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Cats and Bed: Why Your Cat Loves Sleeping On You

Jan 26 2023.

Have you ever cozied up under the covers, only to have your cat climb into bed and plonk themselves on top of you for a nap? Every cat owner is probably familiar with this scene. Despite providing our furry friends with plenty of perches and places to snooze, cats still love to sleep in bed with or on top of their humans. 

So, why does your cat love to sleep on you? Below, Cat in a Flat uncovers the answers to this mystery! 

cat asleep on bed

How do cats sleep?

The way cats sleep is very different from how we humans sleep. While most people are awake during the day and asleep at night, our fur friends spend nearly 70% (or 16 hours) of their 24-hour cycle asleep! There are many reasons why cats sleep so much, but also big differences in the type of sleep they experience as compared to humans. 

It’s an amazing fact about cats that they are primed to go from sleep to complete wakefulness almost instantly. This is because most of your kitty’s snooze time is dedicated to light sleep. In the wild, this would help them to be aware of predators and other dangers while still getting their Zzzzs. However, the rest of their sleeping time (around 40%) is deep REM sleep—which is when your furry friend tends to dream and is much harder to wake up. 

Why does my cat sleep on me?

Now that we know the how of your fur friend’s nap patterns, let’s find out the why for their sleeping habits! There are quite a few reasons why your cat might prefer your bed, and you, to sleeping on their own.

Because you’re warm

You’ve probably noticed that Mr Whiskers is a bit fixated with getting warm. Whether it’s snoozing next to the radiator, burrowing under a pile of laundry, or dozing in the midday sun, our fur friends love heat. This is one of the main reasons why your cat likes to sleep on or near you: because you’re warm. Your body heat makes you the ideal napping location for your warmth-obsessed kitty. 

Because your cat feels safe

Sleep is a vulnerable time for cats, especially when they are in deep REM sleep. If your fur friend were in the wild, they would seek out the safest possible place to rest between hunts. So, why does your cat sleep on you? Because in the home the safest most secure place for your kitty is next to or on top of you! Take it as a compliment that Mr Whiskers trust you enough to snooze on you. 

Because your cat is bonding

While felines may have a reputation of being standoffish and unfriendly, this is actually not the case. The fact that your cat will even follow you to the bathroom is a sure sign as any that they’re not aloof creatures! Despite the common perception, cats are both social and affectionate animals, and they love bonding with their humans. So, the next time your cat climbs into bed and uses you as their personal pillow, just think of it as their way of saying they love you and want to spend quality time with you.  

Why does my cat sleep on my head, chest, or lap? 

Does your cat prefer sleeping on a specific part of your body? Here are some reasons why your kitty might choose your head, or another body part, as their favorite napping spot. 

Why your cat sleeps on your head

The simple explanation for why your cat likes to sleep on your head is that it’s warm. Your head releases a steady heat throughout the night, warming your pillow as well. Is it any wonder your kitty finds this to be the perfect sleeping locale? 

Why your cat sleeps on your chest

The chest is another popular location for felines who consider their owners to be living cat beds. One of the reasons your cat might like sleeping on your chest is that they are soothed by the rhythmic sound of your heartbeat and breathing. 

Why your cat sleeps on your lap

Whether you’re in bed or sitting in a chair, your lap is probably an ideal spot for Mr Whiskers to nap. Why does your cat enjoy sleeping on your lap? It’s both because it’s warm and it’s the ideal spot for extra scratches and cuddles! 

cat under blanket

Should I let my cat sleep in bed with me? 

There are varied opinions on this topic, but what it really comes down to is personal choice. As with anything, there are pros and cons to allowing your cat to sleep in the bed with you.

Pros of letting your cat sleep with you:

  • Bonding: As we mentioned above, your cat sleeps on you to bond with you. The same idea goes for letting your cat sleep in your bed. This can strengthen the bond between you and Mr Whiskers. 
  • Reduced Stress: Sleeping with your cat can also reduce stress and give you a sense of ease and comfort. One of the reasons cats purr is to show pleasure, and having your purring kitten in bed next to you can be a very soothing experience. 
  • Warmth: The most obvious benefit of letting your cat sleep in your bed is that it’s warm and cozy. Cats are wonderful for mental health, and spending time with your kitty in a relaxing environment can have huge benefits for both of you. 

Cons of letting your cat sleep with you:

  • Disrupted Sleep: Letting your cat sleep on you or in your bed may provide them with quality Zzzzs, but unfortunately this might not be the case for you! Because of they are nocturnal by nature, your furry friend may get up frequently in the night to play or walk around. 
  • Discomfort: Not only can Mr Whiskers disrupt your sleep by getting up in the night, but if your cat insists on sleeping on top of you this can be very uncomfortable. Since felines love sleeping as close to their humans as possible, your freedom of movement may be restricted by your fur friend’s chosen snooze spot. 
  • Hygiene: While our furry friends are generally finicky about cleanliness, this doesn’t mean it’s always hygienic to welcome your cat right into bed with you. Not only can your kitty track in litter, but outdoor cats may potentially carry diseases too. One way you can help combat an unhygienic sleep environment is by maintaining an essential cat care routine

How to sleep with my cat in bed

If you feel sleeping with your cat is too disruptive to your nightly shuteye, here are a few tips to making bedtime with Mr Whiskers better. 

  • Play with your cat before bed. This helps them use up excess energy so that they sleep more during the night. 
  • Leave your door ajar so your fur friend can come and go without disturbing your sleep.
  • Hang a birdfeeder outside your window so your cat has something to keep them entertained. This stops them from waking you up early in the morning when you’re trying to get quality sleep. 
  • If your kitty does wake you, don’t reward them by giving them attention or cuddles. This will only encourage the disruptive behavior. 
  • Encourage your fur friend to sleep on their own by investing in a calming cat cave bed. Place it near and at the same height as your bed so your kitty still feels like they’re close to you—even in their own cat bed. 

Would you like to learn more about your cat’s mysterious behaviors? Find out why cats loves boxes, what your cat’s tail is telling you, and more on the Cat in a Flat blog!

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  • cat behaviour
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