Why Do Cats Milk Tread? What Does It Mean?

Why Do Cats Milk Tread? What Does It Mean?


Do you know what cats milk tread means? If not, don't worry - you're not alone! This phrase is one that many people are curious about but don't know the answer to. Cats milk tread is when a cat takes small steps while they are nursing from their mother. So why do they do it? There are several theories out there, but no one really knows for sure. In this blog post, we will explore some possible reasons behind cats milk tread and try to figure out what it means!

What Does Milk Treading Mean?

Milk treading is when a nursing cat takes small, rhythmic steps with their back legs as they are drinking from their mother. This behavior can be seen in both kittens and adult cats. It is believed that this action helps stimulate the flow of milk from their mother's teats, making it easier for the kitten to nurse.

Amosijoy-Blog Picture: A ginger mother cat is nursing her baby cats.

Reasons Why Do Cats Milk Tread?

The exact reason cats milk tread is still unknown, but a few theories have been proposed.

1) Action helps the kitten to build up their strength and balance:

A kitten's first few weeks of life are crucial for their development. They need to gain strength and coordination; one way they do this is by kneading their mother's milk. Kneading helps the kitten to develop the muscles in their legs and shoulders, and it also helps them to improve their balance. Additionally, the action of kneading stimulates the flow of milk from the mother's breasts, making it easier for the kitten to eat.

2) It's a sign of contentment and pleasure:

Cats have a natural instinct to knead when they're content and happy. Milk treading is often seen as a sign of affection, and it's thought to be a way for cats to show their satisfaction. When a cat is milk treading, they're usually purring loudly, which is another indication that they're feeling content and relaxed.

3) It feels good:

It's not just humans who enjoy a good massage - cats love it too! When a cat kneads their mother's stomach, it feels good, thanks to the warmth and pressure of their mom's stomach. Additionally, the rhythmic motion is often soothing and calming for cats, helping them to relax and feel comfortable.

4) It helps them to bond with their mother:

Treading helps kittens to bond with their mother. Kittens learn important social skills from their interactions with their mother, and treading may be one way for them to express their affection. Whatever the reason, it is clear that cats milk tread for some purpose. Even if we do not fully understand it, we can appreciate it as one of the many fascinating behaviors exhibited by our feline friends.

5) It helps them to relieve stress:

Kittens are known for their playfulness but can also be prone to stress and anxiety. One theory suggests that milk treading is a way for kittens to relieve stress. The repetitive motion helps to soothe and calm them, much like a human might take comfort in rocking back and forth or pacing back and forth. In addition, the warmth of the milk may also help to relax them. As a result, milk treading may be an important part of a kitten's well-being.

6) It could be a form of play:

It's possible that treading milk is simply a form of play for cats. Many animals engage in play-fighting with their young, and it's thought that this helps them to learn essential survival skills. By treading milk, cats may be giving their kittens a chance to practice their hunting and fighting skills in a safe and controlled environment.

7) It may help to stimulate the kitten's digestive system:

Some experts believe that cats tread milk in order to help stimulate their kitten's digestive system. Treading helps break down the milk, making it easier for the kitten to digest. Additionally, the warmth of the milk may help to soothe any tummy aches or discomfort that the kitten is experiencing.

8) It could be a way to mark their territory:

Cats have scent glands in their paw pads, and it's believed that they use these to mark their territory. By treading milk, cats are leaving their scent on the mother's nipples, which helps them to recognize her as their own. This may also help other cats to realize that this is the mother cat's territory and that they should stay away.

Amosijoy-Blog Picture: A Li Hua cat is making biscuit.


When a cat kneads you, what does that mean?

A cat kneading you is a sign of affection. They use motion to show their contentment and pleasure, much like a human might give a hug or pat on the back. This behavior is also often accompanied by purring, which indicates that your cat is happy and relaxed. Additionally, cats may knead to relieve stress, as the rhythmic motion can be soothing and calming.


Does my cat love me if they milk tread?

Yes! Milk treading is one way for cats to express their affection. If your cat kneads you or any other person or object, it's a sign that they feel comfortable in the presence of that person or thing and are showing their approval.


What else do cats milk tread besides their mother?

Cats may milk tread other objects or persons besides their mother. This behavior often indicates contentment and relaxation, so if your cat kneads you, it's likely a sign of affection and approval. Additionally, cats may milk tread to relieve stress or mark their territory.



Ultimately, cats milk tread for a variety of reasons, although the exact purpose is still unknown. Regardless of why cats milk tread, it is clear that this behavior is important to them and helps them to stay relaxed and comfortable. So the next time you see your cat kneading, take a moment to appreciate their adorable display of affection and contentment!


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