Cats are fascinating and complex animals, and their behavior can often be mysterious and confusing to their human caregivers. One common behavior that cats display is kneading and licking blankets, towels, or other soft surfaces. While this behavior may seem strange or even annoying at times, it is actually a normal and instinctive behavior that serves a number of important purposes for cats.
One reason that cats knead and lick blankets is that it is a way for them to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands in their paws, and when they knead and lick a surface, they are releasing their own unique scent onto it. This helps to establish their presence and claim ownership over the area, and it can also be a way for cats to communicate with other cats.
Another reason that cats knead and lick blankets is that it is a way for them to express comfort and contentment. Kneading and licking is often associated with nursing and can be a way for cats to re-create the feelings of comfort and security that they experienced as kittens. This behavior is often accompanied by purring, which further enhances the feeling of relaxation and well-being.
A third reason that cats knead and lick blankets is that it is a way for them to groom themselves. Cats are fastidious groomers, and they will often lick their paws and other body parts in order to clean themselves. When they lick a blanket or other soft surface, they may be using it as a substitute for their own fur, in order to groom and clean themselves in a more comfortable and convenient way.
In conclusion, cats knead and lick blankets as a way to mark their territory, express comfort and contentment, and groom themselves. While this behavior may be inconvenient or annoying at times, it is a normal and natural part of being a cat, and it is important to understand and respect it as such.