Why Does My Cat Knead Me But Not My Husband

Kneading is an instinctive behavior among cats as a form of relaxation or to mark their owners, which appears as a clingy gesture. Some kittens also knead on their mother’s chest to stimulate milk production. But why does my cat knead me but not my husband? You might be the cat’s favorite or your clothes might feel softer than your hubby.

Why do cats knead?

The soft motion of pawing a surface is actually a good thing for your cat. Some cats will paw on human skin as a way of showing their affection. It can be hurtful since the kitty will dig its claws to you. Still, it’s not a behavioral problem and must never be punished.

why does my cat knead me but not my husband
Why do cats knead
Photo by Josh Graciano on Flickr.com

The following are some of the reasons why a cat kneads you:

  • Spreading their scent. Kneading is a cat’s way of attaching their scent on a surface. It could be you or an object around the house that they want to claim.
  • It’s a hard-wired instinct. Before cats were domesticated, they used to dig the ground or remove bushes away. Such a habit still lingers to this day, which manifests as kneading.
  • The cat wants to nap. Some cats would knead first before napping on that surface. It’s like their way of checking the spot before dozing off.
  • It’s a happy gesture. Kneading among adult cats is a sign of happiness because it somehow resembles the comfort of their mother’s chest. Your cat may also suckle on the spot they are kneading because it feels like their mother’s breast.


Why does my cat knead me but not my husband?

My three-year-old kitten, Watson, is a ‘knead-y’ kind of cat. However, I noticed that he prefers me over my husband. Watson uses my neck as his kneading surface, which is obviously more enjoyable for him than for me. I realized that the ‘favoritism’ and this kind of behavior is due to the following:

why does my cat knead me
Photo by Jimmy Leo on Flickr.com

You remind the cat of its mother

It’s possible that you resemble the care of the cat’s mother. Cat kneads on people with whom they feel safe and secure, which explains why your kitty prefers you over your hubby. If your husband wants to get the same attention, he should be more ‘showy’ to the kitty.

You sit still for the cat

If you sit still whenever your cat jumps on your lap, you are the perfect candidate for their kneading. But why does my cat reach his paw out to me? It’s a demand for attention, especially if you’re not petting them while kneading.

Cats don’t like it when a person squirms or tries to get rid of their paws while kneading. It’s possible that your husband does this, which is why your cat diverts its attention to you.

If you want to stop your cat from kneading, you can simply remove them from your body every time it will try to make you a human dough.

They want to nap with you

Cats sleep for up to 16 hours a day, so expect that they will nap on every chance they get. Some cats will knead before napping. My kitten Watson does this to me every time he wants to snoozle. It’s my cat’s way of saying “hey human, I’m sleepy and I want you to nap with me”.

Another reason could be the cat wants to nap right on your body. Watson loves sleeping on my chest with his head propped on my bosom. So before he dozes off, he gives my boobs a ‘massage’ first. He does this to me, but not on my husband. Even if I transfer him to my husband’s chest, Watson will keep coming back to me.

You wear something soft

One of the reasons why cats knead you but not your husband is the clothes you’re wearing. If you love wearing fluffy fabric like wool, expect that you will be the favorite person to knead. When paired with body warmth, your cat will knead more since it resembles the softness of their mother’s chest.

You may also notice that your cat will knead various surfaces covered with fabric. The only downside here is that the fabric would pill and get damaged over time.

You are the cat’s favorite

My cat Watson only kneads his favorite person – which happens to be me. Cats are known to run favorites for a variety of reasons and they will surely make it known by kneading. It’s also the possible reason why your cat kneads you but not your husband.

Being the cat’s favorite is both a blessing and a curse. While it feels good to be someone’s favorite, being a human dough isn’t as enjoyable as it seems to be.

Anyway, just because your cat doesn’t knead your husband doesn’t mean he doesn’t like your hubby.

You’re the one who feeds the cat

If you’re the one who plays, grooms, feeds, and pets the cat more, the cat will recognize you as their favorite. You will be rewarded with their bittersweet kneading. If your husband wants to get more affection from the kitty, it’s his turn to care for the pet – that includes litter cleaning. Please read here how long can kitten do without food

The cat loves your scent

Scents are one of the widely used forms of communication in the animal world. So if your husband does all the caring but you’re the one who gets the kneading, your scent might be the answer. It’s possible that your cat loves your perfume or the scent of your skin better. Try spraying your perfume to your husband and see if the kitty will also shower him with affection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does my cat stare at me while kneading?

A: If your cat is staring at you while kneading, it’s experiencing happiness, comfort, and security. It’s possible that you remind the cat of its mommy which is why it loves kneading you.

Q: Why does my cat sleep with me and not my husband?

A: If your cat prefers to sleep with you and not your husband, it means that the kitty feels safer in your presence. The cat trusts you better than your husband, especially if you’re the one grooming and feeding the little feline.

Q: Why is my cat being so clingy all of a sudden?

A: A clingy cat is an insecure cat. It’s usually observed among adopted kittens and those who are experiencing fear. Your cat can become clingy suddenly due to loud thunder, people crowding in your house, or if you just moved to a new home.

Q: How can you tell if a cat likes you?

A: A cat that kneads, head butts, nibbles, and purrs at you likes you a lot. Cats who consider you as their favorite will also bring you “gifts” like leaves or birds they have hunted outdoors. Also, a cat that trusts and likes you will often show you his tummy for petting. please read here Why Does My Cat Bring Me Things

Q: Do cats have a favorite person?

A: Yes, cats tend to run favorites in the family, especially if they get more attention and affectionate from one human. They are attracted to the person who cares for them more. It could also be due to your scent, the way you take care of them, or the clothes you wear.

Q: Do male cats prefer female owners?

A: Some studies show that cats are more attracted to female owners. Some of the possible reasons are the softer voice tone, motherly instincts, feminine touch, and higher interaction. Still, your cat can love your husband, but the kitty may prefer not to be showy about it.

Final words

Kneading is a sign of affection among cats. So if your cat kneads you but not your husband, it’s a good sign that the kitty trusts you more. Although the cat massage can be painful at times, you’re still blessed to be your pet’s “chosen one”.

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