Kneading and Self-Soothing

By January 18, 2018Pet Talk

Has your kitten been known to suck on their chest, stomach, or other objects? This may be because they were weaned a little early from mom as a kitten. This suckling is often termed “Wool Sucking” as most kittens who do this behavior may suck on items such as sweaters or blankets. They may suck on other animals, fabrics, carpet, ribbons as well. This behavior can be triggered by stress which can be caused by sudden changes, new home, neighborhood cats, absence of owner, or new pets in the home.

Don’t worry: Kittens who do this behavior generally do not do themselves any harm.  Most kittens out grow this behavior as they mature into adults.

Be concerned: If your kitten or cat prefers to suck on fabric items. The worry is that they can chew or ingest pieces of the item and it could potentially cause an intestinal blockage. If this behavior continues past the first year of life you should try and find the reasons for self-soothing. Work with your veterinarian to identify and deal with the stressors in your cats life.

Kneading is another form of self-soothing. Some people refer to this behavior as “Making biscuits” or “Dancing.” This behavior is usually done on a soft pillow, bed/couch/chair, or blanket. Kittens often knead while suckling on mom to stimulate milk production. Another theory is that kneading is a way of marking territory. Cats have scent glands on the bottoms of their paws and pheromones released are your cats scent.

Don’t worry: kneading is generally is recognized as a way your cat expresses their happiness and many cats continue this behavior throughout their lives. You might notice your cats purr while kneading also that is very normal!

Be concerned: Often times cats associated their owners laps as a happy place and kneading can take place there, and the happier the cat the more kneading occurs. If your cats got claws this could be a painful experience for you!


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