Why do cats do the “kneading the dough” thing on the blanket?

“There’s more—she keeps doing something weird with her paws. She looks like she’s kneading dough, but she’s certainly not following a Martha Stewart recipe! She keeps pushing the blanket in and out with her paws as if she’s making biscuits!”

That sounds like the most common cat behavior. Every single cat, regardless of the breed, kneads with her paws because they consider the motions soothing, stress-relieving, and reminiscent of their mothers. Kneading is pretty similar to kittens’ motions when they latch onto their mother’s belly to drink milk.

Kneading is known as “making biscuits” because it’s reminiscent of a baker making and baking dough. And, we can’t forget that kneading is often accompanied by meowing, purring, and even drooling – telltale signs your fluffball’s having the best time of her life.

That’s why you have nothing to worry about. More often than not, cats knead the blanket because they’re happy, letting you know they’re comfortable where they are, or even marking their territory. None of these things are bad; feel free to breathe a sigh of relief.

8 reasons cats lick blankets

Why do cats do the kneading the dough thing on the blanket

When you catch your fluffy friend licking your blanket, you might think to yourself “That’s the single most adorable and most disgusting thing she’s ever done… How’s that even possible? Has she gone completely crazy?” She hasn’t, and she’s most definitely not the only fluff sampling her blanket.

Cats do such things ALL THE TIME! They lick your blanket while you’re sleeping, suck on it while you’re not looking, and knead it when showing affection. They’re pretty much obsessed with blankets, especially when they’re made out of wool.

And, more times than not, the licking doesn’t mean something’s wrong with your fluff. She’s likely showing that she’s comfortable around you or that she’s hungry (are you sure she’s not licking the marinara sauce you spilled the other day!?)

Take a look at some of the reasons we’ve gathered!

1. Cats love playing with their prey

“Umm, she’s playing with the blanket, not her prey!?” Yes, but cats aren’t necessarily bothered by the fact that their “prey” isn’t moving. Domesticated cats, even though they don’t have to hunt, find hunting and honing their skills pretty pleasurable.

Have you ever seen your feline friend playing with a mouse or a bird she’s just caught? Or bringing a grasshopper to her kittens to check what they’re going to do? Your mother might have taught you to never play with your food. But, a feline mother does the opposite to teach her kittens how to hunt.

Now, we understand that a blanket isn’t something we’d refer to as “prey.” But, when your feline’s having fun, she’s not looking for the real deal; she’s simply looking for something to play with.

2. Cats can have pica syndrome

On a more grim note, your fluffy friend could be displaying symptoms of something known as pica syndrome. On the off chance she does suffer from this, she will show signs of eating things that aren’t edible – blankets, carpets, sofas, paper, and even dirt.

While that might not sound dangerous, chewing on things that are hard to chew and digest could easily lead to choking and blockages. Not to mention gastrointestinal problems and diseases! That’s what you need to make sure to contact your vet the moment you suspect something odd in her dietary choices.

3. Cats can be obsessive-compulsive

“My cat might have OCD!? What!?” That’s right – while cats don’t have the same type of OCD that humans do, they can develop certain obsessive-compulsive behaviors that typically suggest something else could be wrong, too.

Other than licking the blanket, your four-legged friend could be displaying behaviors such as overgrooming, chasing its tail, pacing, twitching, and persistent meowing. Such behaviors can appear normal for the time being, but when they keep repeating, they’re a cause for concern.

4. Certain breeds of cats are more likely to lick blankets

That’s pawsible – certain breeds of cats such as Siamese or Oriental tend to wool-suck more than others. Humans believe they do that because they remember doing the same thing with their mothers. And interestingly enough, these breeds are known to have a longer weaning period than other cats.

But your feline friend doesn’t have to be of a certain breed to lick the blanket. The concept of having a longer weaning period doesn’t seem to be reserved for Siamese and Oriental cats only. Even tabby cats can go through the same process and end up being comforted by the wooliness of their blanket.

5. Cats can be under a lot of stress

“She doesn’t have a 9 to 5 career and a mortgage! What does she have to be stressed about!?” There, there, no need to be annoyed with your fluffball because she’s a sensitive soul. Cats have plenty of reasons to be stressed – childhood trauma, problems with other animals, and even health problems.

“Why do cats lick blankets?” seems like an odd question to ask, but you shouldn’t forget that humans find blankets comforting, too. There’s nothing better than coming home from work, tired from dealing with everyone and everything, and making a blanket cocoon for yourself to spend the rest of the day in, right?

Cats can feel those same feelings. Blankets are great and your furbaby finding pleasure when licking them shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

6. Blankets can have food residue on them

Now, would you look at that? Are you surprised to learn that you might be the reason your little stinker can’t stop licking the blanket? Don’t worry; we’re not here to publish your secrets for the world to read – nobody has to know that you spend every Friday night under the covers dipping Doritos into marinara sauce.

But, your little friend has certainly taken note of your sneaky, midnight shenanigans. She’s been licking your blanket because there’s leftover marinara sauce (and even some Dorito dust) on there.

She’s been living vicariously through your blanket hoping one day she would be able to have a lick straight from the source.

7. Cats can lick blankets out of happiness

How endearing does that sound? Not endearing enough when you remember that your blanket’s permanently tarnished by your cat’s drool, but… That’s not to say that you’re not happy to hear your curious creature’s been trying to show her affection towards you (or towards the blanket!)

“She loves me, she loves me!” you croon as you get ready to head off to the nearest Target to buy her every single woollen blanket you can find. And let’s be honest, you don’t really care that she’s ruining every single cover you own. You simply want to see your favorite fluff happy and healthy.

8. Cats can be separated from their mother early on

Circling back to certain breeds being more likely to lick blankets, that’s especially the case with cats that have been separated from their mothers early on. Whether the mother died, left them to take care of themselves, or rejected them for one reason or another, kittens tend to carry that trauma with them.

Pretty heartbreaking, right? Check whether your cat’s licking on the blanket when she’s feeling particularly stressed out or anxious – whether she’s refusing to eat, meowing and purring a lot less than usual, hiding under the blanket, and sleeping for most of the day (more than usual).

Why do cats do the "kneading the dough" thing on the blanket?


While your cat’s blanket-licking antics may seem peculiar, they are often rooted in various emotional, instinctual, and sensory responses. Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s behavior can help you ensure her well-being and provide her with the comfort she seeks. So, the next time you catch your feline friend indulging in a blanket-licking session, rest assured that she’s simply expressing herself in her unique feline way. After all, she’s your adorable, quirky, and oh-so-lovable weirdo!


Why does my cat suck on blankets for extended periods of time?

Cats may suck on blankets as a soothing behavior, reminiscent of their kittenhood when they were nursed by their mother. It’s usually harmless, but if your cat seems excessively obsessed with sucking on blankets, it could be due to anxiety or stress. Consulting with a vet or a feline behaviorist may be helpful.

Are there any dangers associated with cats licking blankets?

: In most cases, no. However, if your cat ingests threads or fibers from the blanket, it could potentially lead to intestinal blockages. To prevent this, ensure that your blankets are in good condition and not fraying.

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