Why is Your Cat Kneading And Biting You?

September 21, 2022 5 min read

Why is Your Cat Kneading And Biting You

Felines are peculiar in many ways. Their liking for cleanliness, privacy, and cozy spaces isn't seen in other pets. Their uniqueness makes them a favorite pet. However, many questions about their behavior remain unanswered.

If your cat is kneading or biting you, it can be a sign of affection or a territorial display. A kneading cat will usually rub its face against you while purring, while a biting cat will nip at you with its teeth to show dominance. Cats display this behavior right from childhood by kneading their mother's milk glands. This behavior continues into adulthood, especially if they were separated from their mothers too early.

In many cases, kneading is accompanied by biting. Even though this is a common phenomenon, it is always best to observe your cat's mannerisms and talk to a vet if you find something odd. You can also find answers to many of your questions in this blog.

Natural Reasons Why Your Cat is Kneading or Biting You

Marking Territory

Kneading is a cat's way of marking its territory. It's an instinctive behavior, and it doesn't necessarily mean that your cat has just fought with another feline or human. If you go inside and find your cat kneading on your furniture, it could mean they want to make sure that no one else gets in there.

Additionally, it is a lesser-known fact cats have scent glands. They knead vigorously onto a surface to leave their scent all over the place. It is a warning that says — DO NOT ENTER, THIS IS MY PROPERTY!

Sign of Affection

Kneading shows affection between two cats who are friendly towards each other. If one of them wants something from the other, they will stick their head under their chin while sharing food. Kneading is a cat's way of showing affection towards its human pals too. They might knead you when you are giving them attention or when they crave it.

Unlike dogs, cats do not wag their tails or jump around their humans in excitement. Cats are subtle with their expressions, and kneading is one such expression. It shows that they care about you and want to be close to you. This behavior reaches its peak if they have been away from their human for a brief period. Next time you see your cat kneading, understand that it could be a subtle way of your feline friend asking for petting and cuddling.

Stress Relief
cats kneading and biting

Although cats are often labeled as creatures who do not really care, they are highly sensitive animals. Felines are easily affected by their surroundings, which can affect their mood. They are regularly subjected to anxiety and frustration, especially by how people interact with and around them. A frustrated or anxious cat will make sure you notice its behavioral changes by excessive meowing, littering outside the box, urinating around the home, or simply kneading.

Kneading helps cats relax by providing comfort through touch. Cats might jump onto your couch, pillow, or blanket and knead them aggressively to suppress their anxiety or to send you a message. They might even grab your hand while petting them and bite it hard, which could signify loneliness or attention-seeking. Seeing a vet is highly recommended if your cat does not stop kneading even though everything else is normal.

Underlying Conditions That May Make Your Cat Knead or Bite

As mentioned above, there are many reasons why a cat may knead and bite. But if the habit is due to certain medical conditions, you must identify it and take necessary action.

Following are medical conditions that may make your cat knead and bite:


Several factors like anxiety or nutrition deficiency might cause a medical condition called pica. Pica is a condition where the cat may chew on and eat non-food items like thin plastic, fabrics, and paper. It usually happens if the cat has had a recent change in environment or has been away from the owner for a long time.

Cats dealing with pica tend to nibble, knead and bite onto things in the house, especially fabrics. Pica might lead to serious complications like vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and decreased appetite in your pets. Thin plastic can also be threatening to your furry pal's life.

Once you find out that your cat is suffering from pica, it is essential to start the treatment plan right away. Vets usually suggest changing a cat's environment, giving it more attention, and changing its diet plan.

Poor Dental Health

Another common reason for your cat's sucking, kneading, and biting habit is poor dental health. Some cats use this technique to suppress their tooth pain or to relieve it. Kneading and biting are also their tricks to get your attention when they are in pain.

When your cat exhibits such behavior, do not consider it playful and ignore them. Check for signs of tooth or gum damage and take them to a vet right away. A routine visit to the vet, even when your cat is not displaying any signs of being in pain, is highly recommended. Regular consultations with a vet and medical checkups can help detect health issues in your cat and prevent them from significantly affecting your cat's health.

You might also like: Why Is My Cat Coughing?

cats kneading and biting

Solutions to Prevent Your Cat From Biting and Kneading

Replacement Technique

Cats are very particular about almost everything. They love their routine and are very sensitive to changes around them. If you feel your cat is disturbed due to the surrounding, try to change it for them. Replace the blanket, fabrics, mat, or toys. Make sure the change is gradual so it can get used to it. It could help them be free of anxiety. Remember, you will need to be patient with this process as this could be lengthy.

Negative Association

Scent plays an important role in the life of cats. Most of the time, they like or dislike things merely based on their scent. If your cat continues to display kneading and biting behavior, you can use the negative association method to discourage this behavior. Some specifically designed products discourage felines from biting, clawing, or licking objects. A bitter spray is a commonly used option. Bitter sprays are usually used on bandages to prevent cats and dogs from chewing them. The spray can also be used on surfaces like the sofa, pillows, blankets, etc.

The Warning Sign

Cats are unaware of their kneading and biting behavior. Letting your cat know it is bad behavior could urge them to change it. However, yelling at them or being stern could only worsen this habit. The best solution is to give them warning signs in a gentle way. Gently push it down to a lying position when they begin to knead or bite. It will send them a signal, and they will eventually understand that it means 'stop'. Using aggressive techniques like scolding, pulling, or pushing them away could only worsen this behavior and make your feline friend dislike you.

cats kneading and biting


Cat owners will have to be extremely patient with the process. It is important to understand the two major underlying reasons behind biting and kneading - natural behavior and medical condition. Their natural tendency to knead and bite can be tackled with simple measures like the replacement technique, negative association, and giving a warning sign. You can also make sure they get enough of your time and attention.

On the other hand, if the behavior is due to medical conditions, taking your feline friend to a vet is the best option. The veterinarian would identify the reason and suggest medication to stop your cat's kneading and biting habit.

Being a cat parent requires a lot of dedication and care. However, every cat lover knows that having a feline friend is worth the effort.

Also read: Why Do Cats Get Zoomies

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