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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Suckling And Kneading


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 Feline Kneading or Treading Paw

What is it?

Kittens that knead fabric - even putting their mouths on it - are continuing the "milk tread" nursing behavior they started as newborn kittens. This rhythmic pedaling movement of the front paws and sucking is how kittens approach their mother's teat to stimulate milk flow.

Kneading behavior can continue throughout life. It is thought to be a lasting expression of feeling safe and content. 

What is it too much?

On the other hand, any behavior that is done excessively may be classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder. These behaviors are difficult to ignore and even more difficult to interrupt and redirect to new behaviors.

What to do?

If you suspect this is the case, first have your kitten examined by a veterinarian for any underlying medical stresses. Ask your veterinarian for names of veterinary behaviorists in your area, or call 1-800-372-3706.

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