Have you ever stumbled upon your cat kneading and biting a blanket? It looks as if your cat is practicing its baking skills and enjoying it at the same time.
Many cat owners tend to find such a behavior endearing yet puzzling.
But what can cause your cat to behave in this manner?
Cats knead surfaces to mark them with their unique scent. This comes from scent glands that are located in their paws. Biting blankets remind cats of their kitten days, suggesting they’re feeling relaxed and comfy.
Kneading in cats starts young but why does it continue into adulthood? Discover how this behavior evolves as your cat grows.
What Is Cat Kneading?
Cat kneading is a common and instinctual behavior in cats.
Not only do our little domesticated felines engage in kneading but their bigger cousins in the wild do it too.
Kneading happens when cats push their paws in and out against a soft surface, such as a blanket, pillow or you.
This rhythmic action often alternates between the left and right paw. The act of kneading is also known as ‘making biscuits’ amongst cat aficionados.
Some cats will also suckle or bite the object that they are kneading.
Here are the reasons that can cause your cat to knead and bite your blanket.
Cats Are Territorial
Cats are led by their noses which is why they tend to leave their own scent markings wherever they go.
Kittens knead their mothers often to leave their scent and to make sure mommy recognizes and nurtures them.
They have scent glands in their paws as well as in other parts of their bodies.
Unsterilized female and male cats will mark walls and objects with urine to signify their readiness to mate.
You can help to prevent this behavior by neutering your cat which has other health benefits too.
Cats will rub themselves against their owners to mark them as the cat’s property.
If you have more than one cat at home, each cat will mark their scent on furniture or favorite rest spots to let the other cats know that this place is mine and off-limits.
Therefore a cat kneading a soft blanket yields the same intention.
Even though cats look very adorable when kneading stuff, it has been a very instinctive action for them since young.
For Comfort And Relaxation
Have you ever noticed the entranced expression on your cat’s face as they knead?
This rhythmic, repetitive action almost always puts a cat in a soothing, almost meditative state.
My cat looks like he just had the experience of a lifetime when he starts kneading.
It usually involves super loud purring and some drooling.
This cat kneading behavior releases endorphins which improves your cat’s mood and well being.
When a cat is a kitten, it kneads around its mother’s tit to let her know that it’s hungry.
As the cat becomes an adult, the act of kneading remains a nostalgic ritual that makes it feel warm and secure.
Here are some reasons why a cat would bite on your blanket.
Out Of Habit
There are times when a cat just loves to chew and bite on things. It might help them to relax but it is mostly out of habit from its years as a kitten.
Cats can also suffer from OCD and obsessive chewing can be one sign of it.
Not only would you find your cat biting your blanket, but it will also chew on anything that it likes like houseplants and even slippers.
You might have to bring your cat to the vet or pet behaviorist if the biting and chewing get out of hand.
You don’t want your feline companion biting on your electrical chords or chewing on poisonous plants that can harm your cat.
If biting and chewing on the blanket is something that your cat has started doing out of the blue, it could be suffering from Pica syndrome.
This behavioral defect causes a cat to start eating and biting on non-edible objects like plastic, fabric, paper and cardboard.
Some cats can take it to extremes and ingest strange objects like gel window clings.
These materials can’t be digested by the cat and can cause blockages in their digestive tract.
Vets don’t really know what causes such an issue with cats but it is more common in younger cats.
It’s speculated that it could be due to genetics, boredom, stress, OCD or being weaned too young.
If you notice your cat biting on stuff recently and showing signs of soft stools, puking and lack of appetite, you will need to let your vet know and learn how to manage it.
Biting or chewing on your blanket could also mean that your cat is having dental problems like tooth decay or infected gums.
Your cat might be biting and chewing to ease the discomfort that it is feeling in its mouth.
If your cat is showing other signs of dental issues like drooling, bleeding gums and bad breath, take your cat to the vet for a check.
You can help prevent dental problems in your cat if you start brushing its teeth as a kitten. Just make sure not to use human toothpaste which can be toxic for cats.
Your Cat Is Anxious
A cat that is feeling anxious and stressed out can also turn to biting and kneading compulsively.
You will need to ascertain what is causing this sudden change in your cat to try and normalize its behavior.
Some anxious cats can even hide or sleep under the blanket to feel more secure.
There are a couple of factors that can cause a cat’s anxiety and stress levels to shoot up
Change Of Environment
Have you recently moved house or done some major renovation to your home?
This can throw your cat off as it has yet to adapt to its new surroundings.
Cats are creatures of habit and are slow to make changes. They prefer to stick to a set schedule and can get antsy when things don’t go as planned.
Try spending more time with your cat and give it some time to get accustomed to the changes.
Take a towel, rub it on your cat and start rubbing the towel all over the house to mark your cat’s scent.
This can make your cat feel more relaxed and comfortable and stop using biting and kneading as a crutch.
Addition Of A New Family Member
Cats are not packed animals and spend most of their lives alone in the wild.
If there has been a recent addition to the family in the form of a third cat or human, your cat might not take to it well.
The scent of the new pet or human is not familiar to your cat and this can cause undue stress for it.
Any new pets should be properly socialized with your existing cat to ensure that they get along well in the future.
Why Do Cats Bite Blankets?
As cute as it seems when your cat is happily biting your blanket, it can be somewhat gross to have huge saliva spots all over the blanket after it’s done.
Cats biting blankets is a different action compared to a cat biting out of fear or anger.
Cats learn to bite as kittens while playing with their littermates.
Kittens will also bite and suck on their mother’s nipple at feeding time.
Most mature cats usually stop biting as they get older but the texture and feel of a soft blanket might bring out the kitten in them.
Should You Be Concerned About Your Cat’s Kneading and Biting?
Most of the time, such behavior are normal for cats and should not be a concern.
You will normally notice your cat indulging in kneading and biting when it is relaxed and ready to sleep.
For cats that spend an inordinate amount of time kneading and biting, there’s a chance that your cat is feeling bored.
Are you spending enough quality time with your cat?
Even though cats are more independent than dogs, they still require a certain amount of attention.
Cats are more independent than dogs in general but there are some cat breeds that require more attention from their cat parents.
Try distracting your cat with toys or a training session. Do something to stimulate your cat physically and mentally.
Why Do Cats Knead And Purr?
While your cat is kneading, you will most likely hear your cat purr as well.
Purring for a cat generally means that it is contented and relaxed. You can feel your cat’s body vibrate gently while it purrs too.
As kneading is a comforting behavior for cats, it will cause them to purr and slowly drift off to sleep.
Kittens separated from their litter before 12 weeks often grow up to be insecure, needy adults.
This can be seen when cats bite blankets or suckle on them as they were never properly weaned off their mother’s milk.
Cats can also purr when they are injured as purring has been shown to be at a frequency that helps your cat’s body heal itself.