Ever seen this video? I’d imagine that you would have by now! It’s a beautiful show of how a loving friendship can form between a cat and dog under the right circumstances. This video is almost hypnotic to watch, but none of us are as relaxed as the canine we see snoring his day away! But what is the cat doing?
It’s “kneading” – or massaging, as some might call it – and if you have a cat yourself, you’ve likely experienced this behavior firsthand. Perhaps you might recall times of shared cuddles as your cat kneaded your leg, or moments where you have sprung your fur baby massaging his little heart out on the couch. This is a behavior that cats instinctively display when they are deeply relaxed and happy. It is a subconscious throwback to a time when they were a tiny kitten suckling from their mother.
But what are they doing?
When just a tiny, mewling kitten, instinctively your cat knew to not only find its mother’s teats and suckle, but that to help the milk flow, the milk ducts needed to be constantly kneaded – much like how human babies will often bring their tiny fists up near their mothers breast when feeding. Some of your cats earliest memories revolve around feeling warm, secure, and loved, and all of these feelings are associated with feeding and the actions to do so. As a result, a happy adult cat will often instinctively knead, as it’s a muscle memory associated with happy times. Additionally, many cats will often bring their face down towards the surface of which they’re kneading – a reflex that once would have seen them locate a teat and feed!
So what does the dog think about all of this? Well, from where I’m sitting, he appears to be loving life as his Bengal counterpart repeatedly massages his face and purrs in his ear. I wonder what sweet nothings are being whispered in cat-speak…
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