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Why Does My Cat Sleep with Me? 4 Reasons Pets Want to Cuddle

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Cats have a reputation for being cold and independent. But they are surprisingly cuddly when it comes to bedtime. Most pet owners don’t question “why does my cat sleep with me” too much — after all, who doesn’t want a real-life teddy bear?

However, there are specific answers to why your cat might enjoy snuggling up to you in bed at night, and it’s 100% worth learning about these. Understanding why they indulge in this behavior will help you better care for and bond with your kitty.

Many factors that drive your fur baby to sit on your lap are the same ones that lead him to curl up beside you in bed. Let’s take a closer look at this feline behavior.

woman asleep with grey cat in arms


Why Does My Cat Want To Sleep With Me?

Here are the top reasons to clear up the question, “why does my cat like sleeping with me?”.

1. Warmth

Cats are creatures of comfort. They want the snuggliest spot in the house. So, it doesn’t matter if that’s you or your overheating laptop — they want in! They have a natural inclination towards comfort and coziness.

Warmth is the most significant indicator of comfort for a cat. Felines experience heat differently than we do. While human body temperature rests around 98°F,  theirs is at 102°F. To maintain that temperature without working their bodies too hard, these animals seek warm places to relax.

sleeping black and white kitten why does my cat sleep with me

Additionally, cats can withstand intense heat that we can’t. Other factors behind heat-seeking behavior include age, illness, and breed. Kittens especially need lots of extra warmth.

2. Territorial Behavior

Like their cousins in the wild, cats are territorial. Much of your cat’s seemingly affectionate behavior is driven by a desire to mark you as theirs.

Territoriality is about claiming an area (and a human) for themselves and telling other cats to stay clear. While this can turn to aggression, it mainly involves the feline leaving its scent around the area.

black cat rubs against man's legs

This consists of rubbing their heads against the walls and kneading their owner’s body.

So, by sleeping next to you in your bed, your cat leaves her mark all over you and the bed. She is claiming you and your bed as hers. Some cats may sleep next to their owners as a form of territorial behavior, as they consider their owners and bed part of their territory. 

In rare cases, cats may also sleep with their owners to stay informed about their owner’s movements and activities (controlling behavior).

3. Safety

Establishing a territory makes cats feel safe. When they feel unsafe, they might attack you or the threat — depending on what the danger is at the moment.

However, they still want to find the most secure place in that area to doze off because this is when they are most vulnerable. Therefore, curling up next to you means your feline feels protected when they’re near you. Aww!

woman lying on bed with ginger cat curled up under her arm

Cats grow up in litters, instinctively cuddling up on top of mom for protection. There’s safety in numbers: at least one of you will wake up in a dangerous scenario, and two is better than one in a fight.

Cats are highly observant animals and learn by watching and mimicking the behavior of others. If they see their owners sleeping in a particular place, they may perceive it as safe and comfortable. 

This may be why they sometimes have the strangest sleeping positions sleep there. It’s especially true if they see their owner displaying relaxed behavior in that spot. 

Further, cats may associate certain places with positive experiences, such as being petted, making them more likely to sleep in that spot.

4. Trust and Love

One of the top answers to your burning question of ‘why is my cat sleeping with me’ is simply because your cat trusts you to protect her when she is most vulnerable. That’s incredibly heart-warming. More than that, though, your fur baby is using snuggle time as an opportunity to deepen your bond.

Cats are social creatures, so they often cuddle with other felines in the house. Alternatively, they come to you. In both cases, it’s a means of reinforcing social ties.

Young bearded guy sleeping on sofa at home

Also, consider the above reasons in reverse. Your cat loves you and is showing you the way she knows best. She is keeping you warm and protecting you. Isn’t that adorable?

Why Do Cats Sleep on Particular Body Parts?

So, kitties love to sleep with their owners, but why choose the weird and wonderful positions? I’ve heard pet parents complain about everything from sleeping on your face to sleeping with their back toward you.

As always, there is a reason behind the strange things your cat does. Once you hear what they are, you’ll probably be much more patient and indulgent with your whiskery companion.

1. Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Head?

This is a common question, and three straightforward explanations clear it up effectively.

First, your head emits the most heat, and we know how much felines love being warm. 

Second, your head is the one part of your body that is least likely to move. No one wants to be tossed around in their sleep, especially a finicky cat.

woman with eyes closed curled up with sleepy cat on bed

Third, your head has a strong scent that appeals to the animal. Maybe it’s your shampoo or your unique smell, but your cat associates that with you and wants to be as close as possible.

NB: In some cases, a cat sleeping on or near their owner’s head or other body parts may be a sign of controlling behavior or an attempt to assert dominance. Suppose it’s an aggressive cat breed that becomes confrontational or territorial when its owner moves. In that case, it is usually better to remove the cat from the bed and provide a separate, cozy sleeping area for them.

FYI: Aggression or territorial behavior can also be due to various factors such as medical conditions, stress, or lack of socialization.

2. Why Does My Cat Doze Off on My Chest?

Laying on their owner’s chest is another popular naptime spot for felines. This is mainly because this is where they can feel our breathing and heartbeat.

Just as we are comforted by a cat’s purring, they find our breathing soothing. When we sleep, we are most relaxed, and our breathing’s slow and steady pattern is comforting to our pets.

woman asleep with grey cat in her arms from a distance

3. Why Does My Cat Turn His Back to Me?

Let me be clear: it’s not a sign that your cat is cross with you. Instead, this is yet another sign of deep trust.

Turning his back to you means that your pet trusts you (he doesn’t need to “keep an eye on you”). This behavior may indicate that your cat will protect you. By facing outward, they will be on guard duty for any incoming dangers.

Two tabby cats sit in a window sill seen from behind
Tails from behind

⇒ Getting a new kitty? Check out my guide to How to Look after a Kitten, 6 Best Kitten Wet Food Options, and 8 Best Kitten Dry Food Options

Should You Sleep Next to Your Cat?

While your cat’s choice to sleep with you may make total sense, that doesn’t mean you’re okay with it. This conduct has some disadvantages, so you may want to do a pros-and-cons analysis.


The advantages of sleeping next to your cat are huge — not just for the pet but for you, too. Petting our pets releases happy hormones, so it makes sense that we derive stress relief from snuggles, too. Their cat’s rhythmic purring soothes many cat owners.

woman asleep on bed with arm reached out to cat

You’re also gaining a warm, cuddly companion, which can improve your sleeping comfort levels. And, of course, this is prime time for bonding with your beloved pet, especially if you’re very busy during the day.


Cats are nocturnal animals. While they may cuddle for a bit, they’re likely to get up and go hunting at some point during the night. This could be a disturbance for owners.

Your cat may limit your movements if they lay on any part of you. However, you can, of course, push your cat off, and they may settle in a spot that’s less uncomfortable for you.

Grey lazy cat sleeping on woman's knees in the room

There is also a hygiene aspect since cats may carry diseases or parasites from their litter trays or the outdoors. The best way to protect yourself is to ensure that your feline is up-to-date on his vaccinations and flea and deworming treatment.

You may find that your kitty, especially family cat breeds, wants to sleep with the family‘s littlest members. This is probably because they see themselves in the mommy role. However, this is inadvisable with such vulnerable humans.

Like all animals, cats have unique personalities and can react differently to stimuli. Infants and young children may make sudden movements or loud noises that can startle or scare a cat, leading to aggressive behavior. Supervising interactions between children and cats is essential to prevent accidents or misunderstandings.

Grey lazy cat sleeping on woman's knees in the room, close up

If you decide that sleeping together isn’t for you, provide a resting spot with similar benefits.

Final Thoughts on Why My Cat Sleeps With Me Every Night

While there are disadvantages to having a cat climb into bed with you, it’s essential to see the behavior from a feline perspective. This knowledge will help you to understand and care for your cat.

If the answers to “why my cat sleeps in bed with me” prove anything, it’s how much cats crave love and comfort. Whether it’s because of your warmth, scent, or protection, it’s totally natural for your kitty to want to curl up with you at night.

Happy young woman swapping the TV channels , relaxed on the bean

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Sunday 18th of September 2022

My 17 year old Ragdoll (who I have have owned since she was 12 weeks old) religiously gets into bed with me, every time, without fail. I even have a word for it "bedaments" (because somehow cats love three syllable words...). As soon as I say that word, she goes into the bedroom, gets up on the bed and is ready for me. Without fail her preferred sleeping position is between the legs which is obviously much warmer than my head, though she will sometimes emerge from under the covers to on top of the covers in Summer. So let's just be realistic here - the "inside the bed" thing is probably 40% because she actually wants to be under there and 60% of the reason is for the heat!!

Amanda OBrien

Tuesday 27th of September 2022

That is so sweet! I wish my siberian cats would do that!


Saturday 25th of September 2021

Now you make me feel like I am missing something in my life and tat is a CAT


Monday 4th of October 2021

Avnish you are correct - if you don't have a cat you are missing out!

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