It doesn't matter how comfortable the sofa is or how many cat beds are scattered throughout the house; Your cat's favorite place to sleep is right on your lap. When it's not in your lap, it nestles against your feet, in the crook of your arm, or even on your shoulder or head.
Not all cats like snuggling, but sleeping on people is a common feline behavior. These affectionate cats defy the old stereotype that cats are snobbish and aloof. It shows that cats are as friendly as they are social, and cats who sleep with humans aren't hard to find.
Understanding why your cat prefers their body to any other sleeping surface will give you insight into their thoughts, instincts, and feelings about your relationship.
Before you can guess why your cat is sleeping on you, it's important to understand some facts about cat sleep.
Facts about your cat's sleep
Most house cats are perfectly capable of hunting small game successfully, and their inner wildcat tells them not to fall asleep when the opportunity presents itself.
While humans tuck into (hopefully) eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, your cat's sleeping habits are different. Rather than resting all at once, cats take multiple naps throughout the day and night.
These naps can total up to 16 hours a day, but few of those hours are spent in deep sleep. This is because cats prefer to keep their sleep light. By not allowing themselves to fall asleep, cats remain reasonably alert. A loud noise or a light touch will wake them up, and that's exactly how they like it.
This penchant for light sleep comes from your cat's natural instincts, passed down from distant wild ancestors. It also has to do with your cat's unique position in the food chain as both a predator and prey.
As a predator, your cat doesn't want to miss out on their next meal. It doesn't matter that your food comes out of a bag and delivered straight to your plate. Their instinct is to use their sharp teeth, claws, and athletic ability to hunt down prey. Most house cats are perfectly capable of hunting small game successfully, and their inner wildcat tells them not to fall asleep when the opportunity presents itself.
On the other hand, your cat is also a prey. Even with those fearsome claws, house cats are small and vulnerable. Nobody is more vulnerable than when they are asleep, and your cat knows it. By taking light naps, they remain at least partially alert to potential threats. It's a survival technique your cat doesn't need when he's napping in your living room, but it can't be ignored.
With this understanding of how your cat sleeps, you can more expertly analyze how she chooses her roosting spot.
Why is your cat sleeping on you?
The time your cat sleeps next to or on top of you may be the only time she falls into a deep sleep.
One of the main reasons your cat sleeps with you is related to their position as prey. Sleep makes your cat vulnerable. However, a trusted lookout is one way to stay safe even while you sleep.
Your cat may sleep on top of you because it depends on you to stay alert. Your human status will deter potential threats from getting too close. And if intimidation doesn't work, your cat will know that at least you'll sound the alarm and give her time to run or fight.
The time your cat sleeps next to or on top of you may be the only time she falls into a deep sleep. Consider this both a compliment and a responsibility to ensure your cat is getting the proper sleep she needs.
warmth and comfort
Hopefully your house cat won't have to deal with freezing temperatures, but the need to stay warm is ingrained as a natural survival instinct.
In addition to predators, cats used to have to fight the weather and temperature. Despite all that fluff, extreme cold could be just as deadly as a larger carnivore. To stay alive, cats had to find ways to keep warm.
Hopefully your house cat won't have to deal with freezing temperatures, but the need to stay warm is ingrained as a natural survival instinct. A heating pad, radiator, or a sunny spot on the floor are good options. However, they are not as good as your body heat. There's nothing like a hot lap to ward off a possible cold.
There's also the added bonus that humans are naturally comfortable. Our soft clothing, comfortable body parts, and body heat at just the right temperature make us great sleeping surfaces when it comes to staying warm and comfortable.
Napping with a loved one during the day or sleeping late at night can be a cat's way of expressing all of those loving feelings.
The embedded knowledge of how to stay alive takes up a large part of your cat's brain, but that's not all she thinks about. Contrary to what some believe, cats are generally friendly and affectionate. There is of course variety when it comes to how cats express these feelings of friendship, but many show love through physical contact.
Napping with a loved one during the day or sleeping late at night can be a cat's way of expressing all of those loving feelings. They want you to know that they care about you, and sleeping with you makes them feel good too.
If your cat loves you, there's a good chance she'll consider you part of her territory too. Cats are territorial creatures, and everything, including people, objects, and places, is fair game when it comes to making claims.
Fortunately, cats don't always mark their territory with urine. With a strong sense of smell, cats value scent markers. They rub against furniture and your legs to spread their scent, and sleeping on you does the same.
By sleeping on your chest for a few quiet hours, your cat is marking you as successful. This lets other pets or animals know that you are "occupied". There's also the more obvious benefit of preventing you from interacting with others. It's hard to play with the dog when a cat is sleeping peacefully on your chest. It's part possession and part fulfillment.
If your cat sleeps with you, consider it normal feline behavior. You can also give yourself a pat on the back for building a trusting relationship with your feline friend. There are several advantages to sleeping with a cat, but we cannot ignore the disadvantages either.
Sometimes you need the freedom to roll over whenever you want and go to the bathroom before your bladder explodes. Your cat's twilight sleep might also keep you awake if you allow her into your bedroom at night.
The bottom line is that every cat/human relationship is different. Whether you or notLet your cat sleep on you constantly during naps and at nightit's a personal choice. But whatever you choose, remember to consider your cat's natural sleeping habits in relation to your own sleeping needs. It's also a good idea to think about the long-term relationship you want to have with your pet.
Why does my cat sleep on me? - cats.com? ›
By choosing to sleep on you, your cat gets an extra level of protection and gets to bond with you at the same time. When your cat chooses to sleep on you, it's her way of saying "I love you. I want to be near you and spend time with you when I'm at my most vulnerable."Do cats sleep with their favorite person? ›
You're the favorite.
The reasons for this are varied, but generally speaking, it is the person who cares for them each day. This bond is important to your cat as they are social creatures that need affection and attention from their owner. By sleeping with you, it is another way for them to show their love.
- Communicating with you — meows, purrs, and all the other happy noises a cat makes.
- Kneading you (a.k.a. ...
- Choosing to be close to you — following you around, cuddling and sleeping with you, being on your lap whenever they get the chance.
- Greeting you when you come home.
They're marking their territory
PetMD also points out that cats are territorial creatures. They claim their turf by marking it with their scent. So when they sleep on top of you, they're actually marking you—and your bed—as theirs. We should be flattered by this behavior, apparently.
It will choose you as its favourite human. Previously abandoned cats are more prone to imprint on their owners, and some kinds are known to be loyal to one person. When you pick out a cat, most of them may seem to ignore you.Why does my cat sleep on me and purr? ›
It's Simple: Your Cat Loves You. You're not just a comfy cat bed; your cat loves you too, and laying on your chest is one way they show their love. That's what all those head butts and all that purring mean. They often do other things to get your attention too!Where your cat sleeps on your bed and what it means? ›
If your cat sleeps on your bed, he may choose a position that lets him see out your bedroom door more easily. If he's curled up in a ball under your bed or in a quiet corner, then he may be hiding. Cats who sleep under the covers might love being close to you, or they might be hiding to feel safer.Are cats happier when they sleep with you? ›
Happy cats often enjoy social sleeping, which means that they will sleep with those with which they feel safe and comfortable. If your cat chooses to sleep with you or other pets in the house, this is a great indication of happiness.Do cats like it when you sleep next to them? ›
Lying next to you, but not on you, doesn't mean your cat is not bonded to you. In fact, sleeping next to you means your cat trusts you enough to be in a vulnerable position while sleeping. Some cats are not comfortable sleeping on their cat parent because they prefer the security of a small buffer zone.Do cats prefer female owners? ›
According to a new study, cats experience the greatest fondness for female owners. Cats attach to your veterinary clients—your female clients in particular—as social partners and it's not just because they want to be fed, according to research in the journal Behavioral Processes.
How do cats show they trust you? ›
One simple way to know if your cat trusts you is if her tail stands straight up, especially when she sees you or walks toward you. Some cat experts consider it to be a “thumbs up” in cat lingo. If the tail quivers slightly, it's even more indication that the cat has positive feelings toward you.What happens when a cat gets attached to you? ›
Cats form attachments to their owners that are similar to those that dogs and babies form with their caregivers. You really are more than just a source of food to your cat: A study published Monday finds that cats see their owners as a source of comfort and security, too.Why does my cat follow me to the bathroom? ›
One of the most plausible and sweetest reasons why your cat “follows” you even into the bathroom is that he loves you. The cat wants to take advantage of every second of your presence and every possible opportunity to spend time with you! He adores you so much that he will follow you everywhere in the house.Why does my cat constantly want to lay on me? ›
They Want to Show that You Belong to Them
It's one of the main ways they communicate. Your cat may rub her face on you to deposit pheromones and oils, showing comfort and marking ownership. And because your smell is familiar, it's comforting and secure. By sleeping on you, she might be marking you as belonging to her.
When your cat is curled up near you, they're simply letting you know that they feel safe. This is your feline friend's way of letting you know that they trust you.Are male cats more affectionate? ›
Myth: Male cats are more affectionate towards humans and bond really well with their owners. Female cats are aloof and, because of their mothering instincts, prefer other cats to humans. Reality: This usually comes down to your cat's individual personality.Is it true cats choose their owners? ›
In a multi-human household, it seems that cats will choose one family member they want to spend more of their time with. According to a study done by the nutrition company, Canadae, they discovered that the person who makes the most effort is the favorite.Does my cat think I'm her mom? ›
No, your cat doesn't actually think you're the mama cat that birthed it. But cats show us a level of affection and respect that is very similar to the way they treat their mama cat. And this sweet fact flies in the face of anyone who thinks cats' “aloof” personality means they don't care about us.Can cats sense sadness? ›
Cats have the power to sense their owner's emotions. So, cats have the ability to feel whenever their owner is sad. Beyond sadness, domestic cats are also able to feel whenever their owner has switched moods and emotions.Do cats try to heal you? ›
Scientists believe that the benefits of loving a cat may even extend to our health. Studies have shown that people are less likely to die of a heart attack if they own a cat (Adnan I Qureshi, 2009). Perhaps even more interesting are the reports of cats' purrs helping people heal.
Why do cats sit on your chest healing? ›
One of the reasons why do cats lay on your chest healing might be because they are stressed or feeling unwell from the inside. When they climb up to the chest, make sure to wrap their arms while petting their heads gently to soothe them down.Do cats miss their owners? ›
Do cats actually miss their owners? Yes, they do. The cats miss the owners whenever they are away or have been detached from the owner. They notice the absence of all the showered love their owners have left for them.Does my cat know I love her? ›
All in all, even the most aloof and brooding cat will be able to pick up on your warmth and devotion. Whether they choose to admit it or not, they can sense when a person loves them (and hates them). So always make sure you're emitting good, kitty-positive vibes, and your cat will be sure to indulge in the lovefest.Why do cats sleep next to your head at night? ›
Cats may sleep by your head as a way of getting close to you to show you affection. When cats sleep with you, it shows that they trust you. Wild cats often sleep where they feel safest, so if your cat is sleeping next to you, it's likely because they feel safe with you.Does sleeping with your cat create a bond? ›
Cats are by instinct always on the alert, so when they sleep in your bed it means they feel secure with you. Kittens sleep in litters, so by sleeping with you your cat is showing affection and creating a deeper bond with you. In addition, cats are territorial.How many hours a day should I spend with my cat? ›
She recommends scheduling playtime once or twice daily, with about 15 minutes per session. Other cat health and behavior experts offer similar recommendations, with the total amount of playtime ranging from 20 to 60 minutes daily.Why does my cat wait for me to go to bed? ›
Your Cat Is Looking for Security
Because of their position in the middle of the food chain, they may feel vulnerable while they're sleeping. Sleeping next to you helps them feel more secure in their ability to sleep because they know they have an extra layer of defense if a predator comes their way.
It is a common behavioral interaction that cats usually engage in. This ritualistic "small bite" can be perceived as an act of affection between cat and owner, mainly if the petted animal happens to curl up with its human partner. Your cat is showing you how much they care by giving affectionate licks and bites.Why does my cat have to touch me when sleeping? ›
Sleeping with you provides them with security and an extra defense if a predator should launch a nighttime attack. They sleep with you because they trust you, they know you're not a danger and you can also provide an extra layer of defense if needed.What does cat loaf position mean? ›
The cat loaf pose typically indicates relaxation. Quoted in Inverse, Mikel Delgado, a cat researcher and postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, explains that, tucked as they are, cat loaves are clearly not in a defensive position from which they could spring into an attack.
Are male or female cats more loyal? ›
Myth: Male cats are more affectionate towards humans and bond really well with their owners. Female cats are aloof and, because of their mothering instincts, prefer other cats to humans. Reality: This usually comes down to your cat's individual personality.Do cats know their names? ›
According to a study1 published in 2019 in the journal Scientific Reports, cats do, in fact, recognize their own names. The lead author of the study is a behavioral scientist named Atsuko Saito from Sophia University in Tokyo, whose prior research2 demonstrated that cats can recognize their owners' voices.Are female cats more attached? ›
Male cats tend to be more social and affectionate with both humans and other cats. They commonly form strong bonds with other cats in the home, even when they are not from the same litter. Females, on the other hand, are often more standoffish. If you are looking for a cuddle bug, adopting a male may be your best bet.Do cats like you talking to them? ›
Yes, you read that right: A recent study revealed that getting your pet's attention is as simple as speaking with a high-pitched tone and extended vowels, just like how you'd communicate with a human baby. Additionally, the study suggested that your cat can actually tell you apart from strangers.Do cats know you kiss them? ›
Most cats don't understand that kisses from humans are a sign of affection. A cat will surely let you know if they enjoy being kissed or not. The best ways to show your cat that you love them are to give them toys, treats, and plenty of one-on-one time.What do cats think about all day? ›
To summarise, cats don't think about their day or how they feel. But they do think about previous situations they have encountered. For example, when your cat is chilling out, it's not thinking about anything in particular.Can cats sense your emotions? ›
It appears that cats can sense human moods as well as depression. Cats are observant and intuitive, and this allows them to understand emotional cues from humans. So when you are depressed, they can sense that too. In particular, cats may come in closer proximity when their fur parents are depressed.What do cats see when they look at humans? ›
The strange part of all of this is that cats actually view people as fellow cats. Some researchers believe cats look at us as big, slow, clumsy, uncoordinated cats, but others say they're not quite so judgemental. The good thing is, whether or not they're judging our balance and agility, they still love us!What can I give my cat to drink besides water? ›
If your cat will not drink fresh water, then you can try boiling some plain chicken breast or white fish and give your cat the cooking liquid to tempt them. This should not contain any salt or oil. You can also ask your vet whether oral rehydration fluids would be suitable.Why do cats call you to watch them eat? ›
“First, many cats grow up being fed by their mother and may simply be used to having some sort of guardian present while feeding,” Dr. Koski said. “Second, when a cat is in a new, scary or stressful environment, they may want to have someone around them to help them feel more at ease.”
Do cats guard their owners? ›
Cats are often stereotyped as standoffish and aloof, even to the people who love them most, but the truth is that cats can be just as protective of their people as dogs are of theirs. Put simply, cats love their family and their family loves them right back.How do cats choose who to sleep with? ›
They crave warm and cozy spots, so if your bed is something they find comfortable, they'll likely choose you to snuggle with. The one who makes them feel safe. Cats are particular about where they sleep, ensuring it's safe and secure.Why is my cat so clingy? ›
Your cat may become clingy as a result of stress, insecurity, or generalized anxiety. This could be caused by a significant change in routine, the addition or loss of a household member, an unfamiliar visitor, or loud noises, to name a few. Jealousy.Why do cats push their heads into you? ›
Headbutting is a way for cats to mark you with pheromones and bond with you. However, sometimes headbutting can be a way for cats to seek attention. As a general rule, cats like to be scratched under the chin and on the head, so a cat may just be presenting their head to you for some attention and good scratches.Do cats need blankets? ›
Blankets provide warmth and comfort, and cats often seek out the reassuring touch of a blanket as a form of protection from threats. Cats may be more relaxed and less stressed when covered by a blanket, which can help them get better sleep.Why do cats cover their face when they sleep? ›
This means before napping they may find a vantage point somewhere high up, or they might even bury their head in a basket of laundry to help give them a sense of security. Either way, they know their pretty faces are also their most vulnerable point, so it makes sense that covering them helps them feel more secure.Do male cats prefer female humans? ›
Are Male Cats More Affectionate to Female Owners? While a cat's gender doesn't seem to make a difference in terms of affection, Posluns notes that studies of cat personality also suggest it has little influence on the type of relationship with their owner.Can you tell how big a cat will get? ›
You can estimate your cat's adult weight by weighing them when they're 16 weeks old and doubling that number. You can expect that figure will be right around your cat's adult weight. It's not exact, but it's a good estimate.Do cats get sad when you leave? ›
Short answer: yes. When their needs for companionship are not met, cats can become depressed. They can also get separation anxiety. Unfortunately, feline separation anxiety often goes unnoticed until it becomes severe.Can cats sense a good person? ›
The author writes, “Although a cat may not care (as that word is generally used) about human morals, cats can and do distinguish between good and bad people, and are excellent judges of human character and emotion.
Why do cats prefer female owners? ›
According to Discovery News' report on research on cat and human behavior, the No. 1 reason a cat likes female humans is because women tend to spend more time with cats. And the more attention they get from a person, the more likely they are to give the same amount of loving right back.What colors can cats see? ›
The retina of the eye has two main types of cells--rods and cones. The ability to differentiate colors is determined by the presence of the special color sensitive cells called “cones.” Human and feline eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green.What do cats think we are? ›
Cats don't just think of their owners as food machines. They actually see us as parents. A 2019 study revealed that cats have the same attachment to their owners that babies show to their parents. Kittens in the study acted distressed when their caregivers left and happy and secure when they returned.Does my cat see me as a cat? ›
Unfortunately, your cat sees your pet-owner relationship much differently, according to the new book Cat Sense by English biologist Dr. John Bradshaw. It actually thinks you're a “larger, non-hostile” cat.Do cats get emotionally attached to their owners? ›
Cats form attachments to their owners that are similar to those that dogs and babies form with their caregivers. You really are more than just a source of food to your cat: A study published Monday finds that cats see their owners as a source of comfort and security, too.Do cats comfort you when you cry? ›
Either way, there's evidence that cats comfort humans when sad. "When pet parents are depressed, cats rub against them more often. It's likely your cat is responding to your emotional state by trying to comfort you or draw your attention," McGowan says.Do cats understand human crying? ›
Cats can sense how people are feeling, so your cat actually can tell when you're sad. “Cats can definitely sense when you are sad because they are highly attuned to your normal behaviors and moods, and if there is a change, they sense it,” Dr. Wooten told The Dodo.Do cats ever feel bad for hurting you? ›
Cats don't feel guilt. They do feel connected to us. And there are certain behaviours that show us they still think of us as part of their social group.Do cats hold trauma? ›
There's a chance your cat could have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if they have experienced one or more traumatic instances throughout their lives. Cats with PTSD can exhibit unusual changes in behavior as well as significant distress related to their disorder.What does it mean when a cat lays on your heart? ›
It's Simple: Your Cat Loves You. You're not just a comfy cat bed; your cat loves you too, and laying on your chest is one way they show their love. That's what all those head butts and all that purring mean.
How long will a cat remember a person? ›
They can remember a person's face for up to 10 years! And kitties become seriously attached to their humans, so in case you were wondering, yes, your cat remembers and misses you when you're gone for a few weeks, and they absolutely mourn when a trusted companion drops out of their life.Will my cat remember me after 3 months? ›
Anyone simply "present" in their life is someone they may remember, but not associate with any emotion. But as long as you and your cat have shared a pet or two, and as long as you fed them a few of their favorite meals, your cat will remember you as well no matter how long you are gone.Does a cat trust you if it sleeps next to you? ›
Sleeping near you
If your kitty likes to sleep near you - or even on you - this is an indication that they have total trust in you.
Cats tend to use pawing as a form of communication. Cats paw at us out of instinct, by accident, to give or get affection, and to get our attention. Most times, when cats paw at us, it means nothing serious. Sometimes, however, they are getting our attention to tell us that they are sick or in pain.How do you know your cats Favourite person? ›
According to a study done by the nutrition company, Canadae, they discovered that the person who makes the most effort is the favorite. People who communicate with their cat by getting to know their cues and motives are more attractive to their cat companions.How do you tell who a cat's favorite person is? ›
Food. Most cats love food. It's often a strong feline motivator, so it makes sense that cats tend to enjoy the company of those who regularly feed them. The person who gets up every day and feeds the cat its favorite kibble is going to be in the running for the cat's favorite person.Do cats sleep with their owners at night? ›
If you are a cat owner you may have noticed that your cat prefers to sleep in your bed rather than their own. In fact, it's not that uncommon for them to completely ditch their own bed and spend as much time as possible sleeping with you.Why do cats sleep next to their owners at night? ›
Your Cat Is Looking for Security
Because of their position in the middle of the food chain, they may feel vulnerable while they're sleeping. Sleeping next to you helps them feel more secure in their ability to sleep because they know they have an extra layer of defense if a predator comes their way.
It's a question that many cat owners have wondered. And the answer is a resounding yes! Cats often feel love quite strongly for their owners and other companions. They're just sometimes a little more subtle about it than dogs.Do cats know they're being loved? ›
All in all, even the most aloof and brooding cat will be able to pick up on your warmth and devotion. Whether they choose to admit it or not, they can sense when a person loves them (and hates them). So always make sure you're emitting good, kitty-positive vibes, and your cat will be sure to indulge in the lovefest.
How do cats tell you they love you? ›
Rubbing up against another individual is how cats show affection. Similar to head-butting, they will leave their 'happy messages' on their chosen object of desire, claiming it as theirs. Essentially, if you were ever in doubt, your legs belong to them. If you cat does any of these you know they love you.Why do cats follow you to the bathroom? ›
Does my cat want to spend time with me? Your cat might follow you into the bathroom simply because they love you and want to be with you all the time. Although independent animals, felines still form close bonds with their humans and your cat even misses you when you're not around.Do cats miss their humans? ›
Do cats actually miss their owners? Yes, they do. The cats miss the owners whenever they are away or have been detached from the owner. They notice the absence of all the showered love their owners have left for them.What does it mean when a cat licks you? ›
Your cat is expressing her affection for you.
Your cat's licking may be an affiliative behavior, which is a friendly, altruistic behavior. Mothers groom their kittens, and cats may groom one another, which is called allogrooming.
They're trying to bond with you.
In cat's world, cuddle time is productive bonding time. Your kitty needs you for food, warmth, and shelter, and sometimes all they want is show you how much they love and appreciate you. Your cat's headbutts, cuddles, and purrs are all tokens of affection and appreciation.
Cats cannot distinguish their owners by staring at them because their faces appear identical when they are at rest. Instead, cats distinguish between humans using sound and smell. Cats learn to identify their owner's voice, and regardless of whether they're wearing cologne, their skin emits a distinct aroma.Why does my cat reach his paw out to me? ›
Cats tend to use pawing as a form of communication. Cats paw at us out of instinct, by accident, to give or get affection, and to get our attention. Most times, when cats paw at us, it means nothing serious. Sometimes, however, they are getting our attention to tell us that they are sick or in pain.Are cats protective of their owner? ›
Cats are extremely protective of people they stay with and there are numerous instances when a cat has warned its owner of a stranger lurking around the house. In many instances, a cat does the job of a watchdog much better than a canine could.