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Why Does My Cat Sit On Me? 9 Reasons My Cat Sits on Me

reviewed by a veterinary box

You’re all snug and settled on the sofa, or typing away at your laptop, and suddenly, your adorable kitty jumps onto your lap, curls into a ball, and purrs away peacefully. Many ponder the question, “Why does my cat sit on me?”.

There are many ways to express oneself in the cat world. Cats sometimes like to sit on laps because they feel secure and safe near you. They may be trying to warm themselves up or simply just come to you for attention.

Once satisfied, they’ll often leave to do something far more interesting.

All unique kitties have quirky personalities; some are more loving and keen snugglers, while others prefer to hang out alone and keep their distance. Then there are the lap cats, ready to leap onto your legs and blissfully enjoy your company.

But trust me. There are a few other reasons why cats sit on our laps and not their comfy beds with fluffy toys. It’s time to learn!

ginger and tabby cat sit on lap


Why Does My Cat Sit Always On Me?

1. They Crave Attention

Have you ever noticed your cat slowly climb onto your lap when you’re doing something, like reading a good book or working away at your laptop? Well, your fur baby could be craving attention.

If your cat sits on your lap, stares at you, and starts meowing, they may want your attention. They may also be bored, looking for affection, or simply just hungry.

ginger cat on woman's lap stares at her face

2. They’re Affectionate

Cuddling up is just one of the many ways your kitty can show their love and affection to you. This rings especially true if you’ve been away all day and they’ve been left alone.

Cats gravitate toward people – or owners – they like, and seek connection with their beloved humans.

When you finally return home after a day (or night) out, all your kitty wants to do is follow you around and eventually get the chance to perch up on your chest or legs. So if you’re a busy bee, your cat sitting you is their way of saying “I love you.”

cat with dark face being tickled under chin

Sometimes, if they curl up on your lap, they seek love because they associate laps with affection from being petted.

But Why? Because your fur-ball buddy loves you and craves your attention. This behavior is a cat showing trust in the person. All the head butting, the purrs and kisses; these add up to one thing – love.

what does it mean when a cat headbutts you - ginger cat snugglin

3. Kitties Love Warmth

Have you ever noticed your feline catching the first ray of sunlight seeping through the windows in the morning? Whether it’s on the sofa or the windowsill, your kitty will often dbe right there soaking it all up.

This is mostly because cats prefer heated resting places and their temperature receptors. A cat’s average body temperature can range from 101°F to 102.5°F (37.2 °C – 39.2 °C) – maintaining this temperature takes effort.

woman with blanket and two cats on her lap why does my cat sit on me

Felines seek out external heat sources, so their bodies don’t have to work as hard to keep a core heat, and our laps may be just the spot. 

If your furbaby is lying on you a little too much, you can tempt her with a heated cat bed. The warmth mimics your body heat, giving a comforting alternative.

Your kitty will love feeling toasty and may even stretch out, head and paws up, belly in the air, in appreciation. But is there really such a thing as too many cat cuddles? I don’t think so.

grey cat in beige cat bed

4. Your Fur Baby Wants To Bond

Cats have earned a fair reputation for being unfriendly, aloof, and preferring a solitary life. But as cat owners, we know this is far from the truth.

Our cuddle monsters are often as affectionate and loving as they are social and friendly. Your cat’s personality, temperament, and feline breed can influence how cuddly your fluff is.

fluffy white cat lying on bed

Sometimes, they’ll figure out what time you arrive home from work and will be waiting at the door for you, demanding attention. They’ll rub against your legs, bump you with their heads, or meow for snuggle time – this can be a display of social bonding too.

It’s not unusual for cats to practice ‘pillowing’ with another cat at bedtime. This is when they use their brother or sister as a ‘pillow’ to snuggle up next to or on – adorable!

silver siberian cats grooming each other

If they are the only felines – or pets – in the house, then you’re the next best option. Cats yearn for cuddles, which is why you would see them in quirky sleeping positions together or lying on each other, and this same bonding element translates to humans.

This is a tactile component to the feline and human bond, a way your kitty is saying, ‘I love you and I want to spend time with you.’

tabby cat on woman's legs in jeans on wooden floor

5. They’re Dibbing Their Territory

Scent matters to your kitty. Cats are territorial creatures and claim their turf by marking it with their smell (using their scent glands). It’s one of the main ways they communicate.

Your kitty may rub her face on you to deposit pheromones; it’s the feline behavior of showing comfort and marks ownership.

So when they get to curl up on top of you and sleep on your legs or chest, they’re marking you – or your bed – as their own. We should consider this as a compliment, though. So when my cat sits on my lap, I welcome them with open arms.

person strokes black and white cat sitting in lap

6. Felines Like Comfy Spots

Our kitties can sleep around 12 – 16 hours a day, so naturally, they’re often on the lookout for a nice comfortable place to catch a few winks.

This depends on what your kitty prefers, whether on a sofa or stretched out on their cat perches. No matter the case, they love soft and cozy places to relax and snuggle up for the day.

Imagine how inviting you feel to a cat who finds you under several plush blankets. Your belly immediately becomes the cuddliest place on earth. 

Also, your cat may like what you are wearing. If you have soft leggings or a fleece top, they may choose to sleep next to you because they like the feel of the fabric.

grey cat sits on woman's lap with blanket reading

7. Cats Look to Feel Safe and Secure

Everyone and everything needs and wants security. Your loving cat is no exception. Sleep is a vulnerable time for your kitty, so your cat curling up on your lap indicates that she trusts you and feels protected with you.

When your cat is looking for a snuggly place to sleep, she wants comfort and warmth and a safe and secure place.

No harm can come to her when her favorite beloved person is there, so kitty dreams can come easily when she has nothing to fear.

A cat has to trust you to sit on your lap. So when your cat sits on your lap, make sure you don’t restrict its movement and give it the option to leave. In the long term, this behavior will increase trust levels with your cat.

grey cat sits on person's lap wearing jeans with holes

8. They Love Your Soothing Sounds & Scents

Why do cats sit on your lap? Felines love to sleep all day. There’s no denying that. And as it turns out, the steady rhythm of your heartbeat and the soothing rise and fall of your inhaling and exhaling can lull your fur baby to sleep.

Your unique smell can also help your kitty feel secure as she associates it with the companionship and safety you provide her.

In short, a kitty may find your natural bodily sounds and smells to be relaxing and sleep-inducing.

Not only does your heartbeat help soothe them, but their warmth and love can help you. Cats are known to help with mental health and can often pick up on cues that you’re not in the best place. 

So don’t be surprised if you’re having a stressful day and your cuddle monster shows you some extra attention.

grey and black cat sits on woman's lap whilst she uses laptop

9. They May Be Letting You Know Something is Wrong

Why is my cat always on my lap?

When cats are sick, they can become unsocial and keep to themselves, but this depends on their personality. It’s also possible that your kitty becomes super clingy and wants to always sleep on you. 

Cats do tend to sleep more in winter. But if it’s a warm time of the year and your feline is fairly inactive and just wants to sleep with you, they may give you another sign. They also have particular sleeping positions when sick, such as flat on their stomach, so keep an eye out for behavior like this.

In general, your soft-to-the-touch kitten may be looking for attention or comfort. That said, it may be worth taking them to the vet if they’re spending far more time on you than usual or exhibiting abnormal behavior.

ginger cat sits on person's lap.png

FAQs About Why Cats Sit on You

You may still have a few questions about cat sitting in mind, so let me put your mind at ease with these quick answers.

1. When a Cat Sits on Me, Does it Mean They’re Imprinted on Me?

Imprinting a cat’s way of saying they love and trust you no matter what. The easiest way to tell if this is the case is when they regularly seek out your warm body.

If you’re wondering why your cat sleeps on you and not your partner, it may be because they’ve imprinted themselves on you and not them. In other words, they love you just a little bit more.

2. What Does it Mean When a Cat Sits on Your Lap When You’re Sick?

Cat owners may know this already, but these feline love muffins are super perceptible creatures. As a matter of fact, they can often sense illnesses through chemical changes in the body.

They don’t just sense this. Often they actively try to help, be it through affection (sleeping on you), kneading, and even licking.

3. Why Does My Cat Sit on My Lap Facing Away From Me?

There are many reasons for this behavior, but the most common reason is that they completely trust you. Cats don’t just sit on anyone, let alone face away from them, so if you’re kitty does this, they know you’re here to protect them.

This goes both ways, though, as our little fluffy loves will often face away to protect you while you sleep. It’s your fluff ball’s way of staying on guard and showing they love you unconditionally.

4. What Does it Mean When My Cat Wants to Sit on Me All the Time?

I’ve unpacked this question already, but it’s always worth reiterating why this is the case. Your kitten could be seeking warmth, letting you know they’re sick, or simply wanting to bond with you.

5. How Do Cats Choose Who to Sit on?

Our furry friends are extremely in tune with what they like and don’t like, and the same goes with who they choose to sit on. They often gravitate toward the person that gives them the most attention and care.

If several people live in the house, it’s a good idea to alternate who feeds your kitten. This way, they can imprint on each person in the house, so everyone can get the same amount of cat-loving.

It’s also possible that your feline just likes you the best, and there’s not much anyone else can do about that.

A Footnote on Why Do Cats Sit on You?

If your cat loves to sit on your lap, you should feel honored and take it as a compliment. Your baby is showing you that they love and trust you.

Why do cats like our laps? Cats enjoy lap time because they perceive it to provide comfort during a mid-day siesta or for a little petting near their beloved. It does, however, come down to the personality and behavior of each feline.

Consider your kitty sleeping on your lap as an indication of their trust and love since they consider you the safest place. Most felines enjoy curling up for nap time on their owner’s lap even when you’re not in bed. It’s not only a warm place but the perfect spot to receive some extra petting.

ginger cat sits at end of blond woman's feet
dark faced cat sits on lap with laptop

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Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Even the smallest cat is a nature wonder.Leonardo da Vinci

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