If you have a cat, then you most likely have noticed the weird cute thing they do with their paws right before they lie down for a snooze. The kneading like motion indicates that the cat is relaxed, according to scientists. What’s more, the kneading followed with the all time favorite purr means the cat is near its favorite human. How cute is that?

Kneading in kittens

Kittens start the kneading motion as soon as they are born. They do it on their momma’s belly and it is their way of signaling that they are hungry. Together with their purring, which is their signal for attention, they notify the mom that she should stand still as they are not done feeding.

If the kneading plays such an important role when they are babies, why do cats continue to knead after their two months of age when they stop depending on their mom’s milk?

Time to relax

Once they start entering the “adult world” cats change the meaning behind the kneading. You may have noticed that your cat kneads more often on a certain blanket – it means your kitty really likes that blanket. Yes, cats tend to knead more on things they find relaxing.

Another reason is scent – cats mark objects, even humans by rubbing their body, head, or cheeks in order to leave their scent on said object. Since they also have scent glands between their toes, they might as well like to put a comforting scent where they rest.

Subtle signals

People have been around cats and dogs for thousands of years, which is why we can easily distinguish certain behaviors in our furry friends. While dogs have been bred for centuries in order to create the perfect companion or guardian for the man, cats are bred from more recent times simply for aesthetics. Now, dogs show more obvious signs when they want something or like someone,  but cats tend to be more subtle. So, the kneading can also be a subtle way of simply expressing their liking toward their fellow human.