Leaking in Cats: Causes and Significance

Kicking milk is one of the typical behaviors of cats. You can read here why cats show this behavior and what milk kicking means.

Almost every cat owner has seen their cat suckle milk at some point. The cat moves its front paws up and down and it looks as if it is kneading the surface – for example, the person’s clothing or a blanket. Treading is often accompanied by extensive purring. But where does this behavior come from, when do cats kick milk and what do cats want to express with it?

The Cause of Lactation in Cats

As the name “milk kick” suggests, this behavior comes from kitten cats: Newborn kittens use the milk kick to stimulate the mother’s milk flow. To do this, they step with their front paws next to their mother’s teats.

In These Situations, Adult Cats Show Milk Kicks

The origin of milk kick in cats is in kitten age, but adult cats also show this behavior regularly:

  • Cats often show milk kicks before they lie down to sleep: they knead their owner’s blanket or clothes, turn in circles a few times, curl up, and sleep. It seems like this is how cats put themselves in a relaxed mood and prepare for sleep.
  • Patting can help cats calm themselves.
  • Cats have scent glands on their paws that they use to emit scents and demonstrate to other cats, “This place is mine.” It is also a kind of territory-marking behavior.

That Means Milking in Cats

Cats signal one thing above all by milking: they feel good all around. For a kitten, the flow of milk and being suckled is a positive experience: you feel comfortable and secure in this situation.

That’s why the milk kick is a sign of well-being for cats and also a token of love for the owner: If the cat kicks around on you and kneads your clothes, you can be pretty sure: your cat feels comfortable and secure with you and wants to say to you: “We belong Together.”

Since kicking milk can also help cats calm down, in some cases kicking can also indicate that the cat is unwell, stressed, or even ill. In such a case, the cat then usually shows excessive behavior, for example kicking very often.

If you notice such exaggerated behavior in your cat, you should react: if your cat is stressed about something, find the rhinestone factor and remove it. To rule out pain or illness in the cat, you should consult a veterinarian. In most situations, however, milking is a feel-good sign from the cat.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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