When Kitty feels comfortable, it kneads. We can observe this behaviour often when a cat lays down somewhere: It treads the ground with its two front paws as if it wants to knead or massage it. That happens on cat pillows, in cat baskets, on the sofa, in bed or – less comfortable – on our thighs. What is the reason for this cute but sometimes for Hooman painful behaviour?
Cat babies massage the belly of their moms with their paws to stimulate the milk flow. This rhythmic massaging (or kneading) with both paws is instinctive behaviour, which is often associated with purring. Both express comfort and safety – like in Mamie´s nest. Even adult cats continue with this habit. While kneading the cat marks the place as well with its scent by releasing a fragrance between its toes.
In short, kneading seems to be a combination of acknowledgement for a cosy place and mark it as such.
When designing the filling for our cat pillows, we wanted to select a material that suits Kittie´s natural instincts. So we tested different fillings:
Well, that´s life: Our cats love a polystyrene filling made of EPS balls. These balls are small, movable and adapt to the movement of the cat when it lays down on the pillow and while kneading it give a smooth resistance to its paws. Now, however, we want to use natural or recycled materials for our products. We get EPS balls recycled, but we continued looking for a natural material.
Filling for cat – cushion must be washable in case of a mishap … (when Kitty spits! – and they spit). Many materials do not fulfil this request and if they do, they are too large (cherry seeds). So, we came across an old Mediterranean tradition: cork filling.
A pillow with cork filling can be washed, either by hand in lukewarm water or in the laundry bag in the gentle care cycle of the washing machine at max. 30 º C. During drying, the pillow should be plumped up several times so that the cork slices separate from each other.
We know cork granules as a current filling for yoga pillows already. However, we fill the kneading cushions with fine cork slices. They are irregularly large and rustle a bit and remind of foliage. So we will bring some garden feeling to Kittie´s living room. Cork insulates excellently and in winter the kneading pillow also stores Furrie´s body temperature.