A cat’s claws are the most sensitive part of its body, and while cat claws make them a deadly weapon, their velvety paws have been engineered for a variety of purposes, including rubbing a female cat for milk.
When the kitten is still dependent on its mother for food, the kitten will rhythmically push against the mother cat’s breast with its front paws to stimulate the release of milk. Known as kneading because it’s similar to the way bread dough is made, the behavior sometimes carries over into adulthood, causing many felines to knead soft objects when they seem to be feeling especially happy and content.
While we can’t be sure, we suspect these emotions will return to the feel-good nursing moments of kitten days. As a result, adult cats rubbing their owners’ legs may actually be expressing their love to a surrogate human “mom.”
Other possible explanations for kneading
While it may be comforting to think that your feline friend rubs you as a show of love, the field of animal behavior science has several other hypotheses that explain the phenomenon of rubbing in adult cats.
Since felines were domesticated more than 2,000 years ago, some scientists believe that domestic cats still have some instinctive behaviors that can be traced back to their wild roots; for example, when feral cats are settling in the wild to rest or prepare to give birth, they often pat leaves. to create a soft surface on which to lie down.
Another possible scientific explanation for why cats knead is that they have scent glands in their claws, which are used to mark and claim an area, for sexual “advertising” or territorial ownership. Cats may be kneading a particularly soft spot they want to claim as their own.
Paws, stomps and strange behavior
Cats can also use soft paws to test the safety of objects by tentatively tapping the surface of the object to measure temperature, texture, or stability. These little claws on an object – or sometimes another cat or person – are a way for cats to use their multifunctional claws to interact with their surroundings and also to start play or to send a slight beep to others. Blame cats or humans.
Another strange behavior that most cats exhibit is what’s called “back foot stomping,” or moving quickly back and forth between each foot and appearing to be shaking their bottoms. For example, while male kittens do so after riding on females during breeding, both boy and girl cats exhibit hindfooting when playing and hunting when ready to attack.
Some cats also use their hind paws to scrape after peeing. Kicking some dirt will not only leave scent trails on the paw pads, but may also leave a visual clue to alert an intruder that the territory has been possessed by an alpha cat.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can give your pet the best advice.