Have you ever observed this behavior in your cat? What does it mean? Why is he doing this? Our answer.
Does your cat stretch out its paws, pull out its claws, squint its eyes and start purring, alternately pressing the pads on a soft surface? If this behavior does not benefit from a specific word in French, many vets or cat owners say that the animal “patouns” or “kneads” the place where it is settling down.
What is a “pawing” or “kneading” cat?
We’re talking about a cat that “paws” or “kneads” when it seems to feel with its paws a pillow, a blanket or even your belly before settling down to sleep.
It is a regular movement. To continue, the cat uses its two front paws (or hind paws at the same time), halves its claws, then retracts them while stomping on a soft or comfortable surface.
It is possible that by performing this activity on you, your cat will stick out its claws a little too much. Know that he has no intention of hurting you. If this action bothers you, put him in a nice place where he can feel safe. There is no need to punish him, your cat may feel insecure.
Why does my cat “paw”?
This movement is an instinctive behavior in kittens. To facilitate the increase of milk, the kittens, with the help of their paws, press on their mothers’ teats to more easily expel the milk they are nursing. This work can last until the end of breastfeeding (weaning).
In weaned cats, this behavior can mean different things. Kneading an object also marks its territory. More subtle than scratching (claw marks on your furniture or trees to leave a visual message to other cats) and less obnoxious than urine sprays, your cat marks its territory thanks to the scent glands in its pads. These glands allow it to release pheromones and thus deposit its scent. For his congeners, it is a deterrent, meaning they should not approach.
Another natural behavior noted in adult cats is that females in heat may pat their hindquarters open.
My cat’s paws: is he happy or stressed?
Usually a cat paws when it is happy. This kneading action done in the kitten’s infancy actually took place during feeding, so a pleasant memory. Moreover, this action is generally followed by purring and narrowing of the eyes (synonymous with relaxation) or even closed eyes (synonymous with confidence).
But a cat that paws too often or violently may be suffering from a behavioral disorder. Especially if it is accompanied by a “horse sucking” (aspiration on an object), scratching on the furniture, needs outside the litter box or even aggressiveness.
This “excessive” patoonage may be associated with early or non-existent weaning. As a reminder, wait at least 8 weeks before weaning a kitten. If you witness this behavior problem in your cat, it is important to seek advice from his vet.