Why Do Cats Sleep With You? All About This Strange Behavior

Have you ever asked the question “why do cats sleep with you?” If you’re like me and share your bed with a feline companion, you’ll discover all about this strange behavior.

Whether you have one cat or many, you’ll be surprised at some of the reasons these little fur balls like sharing your bed. This post will help better understand your cat’s preference for sleeping next to you rather than on her own.

We’ll also cover how to get your cat to sleep in her her own bed. Plus, lots more. If you’ve ever woken up with your cat on your head or asleep on your tummy this will explain all!

Your Cat Trusts You!

If your cat sleeps next to you on the bed it’s a sign of trust. It shows she feels safe and protected in your company.

This should be taken as a compliment and shows the strength of bond between you and your cat. It proves she trusts you to protect her from harm.

Unlike you, your kitty feels at her most vulnerable when asleep. This natural instinct goes back thousands of years when cats lived in the wild.

Cats were often prey to larger animals and sleeping together provided protection. This why your cat is always on the alert even in a deep sleep.

In fact, your kitty is probably protecting you as well. In her mind, at least one of you will wake up if there’s danger.

Although she couldn’t tackle an intruder it’s nice to think of your cat as a protector! You’ll also find feral cats always sleep together to protect one another.

Cats Are Heat Seekers

why do cats sleep with you-cats are heat seekers

As you may have noticed, cats love warmth! Whether draped over a radiator or sunning themselves in a warm sunny spot, the warmer the better!

Your cat’s body temperature is quite a bit higher than yours at 102 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 98 degrees. This also means it takes a lot more energy to maintain.

In addition, your cat has fewer heat sensors with most found in the facial area. This may explain why your cat loves curling up next to you, especially as the temperature drops.

Warm blankets and duvets as well as cosy cushions give your cat plenty of much needed warmth. In addition, your body heat given off during sleep, also serves to keep your cat toasty warm.

As less calories are burned your cat is able to conserve her energy. In ancient times cats needed to conserve energy for survival.

Whose Bed Is It Anyway?

Cats are highly territorial animals and see your possessions as theirs. This is why there’s every chance your kitty is wondering why your sleeping in her bed!

She’s probably happy to tolerate it though, especially as you provide her with a human hot water bottle! Also, if you’re a soft touch like me, you carefully position yourself in bed so as not to disturb the cat!

I only have one kitty, but can imagine trying to share a bed with two or more! Being gradually pushed on the floor by your fur babies during the night is not always an amusing thought!

Should You Let Your Cat Sleep With You?

There is no right or wrong when it comes to allowing your pets to share the bed. While some cat owners love the company, others find it too disruptive.

Being woken up by a playful cat at 3am isn’t always the best experience! However, if you can tolerate it, you’ll find it can strengthen the bond.

Cats don’t sleep in one block of time like humans. Instead, frequent naps are the norm. This is why your cat won’t sleep throughout the entire night.

Even if she doesn’t wake you up she’ll probably be moving around a lot. It’s quite possible you may wake briefly multiple times before falling asleep again.

Although you may have no memory of it, disrupted sleep can cause daytime drowsiness. Lack of energy and poor focus at work are typical symptoms.

Hygiene is also something you may worry about. Though cats are very clean animals you may not want loose cat hair on your bedding.

In addition, your cat may be carrying unwanted guests in her fur. Ticks and fleas could be hiding on her coat unless you apply regular treatments.

However, despite the negatives of sharing your bed with a cat there are many positives. The soothing sound of a purring cat can help induce sleep and relieve stress.

Also, if you live alone having your cat sleep with you can give feelings of security and comfort. You’d be far less likely to suffer anxiety and depression as a result.

Does Your Cat Sleep On Your Head?

If you’ve ever woken up and found your cat asleep on your head it can be alarming! As funny as it sounds it’s not an unusual occurrence.

The reason for this is odd behavior is warmth. As previously mentioned, cats are avid heat seekers, and your head is where most of your body heat is lost.

This is why many people wear wooly hats on cold days. Keeping your head warm helps keep the rest of your body warm.

Also, it’s quite possible your cat likes the smell of your hair. With so many hair products on the market it’s likely you’ve used one with a scent your kitty likes.

A familiar scent could give a sense of comfort just as it would a child. As I’ve often mentioned, cats have an extraordinary sense of smell that’s fourteen times greater than ours.

Another plausible theory is your pillow provides a soft cosy place to sleep. Cuddling up against your head makes the ideal spot for warmth and security.

Why Cats Sleep On Top Of You.

If you sleep on your back, chances are your kitty will curl up on your chest. This is very common cat behavior and believed to be a way of showing affection.

Also, your cat is marking you with her scent. This is your cat’s way of claiming you and the bed as her territory!

While you should feel flattered, it can be a tad uncomfortable having an eight pound kitty lying on top of you! If you don’t appreciate this show of kitty love you should gently push her off onto the bed covers.

Encouraging Your Cat To Sleep In Her Own Bed

If sharing your bed with a cat isn’t so appealing, you could always encourage her to sleep in her own. This may not be easy though if she’s used to sleeping with you.

However, you can get some very cosy cat beds including those with heated pads. You don’t need to put the bed in another room, but on the floor next to you.

While some cats take to a new bed straight away, chances are she’ll need encouragement. This can be achieved by placing a few favorite treats or toys inside the bed.

If your cat is used to sleeping on the bed you’ll need to give it time and have a lot of patience. Cats always please themselves and can’t be made to do anything they don’t want.

Making your cat’s bed as cosy and inviting as possible will certainly help. Even then, she may still decide to come for a cuddle during the night!

Always praise your cat for good behavior, but don’t yell at her if she prefers your bed. It can take time to train a cat.

Shouting will scare your cat and won’t serve any purpose. In fact it could damage the bond.

Always talk quietly and calmly and praise your kitty if she stays in the bed. Also, remember, there has to be an incentive whether a few treats or toy to distract her.

While cats have their own agenda, it’s still possible to train them just as you’d train dogs. The only difference is dogs are eager to please whereas cats need plenty of treats and don’t care to please!

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has answered your question “why do cats sleep with you?” As you’ve discovered, there are a few reasons including trust, security, warmth, and affection.

If you’re one of the fifty percent of cat owners that allow their feline companions to share the bed you’ll benefit from lower stress levels and the warmth a purring living being can bring.

The downside though can be disturbed sleep. While I sometimes experience drowsiness from being woken by my cat at 3am I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Do you share your bed with a cat? If you’ve enjoyed this post please share. Feel free to share this pin on your “pets” board.

Also, if you have any questions or would like to share experiences leave a comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)

Kathy

4 thoughts on “Why Do Cats Sleep With You? All About This Strange Behavior”

  1. Hi Kathy,
    What a fascinating thing to learn about your cat. My cat likes to sleep with me, and has practically done all the positions you describe. On top of my head, on top of me, and at my feet. But, I didn’t enjoy the company as much as she did. I am a light sleeper anyway, and with the cat lying on top of me, it made my sleeping impossible. I had a hard time getting her into her own bed, but finally I think she just gave up and started sleeping in it. I wish I had known about the heating pad idea!
    Thanks for this great article, and teaching me about my cat!

    Reply
    • Hi Chas, thank you for sharing your story:) I think my cat has also slept in all of the various positions as well! However, I’m lucky as I fall asleep easily and only wake up if he starts pulling my hair or clawing my scalp lol! It’s good that your cat has finally got used to her new bed, and yes, heating pads are a good incentive:) Thanks for dropping by:)

      Reply
  2. What an interesting article! I love it. I had a sleeping problem since high school. So I would love to sleep with cats(if I have one) together to help with my insomnia and reduce stress from work. But I have to make sure that s/he won’t bring unwanted guests to my bed, causing both of us to suffer from bug bites.

    I wonder how often you bathe or clean your cats since you sleep with them every night? Is it like every night before bed or once a week? Your answer might help us to draw a clear picture. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Matt Lin

    Reply
    • Hi Matt, glad you enjoyed this post:) Yes, having a cat sleep next to you definitely reduces stress, and may help with insomnia. As cats are clean animals you almost never need bath them unless they fall into a muddy puddle! However, to reduce the chances of unwanted guests you should apply flea and tick treatments on a regular basis. I use a spot on treatment which is is quick and easy. Thanks for stopping by:)

      Reply

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