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Old 08-16-2010, 10:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Excessive kneading with claws

Vala is about 4 months old now. She has two speeds, stop and go, and when she stops she's very cuddly and affectionate. Which is just what I wanted (the family cat growing up was a mouser and usually either ignored me or hissed at me).

In the last week or so, however, she's started doing an excessive amount of kneading. My experience with cats in the past is that when they first jump up on your lap they circle around, knead you a few times, and then settle down. Vala likes to cuddle up by my chin, sitting on the 'boob shelf' as a friend called it. She lays down and settles, and then starts kneading. Since she's that high up, she's kneading bare skin. At first it was just paws, it didn't hurt. But now she's starting to use claws too. Not a lot. I'm not getting actual scratches or bleeding or anything. It feels kind of like sandpaper being rubbed very lightly. And I'm getting a bit of a rash.

And now she's started doing it when I'm trying to sleep, too. I've tried removing her from my lap as soon as she starts using claws, but that doesn't seem to be making a difference. Either she hasn't made the connection between 'using claws' and 'getting kicked off', or she doesn't care.

I'm not sure what to try. I don't want her to stop cuddling, I just want her to stop kneading bare skin with claws!
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My boy is a needy kneader too. He usually goes for my soft tummy right after I've had a meal (yuck!). I position him so that he kneads the top of my thigh instead and fold my arms over my tummy. He knows now he's not supposed to knead mommy's tummy, and when I fold my hands over it will move to my thigh. As for sleeping...can't help you there, as my cats sleep in another room.
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She's a baby so she is kneading at her surrogate mommy. I had a cat who used to knead my hair for at least a half hour before falling asleep. She outgrew it eventually. You can try redirecting the kneading to another area which is usually covered like your abdomen. Kittens who are weaned too early sometimes pick up this behavior to soothe themselves and some others just find it comforting overall. They get excited and put a little more into it, but mean no harm by it.
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Maybe put a soft blanket between you- she may even decide that she likes the texture of the blanket better. I did this with my kittens when they were really small, and now they use that particular blanket for naps. I can also use that blanket to "burrito" them for medicine, nail clipping, etc.
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Old 08-16-2010, 12:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Both my cats knead, but one is definitely excessive about it. I have taught her knead only (for the most part) when there is a blanket or something between us. Every time she jumped up I made a exaggerate “Owe” sound and then picked her up a placed a blanket between us. She caught on pretty quick, but she’s a fast learner all around. I keep a small throw blanket around anytime I might be creating a lap for her too. She usually will give me a meow and wait for me to put the blanket down before she jumps up now.

Keeping the claws trimmed is a big help too.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Four months is still a baby and they are learning 'the rules' of acceptable behavior and conduct. It is up to us to teach them and we can best do that with consistency. We only have one de-clawed cat (came that way) and the other eight have their claws. All of them were taught by using the exaggerated 'Ouch!' and 'wincing' away from their touch. They have learned when I say 'Ouch, Baby.' to be gentle, or move their feet, or accept me placing something between us ... but most importantly, the "Ouch" sound and I use that in conjunction with the wince and my finger either tapping their paw to call attention to what is hurting me or I place my finger under their paw so their claws can curl around my finger.
If you consistently handle the kitties this way, either by audio, tactile or physically making a change, they can/will adjust for you, but they have to be repeatedly shown what is acceptable before they learn it.
Patience and persistence pays off.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My boy blackie does that. That is one of thing i miss most about him right now. He always does it to me or my mom. he have a thing for girls boobs. Not sure why but they like to knead on them. and they hurt me becuase he would use nail but with my mom he didnt. weird. but we always seem to take his paws and hold it while he knead the hand until he was done. then he just went to sleep. not sure how my mom got him not to use the nails but that my way so....
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Oh and part of sleep, my boy blackie AGAIN like to knead our head or hair when we are sleep. if we do not have our face against his face. he some reason like skin to his fur when sleep at night.
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