Dr. Matt McGlasson, a veterinarian based in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, has won over the internet with a TikTok account playfully dedicated to “justice for kitten biscuit workers.”
Cat owners are likely familiar with the animals’ behavior of kneading with their paws, also fondly known as “making biscuits.” The pushing motion, alternating between the left and right front paws, is common to most cats, which tends to exercise the ritual on soft surfaces such as blankets, pillows and their owner’s clothes or lap.
In a twist on the term, McGlasson’s videos humorously advocate for “kitten biscuit workers.” One clip from October 2020 has garnered over 5 million views.
In the video, he mimicked the scenario of a cat coming in for a visit, complaining that its “paws hurt really bad.”
McGlasson attributed the problem to “long hours working at the biscuit factory,” playing flashback footage of the cat kneading a blanket. “18 hour shifts,” he added.
As a solution, he prescribed “no biscuits” for two weeks.
Viewers played along with the joke.
“NOOOOO HE’S ALREADY ONE MONTH BEHIND ON MY ORDER,” one user wrote in feigned outrage.
“So where am I supposed to get my biscuits from?” requested another viewer.
McGlasson replied, “She’s back at the factory now – don’t worry.”
One cat owner asked if someone could tell her cat that “biscuits don’t need to be made at 3 am.”
“He wants them to be fresh,” McGlasson responded.
There are a range of theories as to why cats make biscuits, according to the Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital.
One explanation says that it is a leftover practice from kittenhood, when kneading stimulated the mother cat’s milk during nursing. Although adult cats no longer knead to obtain milk, the action could evoke feelings of comfort and safety. That also means a cat kneading on its owner could be an indication of the animal’s affection.
Another theory posits that cats knead in order to hold a surface while stretching their back, shoulders and hind legs.
It could also be a territorial behavior, since the action may help activate the scent marking tassels in a cat’s paws. By using the behavior, the cat might be saying that the object being kneaded is theirs.
Finally, it could just be their way of getting cozy. Cats in the wild make nests on the ground, kneading an area to remove unwanted pests and to smooth the grass before they sleep. House cats may be demonstrating the same ingrained behavior.
Newsweek reached out to McGlasson for comment.