Why Does My Cat Knead Me And Not My Husband?

Why does my cat knead me and not my husband? We will discuss this in the article and why some people are the preferred recipients of the kneading behavior.The way in which a cat kneads a person, is a very similar motion to that of kneading bread. Cat kneading is part of a cat’s natural behavior.

Not long after birth, a kitten will place his paws against his Mother's mammary glands and knead gently to stimulate milk flow.  Why then, is this cat kneading behavior carried on far beyond kitten-hood?

Why Does My Cat Knead Me And Not My Husband?

Yes, I know this feeling all too well and it also leads to another question  - Why did the cat always sleep tucked up against my pillow during the day but not my husband's pillow?  

cat kneading

The Cat Bonds With You

It probably isn’t the just kneading action that is specific to you, it is the cats general behavior towards you.  If you are the person who is primarily in charge of feeding the cat, a strong bond is forged as the cat sees you as safety. In addition to feeding the cat, this includes the general care of the cat. In any household this naturally seems more likely to fall on one partner rather than being evenly shared. There is nothing inherently right or wrong with this, it is just the way it is.

When our cat developed diabetes, the feeding process that had been in place for years, changed totally. We had to suddenly adopt a strict time schedule for feeding him, in order to give him the necessary twice daily insulin injections before he could eat.  

Previously I had always fed the cat however, my husband and I started sharing the feeding process because I had to first of all overcome my fear of giving the cat an injection.

Now that we are both feeding the cat, the cat has developed a far stronger attachment to my partner then he had before.

Cat Kneading At An Annoying Time

So essentially, your cat is choosing you. That’s fine, if it is okay with you but some people don’t like to be woken up by kitty deciding that 2am is perfect cat kneading time. When cats knead it is usually accompanied by purring so it's a double whammy. Now you are Awake, Awake!

However we also don’t want to be mean to kitty by getting cross with him because he is just saying is that you are his safe place. He isn't thinking about disturbing your sleep.

Even is the cat is not specifically kneading you, he may be kneading the bedding near you, then walking in a circle before more kneading.  This can carry on for quite some time before the cat has made his happy sleping place.

There are some things you can do to help adjust this behavior that keeps everyone happy.

You Are A Cosy Nap Place

Cats tend to knead females more often, definitely not 100% of the time but nevertheless anecdotally it is more often females that are the magnet for cat kneading.  This can also help explain the question - Why does my cat knead me and not my husband? It may well be that you are a softer and therefore more attractive place to settle in for a nap.  As the nap is usually preceded by kneading, you are the chosen one.

The Cat Prefers Your Aroma

As we know the ense of smell is far more developed in animals than humans. The cat may associate your scent with that feeling of safety mentioned earlier.

why does my cat kead me but not my husband

How To Stop Kitty From Kneading In The Middle Of The Night?

If it is really bothering you and disturbing your sleep quality, consider not allowing the cat in the bedroom at night.  

This is not always as easy as it sounds as a kitty can be pretty persistent with trying to get in to the bedroom and may also get up to other antics in the middle of the night.

I won’t go quite so far as to say the cat tries to bash down the door but it can sound like that in the middle of the night. You may have to employ your best detective skills to make sure that kitty is comfy and can't sneak to the bedroom door and launch a full on assault.  

Your cat is actually creating a nice soft spot to sleep when he is kneading in the same way that he may sleep on your discarded clothes. Your cat feels content because your smell is on the clothes and he in turn can leave his scent behind. Win win for kitty but not win win for you if this is happening in the wee small hours.

More Solutions To Stop Kitty Kneading In The Middle Of The Night

Here are two suggestions. The same basic principle applies.

Move kitty to a more acceptable space that has your scent and where he feels secure. How?

  1. Put a comfy pillow on a chair or somewhere that is near the bed and if kitty starts being problematic in the middle of the night relocate him to the pillow.  Our kitty has a love of all things white, so there is a fair chance that a white comfy pillow will do the trick.  I can’t say it was successful 100% of the time but some mornings I was surprised to see that he was still there.

  2. Have a soft fleece rug nearby, perhaps at the end of the bed and as soon as he starts kneading move him to the blanket. If the blanket or cushion/pillow is one that you use, it will already have your scent and kitty will like that. In cold weather consider a warmed heat pad underneath the bedding.

More Cat Behavior Articles...

Cats Do Like To Sleep Between Legs. Why Is That?

I know, you just want to turn over but the cat is in the way.

Cats Love A Good Gallop Around The House In The Middle Of The Night

and now for the big question... Where Is Kitty?


Cats have this habit of disappearing. I can't count the number of times that these questions were discussed. Where is he?  What is he doing?  Is he stuck somewhere? Is he at someone else's house? Is he living a dual life? is he going to come back?

It is really easy now to keep tabs on kitty.  Take a look at Tabcats. There's no escaping now kitty.

Why does my cat knead me but not my husband