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Why does my cat paw my legs while in my lap?

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Question: Why does my cat paw my legs while in my lap?
Our cat climbs or jumps into our lap and begins to "paw" on our legs. It is not scratching, it's more like kneading bread. What's that all about?

My wife is fascinated by this behaviour and has to know why!

Answer: Congratulations! You and your wife have been initiated into the wonderful world of cat parenthood. Actually, kneading is a throwback to kittenhood when the infants kneaded their momcat's teats to stimulate the milk flow. Adult cats knead when they are very happy, and they knead their human moms and dads because they bring back happy memories of their momcat, a definite sign of acceptance of the two of you as his or her human parents.

We also call it "making bread," "making biscuits," "marching," as you'll sometimes observe a cat knead the floor while standing (maybe while watching you fill the food dish.)

You may also observe your cat looking at you with slow blinks. That body language signifies "I love you," in cat language. You can return the gesture as I always do with my cats.

You can find more descriptions of cats' body language here:

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