Why Do Cats Knead And Bite Blankets: 7 Most Common Reasons

Cats are known for their peculiar behaviors, and one that often leaves us perplexed is their tendency to knead and bite blankets. If you’ve ever wondered why cats engage in this unusual but endearing habit, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll explore the seven most common reasons behind this feline behavior. Understanding why your cat does this can help you connect better with your furry friend and ensure their well-being.

What does it mean to knead and bite blankets?

Before we dive into the reasons behind this behavior, let’s clarify what kneading and biting blankets entail. Kneading is when a cat rhythmically pushes its paws into a soft surface, such as a cushion, your clothes, or, most commonly, a cozy blanket. This movement mimics the action of kneading dough, hence the name.

Biting blankets or pillows often accompanies kneading. It’s essential to know that cats have sweat glands on their paws, which not only help them cool down but also leave a unique scent. This scent-marking is a significant part of why they knead and bite blankets. It serves to mark their territory, ensuring their belongings are safe from rival cats.

Now, let’s explore the seven most common reasons behind this charming yet enigmatic feline behavior.

  1. Cats are marking their territory: Cats use kneading and biting to mark their territory, especially if they live with other cats. By leaving their scent on soft objects, they stake a claim to their favorite spots, minimizing potential conflicts and maintaining a sense of ownership.
  2. It’s a nursing technique: Kittens instinctively knead while nursing, as it stimulates milk production. This comforting habit persists into adulthood, offering a sense of security, love, and relaxation. Cats separated from their mothers early in life may continue this behavior to recreate the comforting feeling of being close to their mom.
  3. Wild cat instincts: Cats, despite being domesticated, retain some instincts from their wild ancestors. Wild cats knead the ground to create a cozy nesting place, similar to how they mark their territory. So, if your cat kneads before settling down for a nap, it could be a connection to their ancestral behavior.
  4. It helps them relax: Kneading and biting soft items remind cats of their secure, relaxed state during nursing. It creates a sense of safety and serenity, often accompanied by purring, a sure sign of contentment.
  5. It’s a sign of trust. If your cat frequently kneads and bites her blanket, it’s a clear indication of comfort and trust in her environment. She enjoys the soft textures around her and is content with her surroundings.
  6. Pica syndrome: Pica is a condition where cats try to eat inedible objects. If your cat persistently chews on her blanket, consult your vet to rule out underlying health concerns. It’s essential to ensure her safety and well-being.
  7. Dental issues: Some cats may knead and bite blankets to alleviate dental problems, such as toothache or gum disease. If this is the case, a visit to the vet is necessary to address the issue and provide relief.

Should you be concerned if your cat kneads and bites blankets? While this behavior is generally harmless, it’s essential to consider your cat’s safety. Ensure that the blankets and pillows she kneads are made from cat-safe materials to prevent allergic reactions. Regularly washing her favorite blanket can also reduce the risk of infections and illnesses.

How to stop your cat from doing it? If you’re concerned about your cat’s behavior becoming obsessive, here are some tips to help:

  1. Play with scents: Cats have scent preferences. Experiment with scents like lavender, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, or citronella to deter your cat from kneading and biting blankets.
  2. Use a replacement technique: Replace her favorite blanket with a new, cat-friendly toy made from safe materials to satisfy her need for comfort.
  3. Spend more time with her: Give your cat the attention she craves. Spend quality time playing and cuddling with her to reduce the need for self-comforting behaviors.
  4. Use treats: Reward good behavior with treats to help discipline your cat gently.


Understanding why cats knead and bite blankets can deepen your bond with your feline companion. While it’s usually harmless, be mindful of potential health concerns, and take steps to ensure your cat’s safety and well-being. With the right care and attention, you can help your cat thrive and enjoy their cozy, knead-worthy blankets


When should I consult a vet regarding my cat’s kneading and biting behavior?

If your cat’s behavior becomes obsessive or if you suspect underlying health issues like pica or dental problems, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment.

Can kneading and biting blankets be a sign of trust from my cat?

Yes, if your cat kneads and bites blankets while purring and appears content, it can be a sign of trust and comfort in her environment.

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