If it's painful when your cat kneads your lap, follow this advice so you can continue with the cuddles!
Reader's question:?My six-year-old male cat has been kneading me with his paws and claws since he was a kitten. I find this very painful and have started to reduce my contact with him, spending very little to almost no special time with him at all. Do you have any advice on how to stop the kneading?
Behaviourist Francesca Riccomini says: Some cats tend to retain this juvenile behaviour into adulthood, usually until the end of their lives. It is therefore unlikely that your pet will grow out of it.
There are a couple of things you could try, and sometimes straightforward practical measures can help. For example, you could have a thick, old fleece or cushion to hand so that when he sits with you, you can place him on it and he can dig his claws into the material rather than your skin.?Alternatively, when you spend time with him you could wear very thick, old clothing to protect yourself.
There are other ways of interacting with cats that can be satisfying for both of you. Your cat will enjoy jumping after toys that can be dangled, feathers on sticks which are twirled around, or small balls, corks or toy mice thrown about. Experiment to find what suits your pet so hopefully you can have some fun together, as well as helping to nurture social behaviour.
The kneading appears to be one of your cat's personal characteristics so the best thing to do is look for alternatives and protective measures. It would be a real shame if you let it undermine your relationship and his quality of life.