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Why do cats knead?

By Susan Hazel, Senior Lecturer, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Adelaide
Julia Henning, PhD Candidate, University of Adelaide
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“Kneading” is when cats massage an object with the front paws, which extend and retract, one paw at a time.

This massaging action, named for its resemblance to kneading dough, is repeated rhythmically. You may have spotted your cat kneading and wondered how on Earth they developed such a behaviour.

So, why do cat’s knead? Does it tell us anything about how they’re feeling and is there anything you can do if they’re painfully kneading you while sitting on your lap?


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