Cats making biscuits!

Kneading (also known as “making biscuits” for the way it resembles a human making dough) is when a cat pushes their front paws up and down on a surface , alternating between left and right.

Watch multiple cat’s biscuit making behaviour in the link below

The observation year: June 2018- March 2020
Location: Mumbai
Breed - Tabby (Fostered female stray cat.)
Observation age of the cat - From 4 months to 1.8yrs
Lived indoors always


The cat’s mother was killed in an accident couple of days after giving birth to the lone surviving kitten. I fostered Tabby(the cat) at the age of 4 months from a friend. Always been a nervous and scared cat around new people. Being the closest to me she used to spend most of the time around me or sleep next to me.

Observed the kneading behaviour 1-2 months after she was fostered. She was 5 months old by then. She used to knead 90% times only when I had lied down and her favourite spot to knead was my belly. The rest 10% times it was my soft blanket. There was no specific time of the day when I saw her repeating this. It could be before she had her food or at times even after that. Her kneading lasted for a couple of seconds to minutes. She did not make any (purr)sounds while kneading. She seemed to be calm. Unfortunately, at times it was painful as she digs in with her sharp nails. I’m not sure if she did realise that it hurts. She used to walk away after the kneading activity was done.

She rarely kneaded any of my other flatmates or their belongings.

I had read about this behaviour that a kitten instinctually kneads to help stimulate the mother’s milk production. But why do they continue to knead past nursing age?
But tabby was with her mother for just a few days. Is kneading a natural, instinctual, and common cat behaviour?

  • Are they trying to show affection?

  • Kneading to mark what’s theirs? (by activating the scent glands in their soft paw pads)

  • Do all cats across all breeds show this biscuit making behaviour? And is it observed throughout their life?

  • Another hypothesis proposes that kneading harks back to a time before domestication when wild cats supposedly patted down foliage to make a soft surface for sleeping or giving birth. The behaviour may now be an instinctual part of settling down.

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References to the above observation of kneading behavior of cats-

Also, know the difference between a cat scratching and kneading

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I heard that wild cat generally bury its excreted material in Earth. How true is that? If it is true, why does a cat do that?