Why your cat sleeps on you

Learn why your cat is sleeping on you, and what this could mean for how your cat feels about you!

7th February 2024

Have you ever gone for an afternoon nap, only to discover when you woke up that your cat was sleeping peacefully on your stomach? If your kitty's favourite sleeping location is you, you may be wondering why this is the case.

In this article, we’ll explore what it means if your cat sleeps on you, so you can better understand why your lap is preferable over that brand-new luxury bed you bought.

If your cat’s sleeping behaviour has left you feline curious and you want answers, we’ve got you covered.

Reasons why your cat sleeps on you

As a cat owner, you’ll notice that your kitty has some strange sleeping habits. If one of those habits is to make oneself comfortable on your chest, stomach, or lap and have a power nap, then you may be questioning why. 

Here, we look at the main reasons why your cat sleeps on you.

Feels safe and secure

If your cat is sleeping pressed up against you, it may be because it feels secure next to you and wants to let you know it feels safe. If they feel safe, they’re more likely to let their guard down and relax. 

In the wild, cats are vulnerable when they sleep. So in a home setting, you’re acting as their safe space and offering them a form of protection. Luckily for you, the only wildlife you’re protecting them from at home is what’s on the television!

Wants to bond with you and show affection

Once cats have bonded with you, they can be incredibly affectionate and enjoy being as close to you as possible – especially when they’re tired. If your cat is sleeping on you, it’s because they feel comfortable in your presence.

In the same way kittens use each other as pillows, known as pillowing, your cat will take a lot of satisfaction in being pressed up against you. Your lap is also the perfect place to position itself if it wants to be fussed.

Wants to feel warm

Just as humans cuddle up together for warmth, cats also like to get in on the action and enjoy some of that natural human body heat. Other popular warm spots for cats include a sunny spot, windowsill, or by a radiator, but who can beat cosying up next to your loving owner?

Warmth helps cats to relax and have a more restful sleep, so sleeping near you is actually beneficial to their health as well as being comfortable.

Being territorial

They may look cute and cuddly, but cats can be very territorial animals, releasing pheromones produced by their scent glands to claim their territory. So, when they’re pressed up against you on the sofa and rubbing their body on yours, they’re actually marking their scent on you. But don’t worry, it’s a good thing.

Cats in the wild do the exact same thing with other cats in their group. Welcome to the gang!

Feels like being social

Cats are social sleepers and like to sleep next to other cats and siblings. If this isn’t an option, then you involuntarily step up to the plate. If a cat is sleeping on your chest, it’s likely because it enjoys the sound of your beating heart and feels safe.

Also, a cat’s oxytocin levels are higher when bonding and being social, which is another reason why your body is the puuurfect pillow.

Cat sleeping on man's chest

Does this mean something?

When all is said and done, what it means if your cat sleeps on you is that it’s happy and enjoying your company. A cat’s sleep is incredibly important and re-energising, hence the phrase catnaps, which is why they want to feel as comfortable as possible when they’re asleep.

A cat in the wild will always need to be aware of its surroundings and its senses are heightened. So, when it wants to sleep, it’s still used to being ready to defend itself at any given point. Pressed up against you, it will feel protected and be able to sleep undisturbed.

If you’re concerned by your cat's sleeping behaviour or their over-reliance on sleeping near you becomes an issue, you may want to speak to your vet.

While in most cases, sleeping would not normally be a symptom of an underlying health condition, we believe every cat should be covered by a cat insurance policy to help cover any vets bills should the worst happen.

Why is my cat sleeping on my head or chest?

When it comes to where on your body your cat chooses to rest its head, there are a few different reasons why it chooses to sleep on your head or chest.

Sleeping on your head – possible reasons:

  • They want to feel the warmth from your head.
  • It’s the most stationary part of your body when you sleep, so you’re less likely to disturb them.
  • Before and after sleep, they may want to share eye contact. Cats often communicate with their eyes, so sleeping on your head may make them more calm.
  • They might like the smell of your hair.

Sleeping on your chest – possible reasons:

  • The rhythm of your heartbeat can be linked to the bonds they made with their mothers and siblings as a kitten. Sleeping on your chest could remind them of these happy times.
  • The sound of your heartbeat helps to keep them calm and at ease.
  • Seeking warmth and wanting to feel a connection.

So, now you know why your cat sleeps on you, it’s likely you’ll want to hear about additional cat advice...

Read our cat blog!

If you found this article useful, why not visit our cat blog for more news, insight and opinion pieces?


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Cat insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your cat gets injured or falls ill.


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