Cats can surprise us with some new weird actions every day. And they always leave us wondering what’s on their mind. One of those things includes spending a lot of time with the soft items around the house. And I’m sure you can’t help but think “Why do cats knead and bite blankets?“
Every time your pet does something, you get a feeling that you’re the only owner who has to deal with such a thing. It’s especially true when you have a cat. Because they’re the animals who display the strangest kinds of behavior on a daily basis. And kneading and biting blankets is just one of them.
Luckily for you, you’re not the only feline owner who asked the same question. And I’m ready to share all the knowledge I have with you. I hope it will help you understand your fluffy friend better and you’ll finally get closer to figuring out what’s going on in her head.
I guess it’s time for us to start this fun lesson about our favorite roommates. So, let’s not wait any longer or your kitty will start doing some other unusual thing and you’ll be left with two unanswered questions.
What does it mean to knead and bite blankets?
I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of behavior before but you just didn’t know what’s it called. People usually compare it to making bread or even pizza dough. Kneading happens when your cat decides to press her claws into a soft surface. It can be a cushion, clothes, you, or most commonly a blanket.
When felines do this move they push in and out against that soft surface they’ve chosen. Another common thing they do is bite their blankets, pillows, or any other thing they fancy.
Did you know that cats have sweat glands on their paws? It helps them stay cool down when it’s too hot, but they also have the power to release a unique scent that cats can use to mark their territory. And they like to use it if they live with other cats.
But why? Because cats would knead and bite blankets in order to leave their scent on them. If they do this, it means that their territory will be safe from other cats stealing it. And they won’t be forced to defend their favorite objects.
Some sources say that kneading and biting on soft objects means that your kitty is happy. As she would lay down and make a happy purring sound. It means that she’s relaxed, and she’s enjoying the moment in her own peaceful place.
Why do cats knead and bite blankets? 7 most common reasons
If you’re a cat owner, then you’ve probably already figured out that every question you ask about cats, always has more than 2-3 answers. It’s never simple with cats. And today’s question “Why do cats knead and bite blankets?” has 7 answers. Luckily for you, I’ve prepared all of them.
1) Cats are marking their territory
If you go back to the beginning of this article you’ll be able to see that I’ve actually mentioned this. Cats like to mark their territory but they always do it in the cleanest ways possible. So they’ll use their paws and the sweat glands will help them leave their scent on things they’ve chosen.
It’s always going to be their favorite item or part of the house. Your kitty likes soft things because they feel nice and she won’t risk anyone taking them from her. So if you have more than one cat you can be pretty sure that they are marking their favorite spots around your home.
That way, they avoid unnecessary fights and stressful moments. They might seem like animals that are always ready to fight (and they are), but they still prefer to have their own peace.
2) It’s a nursing technique
If you’re wondering why cats knead and bite blankets, you might be surprised to hear that it’s their natural behavior. But how? It starts from the moment the kitten is born. They’ve been “kneading” from their nursing days as that movement stimulates the production of milk.
They can keep doing it even after they stop drinking their mother’s milk. This behavior makes them feel safe, loved, and relaxed. It’s their comfort zone.
Some kitties can continue doing this even when they’re older, especially if they’ve been separated from their mothers at an early age. Kneading on different soft objects makes them feel like they’re close to their mother.
That’s how many cats end up spending their time biting their blankets. Even though it sounds like an unusual behavior it’s actually much more common than you would think it was. It’s simply a comforting habit that reminds your cat of her mother.
3) Wild cat instincts
Of course, everybody knows that cats weren’t always domesticated animals. They have pretty scary, dangerous, fascinating, and wild ancestors. I’m sure you’ve heard about them. You know…tigers, leopards, jaguars…
Well, your cute fluffy friend still shares some personality traits with them, as they can be passed down through generations. It is no surprise that some of her behavior is similar to something her distant cousins do.
Cats who live in the wilderness knead the ground around them so they can put grass and leaves there in order to make a comfy bed or a perfect place to give birth at. So if you notice your cat kneading an area before she sits or lays to take a nap, this might be the reason why.
In addition to this, it can still be connected to marking her territory as wild cats do the same thing when they find their favorite spot.
4) It helps them relax
Kneading on their mother while nursing makes cats feel relaxed. And when they get separated from their mothers they are looking for something that would make them feel the same way. And in that search, they often find soft items very comforting.
Cats feel vulnerable while they eat and sleep. Since they can’t bite the blanket while eating, the only option that’s left is doing it before taking a nap. They do that because it can create a sense of safety. How? It reminds them of their mothers and times when they felt safest.
You’ll often hear your cat purr while she’s cuddling with a soft blanket, pillow, or even one of your plush toys. Honestly, it’s such a good way to relax that we should also copy their behavior. Napping while holding something that calms us down is a purrfect idea.
5) It’s a sign of trust
If you have a kitty who spends most of her time cuddling and biting her blanket, then it could mean that she feels comfortable in her environment. She’s enjoying the soft textures that are around her and it’s relaxing her.
As I’ve already mentioned if you hear her making purr sounds you can sleep peacefully knowing that she’s just a happy little cat whose favorite part of the day is chilling in her soft blanket. If she’s feeling like that while she’s near you, you can be sure that she trusts you and loves living with you so much.
When you think about it, it’s similar to what we do during those cold winter nights. Crawl to our beds and hug our soft blankets while watching our favorite Christmas movies.
6) Pica syndrome
Have you ever heard about pica? It’s a condition that both humans and animals can suffer from. Even though it’s not something we hear people talking about on a daily basis, it’s still a common issue that many have to face.
To explain it to you in the simplest way, it’s a condition that makes your cat try to eat inedible objects she finds. Those are usually materials that are unhealthy such as plastic, wood, or synthetic fabrics. Cats with pica would constantly chew or lick the objects they can’t eat.
If your cat is doing this with her blanket all the time, then it might be a good thing to call your vet and ask for their opinion. Better safe than sorry!
7) Dental issues
Another possible health issue that might be the reason your cat is doing this might be of dental nature. Some cats knead and bite blankets to ease their toothache. If this is the reason then you’ll probably see your cat aggressively pulling the blanket or chewing on it.
That way they’re trying to help themselves, but also to catch your attention. They are smart animals and they know that if you notice anything unusual in their behavior, you’ll react. And they’re hoping that you won’t ignore their call for help.
So, if you notice that your cat is doing this it’s likely that she’s dealing with gum disease or tooth decay. And the best way to solve this problem is again to take her to the vet. It will help her stop the pain, and you’ll sleep better at night knowing that the problem is being solved.
Should you be concerned if your cat kneads and bites blankets?
If cats knead and bite blankets their owners need to be very careful. But why? Because it can be very dangerous for them.
Blankets, pillows, or other soft things your cat chooses to bite should always be made of cat-safe materials.
That’s because chemicals that are used in cheap materials can cause serious allergic reactions. Not only to your pets but to you too. If you notice that your feline is sneezing, has swollen paws or irritated skin, and is even vomiting I would advise you to contact your vet as soon as you can.
One more thing that can be helpful when trying to keep your kitty safe is to wash her favorite blanket at least once a week. That way you’ll protect her from bacteria and lower the chance of getting any illnesses or infections.
How to stop your cat from doing it?
And now that we answered “Why do cats knead and bite blankets?” and “Should I worry about that?“, there’s only one thing left. And that’s how to stop her from doing it.
As we already learned, it’s usually nothing scary. However, doing something constantly can still do some harm as your cat could become obsessed with it. And it could lead to behavioral problems. So, it’s a good thing to know a few ways of stopping her when she’s been kneading and biting them for too long.
1) Play with scents
If you’re scared that your cat’s behavior might turn to obsessive actions, you can try to stop her by playing with different scents. It’s known that cats, like us, have many things they like and even more of those that they dislike.
Scents like different citruses can always make them gag. So if you’re looking for a way to stop your cat from kneading and biting your blankets, you can try rinsing your laundry with fabric softeners. Especially the ones containing lavender, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, or citronella.
Those are definitely some scents that will keep her away from the things you spray this on.
2) Use a replacement technique
It’s not recommended to just take her favorite blanket away. That’s a situation that can cause a lot of stress to her and your kitty might start feeling anxious. Then you may end up dealing with more serious issues.
However, a replacement technique is always a good idea. You can try taking her blanket away but putting a new toy made out of good-quality material. That way you’ll also protect your kitty from allergies and bacteria.
3) Spend more time with her
Sometimes your fluffball just misses you and she wants to find a way to grab your attention. Maybe she tried some other things which you didn’t notice and then she figured out that her strange behavior will definitely make you pay more attention to her.
That’s why your cat started kneading and biting blankets. She can’t really go to your room and tell you that she misses cuddling with you. But she can find some other soft and squishy items to cuddle with while she’s waiting for you to notice her mood has changed.
I know that it’s sometimes hard to find enough time for everything. But it’s always possible to find at least half an hour and play with your fluffy friend. Trust me, she’ll appreciate it very much. And your mood will definitely improve too!
4) Use treats
When you’re trying to discipline a pet, a good way to do so is to use treats. Just don’t forget to make sure you know which treats are good for her and which ones can cause health problems. Learning something new is always easier than making your cat stop doing something. However, it’s far from impossible.
You can try to teach her not to bite your blanket and every time she reacts well to your “No” you can give your fluffball her favorite treat.
We’ve reached the end of our lesson. Congratulations on being productive today! You learned the answers to “Why do cats knead and bite blankets,” “Does it require worrying” and “How to stop it?” You truly are an amazing owner and your fluffball is truly happy to have you.
I hope you now know that this “unusual” action is actually more usual than you thought it was. And also that it mostly doesn’t point out any serious problems. It’s just one of the ways your kitty likes to cuddle and enjoy soft objects.
However, always remember the possibility of dealing with pica, allergies, and dental issues. So keep them in mind if you notice that your cat is not feeling well. Remember that almost every problem can be solved if you react on time, so always keep your vet on quick dial.