December 2012 Issue

Why Do They... knead with their paws?

his occasional series explores the reasons for cats’ often intriguing behavior. If you would like to submit a question, please write to CatWatch Editor, 800 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk, CT 06854, or email

Theories on cats’ kneading or treading — rhythmically moving their front paws up and down while flexing and extending their toes — run the gamut from scent marking to mimicking their ancestors in the wild who tamped down grass to create a nest. Kneading, also known as making biscuits, is certainly one of cats’ most beguiling behaviors.

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