Cootje does it all the time! I’m stretched out on the couch watching television and she jumps on me and starts to make biscuits. Translation: “Making biscuits” is that funny kneading or massaging motion cats sometimes do with their front paws on their human, and it’s an instinctive trait with several explanations.
Massaging is an instinctive behavior practiced by many cats throughout their lives, but usually begins in kittens shortly after birth. This trance-like motion is often called “making biscuits” because it resembles a baker kneading dough. Kitties use their front paws to knead soft or pliable surfaces, including humans and other cats or kittens. Some cats retract their claws, while others extend them as they knead. Many purr with eyes closed, and some even drool.
Cats are hard-wired to knead with their front paws. Newborn kittens know instinctively to knead the mother’s belly to stimulate a flow of milk through her nipples. While some people speculate that cats who were separated or weaned from their mothers too early will continue to knead as adults, most felines knead throughout life no matter how early they were weaned — probably because the motion is comforting to them.
Territory & Biology
According to, another reason for kneading harkens back to when cats were wild and used a similar motion to pat down tall grass or shredded leaves to make a comfortable bed for sleeping or giving birth. Scent glands are found in the soft pads on the bottoms of a cat’s paws, so when a cat kneads a surface he is actually marking, or staking, that territory.
(Original text from The Nest)