Did you ever find your cat curled up like a ball of fluff on your chest in the middle of the night? Have you finally been transformed into your cat’s favorite pillow?
Many cat parents share this familiar scenario! For some reason, cats tend to sleep habitually on their owners. This begs the question, “Why does my cat sleep on me?”
Some of you may have purchased a comfortable bed for your cat. While your cat does sleep on it, it still prefers to nap on shelves, boxes, tables, or, most importantly, on you. So, what does it mean if my cat is sleeping on me?
Apart from the fact that cats adore you, this behavior may be related to a cat’s innate drive to protect its kin and how they interact in the wild. It may also provide further perspective for learning about a cat’s sleeping habits and how they differ from ours. While humans usually sleep through the night, cats take many naps during the day to recharge their batteries.
On the other hand, these catnaps are frequently in a light sleep mode. Cats are natural hunters. This means they are always ready for a fight-or-flight scenario. Sleeping on top of you can be their biology, telling them it’s the most secure area for sleeping.
Here are 8 reasons why your cat may enjoy sleeping on you:
1. Your Cat Wants to Befriend You
Cat owners may attest that cats are beautiful creatures. You’ll realize that they are not as aloof as they seem—cats, like dogs, desire to bond and be intimate with their owners. You may ask, “How can you tell if a cat has imprinted on you?” Usually, when they sleep on you regularly, that’s a dead giveaway.
Sleeping with you is one of their ways of expressing their love. It’s your cat’s way of expressing its desire to be near you. Hearing the sound of your breathing or heartbeat also provides comfort to your cat.
This is similar to how cats behave in the wild when they lavish care on their relatives. They bond through grooming, stroking each other, and sleeping on the same pillow.
2. Your Cat Wants to Be Warm
Do you notice that your cat enjoys sunbathing near the window where sunshine enters during the day? This is because cats enjoy the warmth, which allows them to relax and sleep peacefully.
But why do cats choose to lay on you? They enjoy resting on you since your body is warmer than most other sleeping areas in the room. Warmth also improves sleep quality in cats, so keeping them warm while sleeping on you is beneficial to their health.
3. Your Cat Wants to Feel Secure
If you’re asking, “Does a cat sleeping on you mean they trust you?” Then the answer is most probably, YES.
Because cats are natural hunters in the outdoors, they seek out safe havens to rest and recharge in between hunts. You are that haven for them in the household situation. Cats are vulnerable while sleeping, so this behavior indicates that they trust you and feel safe while you’re nearby.
This habit can also be traced back to when they were kittens. Litters would sleep by pillowing on each other and their mothers. They are raised in this manner during their peak growth period, learning social skills and other skills that they will carry with them into adulthood.
4. Your Cat is Establishing Its Presence
Cats are naturally territorial. To claim their territory at home, they exude pheromones produced by their smell glands. So when they decide to sleep or lay on top of you, they leave their aroma on you. For cats, this can be considered genuine praise.
It’s their way of saying you’re a member of their tribe, similar to how cats in the wild mark cats of the same group. Your cat rubbing its head or body against you is also part of the scent-marking process.
5. Your Cat is Driven by Hormones
In a study by neurologists, they investigated saliva samples from 10 cats while they were playing with their owners. The data suggest that the cats’ oxytocin levels increased by up to 12%.
According to an expert study, cats may like connecting with their owners more than they enjoy eating. In addition, your cat resting on you may signify that cats produce happy hormones when they bond with you.
6. Your Cat Enjoys an Elevated Position
Do you find your cat sleeping in your buttocks for those sleeping in their stomachs? Don’t worry, it’s not strange. Don’t blame your cat for treating you like a giant body pillow. There’s also the issue of height and elevation to consider.
Most feline family members hide in trees to see predators and prey from a higher vantage point in the wild. It’s in a domestic cat’s DNA to feel safest in high places. Your mattress is higher than the ground, and you are even higher. Naturally, your cat will gravitate toward the hot, elevated perch – that would be you. Get the tallest cat tree you can find if you want the tiny monkey off your back.
7. Your Cat is Used to Doing It!
Some cats develop a habit of sleeping on you. You may have let them sleep on you one too many times that it became a regular thing for them, like a part of a routine.
It was adorable when your tiny kitten slept in the nook of your neck. But now that it’s grown, you may find that with each breath, you now have a 15-pound cat to bench-press. As an adult, your cat may continue to sleep on top of you because they’ve determined that the warmest and safest spot is with you. Cats are creatures of habit, so breaking out of this routine will be challenging.
Interestingly, with much determination and willpower, patterns and practices can be unlearned should you wish for them to stop sleeping on top of you.
8. Your Cat Likes to Sleep in a Group
Kitties are social sleepers by nature. Early in life, they snuggle up to their mom for a nap and frequently play with their littermates. Outdoor cats will also snuggle with family members in the winter to be warm and protected from predators and other outdoor risks.
So, in addition to your body heat, they may enjoy the sound of your heartbeat. They may also like following the rhythm of your breath while you sleep, encouraging them to snuggle up on your lap or chest for a snooze.
In the end, your preferences will be pretty personal, but there are a few things to consider. If you’re a light sleeper, having a cat on your bed may disrupt your sleep and make it more difficult to sink into a deep restorative slumber. Some cats can drag kitty litter onto the bed, raising hygiene problems, and you don’t want to inhale cat fur, especially if you have respiratory issues. Allowing a cat to sleep with a child under the age of five is obviously not safe, and any child could shock a cat and cause it to scratch.