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Optimeal® Blog

Optimeal® Blog

Why Does My Cat Sleep On Me?

By Optimeal Team


A well-loved cat is one of the most affectionate companions someone can have. If your cat curls up and snoozes away on your lap like a furry little bowling ball, they may have deemed you the most comfortable piece of furniture in the house.

Let’s dive into the sleeping habits of cats and why they’ve chosen you as their preferred spot.

How Often Do Cats Sleep?

It may seem like your cat only sleeps on you, but you only see a fraction of your cat’s naps. Most cats sleep for about 18 hours a day

 Your cat is likely taking most of their naps in another comfortable spot. The naps they take on you may seem lengthy, but they only make up a small percentage of your cat’s total daily sleep time. When your cat falls asleep on you, it’s likely because they’re working double duty. 

 Sleep is the first order of business. The comfort or warmth you provide makes you the perfect alternative to a bed. You have a lot more to offer, and there are many reasons why your cat thinks you’re the perfect place to sleep.

Cats Are Drawn to Warmth

What does your cat do when you take your bedsheets or your towels out of the dryer? If they’re eager to curl up on your warm, soft linens, your cat probably finds the warmth comforting. It’s the same reason cats often curl up in boxes or other confined spaces. If your cat likes to sleep on you during winter, they’re utilizing your body heat. 

 If you tend to turn the heat down when you aren’t home, be mindful of your cat’s needs while you’re gone. It’s dangerous to leave space heaters unattended, and they may be harmful to pets that can fall asleep too close to the coils. A heated cat bed can give your cat a warm, safe place to sleep when your lap isn’t available.

Your Cat Trusts You

You’ve developed a strong petnership® with your cat throughout the years. Research suggests that if you have a strong bond with your cat, they will likely see you as their equal rather than their “owner.” Your cat perceives you like a family member.

 Cats are crepuscular animals, which means they hunt at dusk and dawn. After sundown, their natural instincts tell them to sleep in a place safe from predators. There’s safety in numbers, which is why your cat’s larger cousin, the lion, lives and travels in a group

 Although your cat likely doesn’t sense any danger in your home at night, their primal brain tells them you’re a good partner. We’re vulnerable when we sleep. Your cat trusts you to keep them safe while they sleep, and they may even watch over you while you sleep. 

Your Cat Loves You

Think about what it feels like to have a nice cuddle session or a long hug with someone you really love. It floods your brain with positive endorphins that make you feel warm and serene. The same happens when your cat snuggles up to someone they love. 

 Cats are naturally inclined to be affectionate. You’ve seen how even ferocious-looking wild cats will eagerly lick each other and nuzzle together when they’re enjoying a calm moment. If your cat tends to lick you, nuzzle you, or knead you (also known affectionately as “making biscuits”), sleeping on you can be another way of expressing their love. 

Your Cat Wants To Hear Your Heartbeat

Kittens sleep closely together, often lying against their mother’s belly. It takes a few weeks for a kitten’s eyes to open, and in that time, they seek comfort from other cues. The smell of their mother and siblings, as well as the sound of their heartbeats, lets a kitten know they are safe. 

 If you adopted or rescued your cat while they were still a kitten, they already had a habit of listening for heartbeats to feel safe. When your cat lays on your chest, they can hear and feel your heartbeat and your chest rising and falling with your breath. 

 Some cats will grow out of this behavior as they mature into adult cats. If you have a very affectionate relationship with your cat and find yourself treating them like a kitten, your cat may retain the habit of sleeping like a kitten.

Your Bed Is a Safer Place To Sleep

Cats like to get comfortable where they can see the whole room. They’re naturally vigilant animals, and they prefer to take the high ground. That’s why your cat winds up on the refrigerator or the bookcase. They’re excellent lookout points that allow your cat to be mindful of their surroundings. 

 If you’ve placed your cat’s bed on the floor, they may not have much interest in it. Most cats will feel too vulnerable to sleep on the floor. They’d rather be elevated, and your bed is likely much further above the ground than their bed. 

How Do I Keep My Cat From Sleeping on Me?

If you or your cat move around a lot in your sleep, sharing the bed at night can be difficult. It’s very unlikely that you could train your cat to share your bed with you in a way that gives you both enough space. Closing your cat out of your bedroom at night may be easier. 

 Some cats may be quicker than others to take the hint. If your cat is persistent, they may loudly cry outside your door to be let in. Don't give in if you’re trying to change your cat’s routine. Give your cat a suitable alternative and reinforce the idea that they should use it. 

 Try providing your cat with a comfortable bed somewhere high up in your home. If it’s warm, comfortable, and secure, your cat may naturally adopt it as their new sleeping place. 

 If they don’t, try adding a shirt, sheet, or towel that smells familiar to your cat. The scent cues will reinforce the idea that the new bed is safe for your cat. 

The Wrap-Up: Your Cat Loves You

If your cat prefers to sleep on or near you, it’s a sign that your petnership® is strong and enduring. Your cat relies on you to help them meet their basic needs and keep them safe. You rely on your cat for unconditional love and companionship. Co-sleeping can reinforce the bond you share. 

 Optimeal®’s super premium cat diet is designed to support your cat’s overall well-being for many years to come. You’ve got a lot of cat naps ahead of you as long as you’re happy to share your lap.




Animal sleep: a review of sleep duration across phylogeny | National Library of Medicine

Pet Fire Safety | American Humane

Study finds kittens bond with their human caregivers like babies do | NOVA | PBS

How do lion prides work? | WILD AND FREE FOUNDATION

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