Milking the cat: why do cats kick their paws?

The cat's milk kick - also known as "kicking" or "kneading" - is a natural behavior that is shown even by the smallest kittens. But why do the fur noses keep the milk kicking into old age? Little kittens instinctively do the milk kick with their cat mom - Shutterstock / photoshooter2015

When kittens drink milk from their mum, they use their paws to massage the mother's belly so that the milk flows better. This behavior is called milk kick.

Most cat lovers should know that adult cats keep the milk kick from their childhood. But the exact reasons behind this cat behavior has not yet been scientifically clarified. You can find out about the theories surrounding pedaling here.

What is the milk kick in cats?

When cats are kicking or kicking the milk, they alternately press their left and right paws down. The movement looks a little bit like kneading yeast dough or massaging someone. Some cats extend and retract their claws while doing this, others do the trampling movement without using claws.

The milk kick is usually accompanied by extensive purring and a slightly distant look with half-closed cat eyes. In small kittens, kicking against the mother's belly serves to stimulate milk flow, as in this video:

But adult cats also do the milk kick, usually in situations where they feel comfortable. The cuddly cat in the next video kicks and purrs while cuddling with her favorite person, what the hell holds. But: Why do older cats make a milk kick?

Cat gets comfortable after kicking milk

Since newborn kittens are already kicking to stimulate milk flow, one theory says that kicking milk is a leftover from kittens. If cats feel comfortable and safe, they will remind you of the warmth and security that they felt in their cat mum. And so they instinctively fall back into their childish kitten behavior.

However, this may not be the only explanation, since found kittens and orphan kittens, which were raised by people with the bottle, are also pedaling.

Milk kick for a cozy place to sleep

It has been observed that the fallow cat - wild ancestor of our domestic cats - also performs a kind of milk kick when it prepares its bed and flattened leaves or grasses for it. Pregnant fallow cats also step around in a comfortable place of their choice before lying down there for the birth.

Therefore, there is also the assumption that cats want to knead their sleeping or resting place as softly as possible by processing it with their paws. Just as people shake their pillows before going to bed, for example, or lay out the sofa cushions for TV evening.

According to this theory, the fur noses massage their blankets, a pillow or a garment of their favorite people with their paws in order to make their sleeping places even more comfortable. By the way, stuffed animals are not spared from the milk kick, as the cute cat shows in the following video:

What does kicking milk mean in cats?

Your cat also has scent glands under its paws, which are released when scratching, clawing and kicking milk. The scent brands that your cat sets are absolutely unique; it marks its territory and property.

So it can also be that cats, like pedaling, like to claim their favorite things and people as property and thus express their affection.
"You belong to me, you are my family," your cat wants to tell you. The milk kick is also a kind of proof of love, even if the sharp claws can sometimes prick a little. If it stings too much, let the vet show you how to cut the cat's claws.

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Pedal while in heat and under stress

In addition, one can observe in the case of in-wiggly cat ladies that they pedal a lot and give out howling "meow" noises in the course of the in-flight. Incredible cats are strikingly cuddly, often raise their buttocks to signal mating readiness and run restlessly back and forth.

If you do not want to have any offspring, it is best to have your cat neutered, because the unfulfilled coarseness is a great burden for them. Much like purring, kicking milk is likely to be reassuring. Your cat is trying to relax itself.

It cannot be ruled out that your cat may be sick or under stress if it is noticeably frequent and tends to pedal. Therefore, if you find her behavior unusual, take her to the vet as a precaution.