You have probably seen your cat kneading a few times but what if your cat humps while kneading? You may find it disgusting or shocking and your reaction would be to stop or reprimand your cat. However, this is normal cat behavior and there is nothing wrong with it at all.
Cats hump while kneading because they may be trying to get your attention, they may be anxious, to release pent-up energy, to show dominance and as an ingrained behavior. At the same time, cats may resort to this peculiar behavior because they find it relaxing or comforting, to mark their territory, as part of an instinct to prepare a place to sleep and also as an extension or remembrance of their kittenhood.
Cat humps while kneading: Unusual behavior explained
If you suddenly notice your cat humping while also kneading, do not take it negatively and do not shout at your cat or reprimand her as it is part of natural cat behavior. Here are the possible reasons why cats hump
1. Your cat may be trying to catch your attention.
Your cat may be humping blankets, pillows or other items as her way of getting your attention. Perhaps you have been too busy recently and have not given your cat enough attention.
2. Your cat may be neutered/spayed at an older age
Your cat may be humping because he/she was neutered or spayed when he/she was already over a year old. Cat humping may already have been an ingrained behavior for them.
3. Your cat may be stressed.
A cat humping at things like blankets or pillows may be stressed or anxious due to sudden changes at home such as a new family member or pet.
4. To burn off pent-up energy.
Cats may resort to humping as their way of releasing pent-up unused energy.
5. As a means to show dominance.
Cats tend to hump to show that they are dominant over other cats and the item they are humping is a sort of representation for them.
Here are the common reasons why cats knead:
1. Cats knead as a leftover behavior from kittenhood
Some cats that have been weaned or separated from their mother too early may knead as a remembrance of their kittenhood wherein they push their mother’s bosom in and out with their paws, alternating between left and right, to stimulate the flow of milk through her nipples.
2. Cats knead to prepare a nest or a place to sleep
Cats tend to knead as part of their instincts that go back to their ancestors that live in the wild. It was believed that wild cats pat grasses or shredded leaves to prepare a comfortable bed or nest to sleep or give birth.
3. Cats find it relaxing and comforting
The kneading motion which is also called “kneading dough” or “making biscuits” is relaxing and comforting for cats.
4. Cats knead to mark their territory
Felines may also knead to release and leave their scent on the items they knead as a way to mark their territory and claim it as their own.
Based on these reasons mentioned above, we can safely assume that cats tend to hump while kneading because they may be trying to get your attention, they may be anxious, to release pent-up energy, to show dominance and as an ingrained behavior. At the same time, cats may resort to this peculiar behavior because they find it relaxing or comforting, to mark their territory, as part of an instinct to prepare a place to sleep and also as an extension or remembrance of their kittenhood.
Some pet owners have observed that aside from humping and kneading, cats may also tend to suckle on things like blankets as a way to imitate or reenact what they normally do as kittens which is to suckle on their mother during nursing time. Interestingly, cats may also hump while kneading as a way to self-soothe when they are in pain or if they are not feeling well.
What to do when your cat humps while kneading?
Here are some things that you can do to prevent your cat from humping when kneading:
Provide cat toys and activities to keep your cat busy.
While your cat’s behavior is not a cause for alarm, you may try to redirect and distract her from it by giving her cat toys and providing a cat tree where she can jump and hop up and about. This will keep your cat busy and release energy.
Keep your cat’s claws trimmed.
Since it is normal cat behavior you should not reprimand or shout at your cat. What you can do is to keep her claws trimmed to avoid getting stuck in the blankets or pillows each time she resorts to humping and kneading. This way, it won’t cause damage or tears to the fabrics.
Spend precious time with your cat.
Sometimes, your cat may just be acting weirdly because you are taking her for granted lately. Try to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes daily just to play and interact with your cat. You may brush her fur, snuggle with her or pet her to let her know that she is important to you.
If you suspect that your cat humps while kneading because of stress or anxiety, you may try pheromones like Feliway Diffuser to calm her down. However, if you notice that your cat is manifesting other signs like licking his/her private parts, feeling lethargic or vomiting and if the cat does not have a good appetite, bring her to the vet as she may be experiencing health issues.
Pet owners may find it bizarre if they see their cats humping while kneading but this should not be regarded negatively since it is a natural cat behavior. Cats may resort to it as a way to release their pent-up energy, to get your attention and if they are stressed or anxious. Also, they may be doing it to self-soothe, because it relaxes and comforts them and also to mark their territory.
Image: istockphoto.com / ba11istic