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Why Does My Cat Sleep with Me? 4 Reasons

For animals with the reputation of being cold and independent, many cats are surprisingly cuddly when it comes to bedtime. Most pet owners don’t question this too much — after all, who doesn’t want a real-life teddy bear?

However, there are specific answers to “why does my cat sleep with me,” and it’s 100% worth learning about these. Understanding why they indulge in this behavior will help you to better care for and bond with your feline.

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

woman asleep with grey cat in arms

Why does my cat sleep with me?

1. Warmth

Cats are creatures of comfort. They want the snuggliest spot in the house. It doesn’t matter if that’s you or your overheating laptop — they want in!

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 need lots of extra warmth, especially.

2. Territorial Behavior

Like their cousins in the wild, cats are territorial. In fact, a lot 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, mostly it involves the feline leaving their scent around the area.

black cat rubs against man's legs

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

So, by sleeping next to you in your bed, your cat is leaving her mark all over you and the bed. She is claiming you and your bed as hers.

3. Safety

Establishing a territory makes cats feel safe. However, they still want to find the most secure place in that area to doze off because this is when they are most vulnerable to attack.

Therefore, curling up next to you means that your feline feels protected when he’s near you. Aww!

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

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Cats grow up in litters where they instinctively cuddle 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.

It seems there is some truth behind the cats-are-cold stereotype. Still, your cat feels safe with you.

4. Trust and Love

Your cat trusts you to protect her when she is at her 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

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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 do they choose the weird and wonderful positions? I’ve heard pet parents complain about everything from sleeping on your face to sleeping with their back towards you.

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

1. Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Head?

This is a common question, and there are three straightforward explanations that actually make a lot of sense.

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, especially a finicky cat, wants to be tossed around in their sleep.

woman with eyes closed curled up with sleepy cat on bed

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

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

The owner’s chest is another popular naptime spot for felines. This is mostly 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 at our 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

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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”). To interpret further, this behavior may even indicate that your cat is going to protect you. By facing outward, he’s going to be on guard duty for any incoming dangers.

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

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Should You Sleep Next to Your Cat?

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

Benefits

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 in us, 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

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

Disadvantages

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 movements may be limited if your cat lays on any part of you. However, you can, of course, push your cat off, and he may settle in a spot that’s less uncomfortable for you.

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

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There is also a hygiene aspect to consider 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 could also get a litter trapper mat.

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You may find that your kitty wants to sleep with the littlest members of the family. This is probably because she sees herself in the mommy role. However, this is inadvisable with such vulnerable humans.

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

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

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Final Thoughts on “Why Does My Cat Sleep with Me?”

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 does my cat sleep 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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