Why do bengal cats knead

Why Do Bengal Cats Knead?

  • August 12, 2023

When it comes to Bengals or any cat for that matter, they tend to be pretty perplexing little creatures and they seem to do a lot of different things we often can’t understand. Of course, if you already have a Bengal in your life, you have probably already come to that conclusion. For example, how about that cute little thing they do called kneading? No doubt you’ve watched them knead a favorite blanket or pillow. Probably they’ve even done it in your lap. This rhythmical type of movement with their paws actually resembles someone kneading dough, thus, the name, kneading. Even though kittens do it more often than adult cats, adults will knead as well.

This is a really cute and sometimes comical thing that they do, but do you know what it means when they are kneading? In this article we’ll cover the following:

  • Why Do They Knead Things?
  • What Does It Mean When They Knead You?
  • What About Aggressive Kneading?

Why Do They Knead Things?

Not every single Bengal kneads, it still is quite a very common behavior exhibited by most domestic cats in both kittens and adults. It starts off as being an instinctual type of behavior in a cats early formative months because the primary function at this time is to stimulate lactation from their mothers.

By using their cute little paws and pressing on their mommy’s mammary glands while nursing, they help to ensure themselves of getting a great tasting meal and their own survival.

This repetitive movement doesn’t just serve as a way to promote the flow of the milk, it also is a way of encouraging the maternal instinct. It also helps to create a strong bond between mom and her kittens. This means the squishy, kneading motion is linked to enjoyment and feeling safe right from the earliest days of their lives.

Well, that explains why kittens knead, but why do adult Bengals feel the need to do this as well? Dose a blankets softness remind them of the time they spent with their mother, or are they trying to tell you something such as they’re hungry, they want attention, or that they love you?

Well, experts don’t believe it’s for any of those reasons.

Even though no one can say with absolute certainty, the reigning theory with experts is that Bengals and all cats knead their blankets and other soft items is either a way for them to mark their territory or it’s just a way for them to adjust what they sleep on before going to sleep. This is based on the fact that cats have scent glands in their paws and by rubbing them on certain objects it will their their mark and claim the item as being theirs.

The idea that our feline friends make their favorite sleeping area more comfortable does stem from the fact that their wild relatives do something that’s pretty similar to grass. Before they snuggle up in a certain spot, they will often flatten down the blades of grass with their paws to turn the grassy area into their personal beds.

Another theory out there is that perhaps kneading is connected with calmness and contentment. This is a theory that suggests that Bengals and all cats start their kneading on occasions when they feel totally safe and relaxed. In those charming moments, their instincts kick in, and they are repeating the behavior that they connect with a feeling of being comforted during their nursing days.

Here’s a cute video of a Bengal kneading a soft blanket:

What Does It Mean When They Knead You?

It’s probably much more common that your Bengal will prefer to knead their human parent than their favorite pillow or blanket. Very often, pet parents actually feel privileged when their sweet Bengal starts purring and kneading right in their laps. Often pet parents associate this behavior like a parent/child type relationship.

Even though this may not mean that they have mistaken you as their mom, it definitely is a sign that they feel very safe and happy when they are around you.

There are a variety of reasons why your Bengal might knead you and they’re mainly connected to your Bengal’s personality and their instincts that all cats tend to share. Probably the most common reason for them to knead you is that they are showing their love for you.

It is a true pattern that does indicate a really deep bond they feel they have with you. If your Bengal becomes jealous of another pet or even your spouse they often might start kneading you as their way of expressing affection and possessiveness at the same time.

There are some cases where cat will knead you and actually drool at the same time. No need for alarm, this just means that your Bengal is really feeling blissful and they are probably being transported back to their kitten-hood. Another thing they will sometimes do while kneading is suck on your clothes at the same time.

Both of these behaviors suggest that your Bengal is feeling like a young kitten again and feels, comforted, safe and loved. No matter how they do it or when they do it, the act of kneading their pet parent, is an act of love.

Even though pet parents love it when their cat is in a loving and cuddly mood, sometimes kneading isn’t always something that’s pleasant. There are times that your cat might knead with their claws out and that can be quite uncomfortable.

You can easily solve that issue by just folding up a blanket and putting that on your lap when you notice your Bengal is starting to be cuddly. This will prevent them from digging their claws into your skin.

What About Aggressive Kneading?

There are some very rare cases when a normally lovable Bengal might turn their kneading into a somewhat obsessive practice. For example, if the kneading your Bengal is doing is making you nuts, because it’s out of control, it could mean that your cat isn’t just showing affection but there is something else going on.

With male Bengals if their kneading becomes aggressive and they are constantly squeezing and rubbing with their paws could mean they are strongly marking their territory. If they are not neutered and their aggressive kneading is followed by biting this can signal that they are looking for a mate. The same goes for females who are not fixed. If they go into a trance like kneading behavior it could be a sign they are going into heat and is looking for a mate. Often meowing extremely loud while kneading. If your Bengal isn’t spayed or neutered, this will pass when they have been.

If your Bengal’s kneading actually becomes a real nuisance, don’t punish them for something that is natural to them. Instead try to distract them with a favorite toy. Just try to understand that your Bengal’s  kneading is definitely their way of showing you affection. Also remember that kneading is natural and even if you sometimes find it annoying, it’s just something they need to do, so don’t worry about it. The best thing for you to do as their pet parent, is relax and enjoy those loving moments you are having with your wonderful Bengal.

So does that help answer the question about why your Bengal cat kneads? Please let us know what you think by leaving us your thoughts below.

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