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Kneading is a very well-known behavior of domestic cats. Cats alternate between their left and right front paws while rhythmically pushing in and out on a soft and pliable surface. This behavior is also called "kneading dough" or "making biscuits." Many people instantly associate kneading with cats, but why do cats knead?

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1. Behavior

The reasons for kneading are not clear, although many theories exist. Almost every theory to explain why cats knead classifies kneading as objectively good. Most possible theories for kneading state that it is a behavior done when the cat feels safe and loved.

The actual kneading motion differs between cats. Some cats use their claws while others keep claws sheathed. Sometimes cats use all four paws to knead, while it is more common to see them use only the front paws. The frequency of the behavior differs too. Many cats knead almost every time they decide to have a nap, but some cats only knead sporadically.

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