Does anyone have any of those cats’ numbers? I could use a massage and my cats aren’t up for it.

  6. Posted August 21, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I love this cat massages:

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted August 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Mroow!

  7. LIL
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    As someone who has bred cats, I can confirm that kittens ‘knead’ when suckling, and that I have ‘kneaded’ nipples myself when trying to get new mothers to produce milk for newly-born kits to suckle, when they have been groggy after a caesarian.

  8. Damian
    Posted August 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    What! no drool? Why do my cats have to drip when they knead.

    • Jacobus van Beverningk
      Posted August 22, 2010 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      Haven’t you always secretly wanted someone to drool over your body?

  9. Posted August 22, 2010 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    In our house, that behaviour is called ‘poddling’. I poddle, you poddle, he poddles, etc.

    We once had a Burmese who was hilarious, but he never poddled with his front paws – only with his back feet, from his heels down to his toes, as if wiping them on a doormat.

  10. Kirth Gersen
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Our cat loves to intently knead my wife’s stomach with all four paws simultaneously.

  11. Jim Teacher
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    And all this time I figured it was just because it probably makes their feet feel good.


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