How do I stop my cat from kneading on my face?!

mockera

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My 5 year old kitty, Chica, constantly kneads on things. It used to be that she only kneaded on my stomach or legs when laying on my lap, but lately (within the last month) she's started kneading on my face when I'm sleeping or trying to go to sleep. She will climb up onto my chest or the pillow and just knead, which usually wakes me up or prevents me from sleeping.

I realize that kneading is considered an affectionate behavior in cats, as it is what they would do as kittens to stimulate the mother's milk, but it is REALLY painful and annoying when she does it on my face, especially when I'm sleeping. More times than once, I've accidentally smacked her because she startled my awake by kneading on me and I didn't process what was causing the pain at first. It's not just at night either, anytime I lay down anywhere, she will come to me and try to knead on my face.

I can't think of anything that has changed that would cause her to start doing it. I spend the same amount of time with her as I used to and she is free fed, so she always has food in her bowl. I've tried trimming her nails, and it is still painful even with them shorter (especially when she hooks my eyelid - ouch!), I've tried locking her out of my room at night but she just scratches at the door, and I've tried gently disciplining her and redirecting her behavior (trying to get her to knead somewhere else instead), but nothing seems to work!

I love my cat a lot, but I really want her to stop this behavior and I'm not sure how to get her to stop. Does anyone have any suggestions? 
 

stephenq

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Hey there,

You mentioned that she is free feeding.  Does she also get canned wet food? If not I would urge you to consider adding this to her diet, a quality food that she enjoys, and include a meal before bedtime.
 

tashd

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Oh my, you poor thing.....I had to teach my one cat 'settle down or go away' and gently nudge her away - as it's annoying right near the face in the middle of the night, let alone ON the face. I did have to teach her the consequences of it 'there and then' though, so as opposed to just locking her out from the get-go, I only locked her out when that behavior started. It took a while though...

Finally, you could cover your face in double-sided sticky-tape,...just JK! Or maybe cover your face in yoghurt? OK, I'm getting silly now!
 
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