Kneading My Leg

by Heidi
(Muskegon, MI)

First, I'll give you some background information, in case it will help. We have had our male cat ("Squirt") for about five years; we've had our female cat ("Brigit"} for about 3 years. Both are indoor cats, both have been 'fixed', and both have been declawed. Except for a few minor spats now and then, they get along very well.

There have been no major changes around our house for months but, just in the last few weeks, Squirt has developed an odd habit. At night, when we are in bed and our legs are covered with blankets, he has taken a liking to...well, I don't know exactly how to describe it...he balances on my calf (or my husband's), kind of rapidly 'kneading' while taking little steps backwards and forwards. He either purrs very loudly (it's rare for him to purr, even when he's obviously content) or makes 'chattering' noises, similar to when he's 'talking' to Brigit. He'll do it for several minutes, if we let him - Sometimes, it actually feels getting a massage....other times it hurts and we get him to stop.

It's so strange - I just can't figure it out! Any ideas?

Answer by Kate
Hi, you say you have had your cat for five years but did not say whether he is five years old or older. I only say this as sometimes older cats start to become a little well... senile and can revert back to some kitten behavior.

Kneading like this is a throw back to kitten hood and kneading their mothers tummy for milk etc. It is believed that this kneading action makes the cat feel happy and content.

So I wouldn't worry about the kneading, in fact it is rather a cute thing to do (when it doesn't hurt), my own cat does it from time to time.

best wishes Kate

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