Why Does My Cat Have To Sleep Touching Me?

You might head to your bedroom after a long, stressful day, and wonder why your cat is sprawled sideways across your bed, sound asleep.

Why do they insist on resting those paws on the same pillow your head lies on every night?

Maybe there couldn’t be anything more comfortable to you than a warm, furry creature huddled close by your side and you take your cat up on that invitation.

However, in some cases, our cats approach us and start laying down and sleeping on us or next to us in the weirdest sleeping positions.

Sometimes, the simple security offered by knowing our cats are resting safely at our feet is all we need.

But what are the possible reasons behind your cat sleeping while touching you?

Let’s dive in.

Why Your Cat Sleeps So Close to You

First of all, let’s talk about your pet’s desire to sleep in your room.

Why would he prefer your bedroom to say, the extra space provided by the living room couch?

Why would he rather have a crowded bed in a smaller bedroom as opposed to a couch in a large living room all to himself?

kitten sleeping on lap

Imagine a pack of wild wolves for a minute, resting comfortably in their cozy little den.

It isn’t much more than a hole in the ground, or a small cave.

This cozy little den offers a convenient escape from unknown dangers that may lurk out in the open.

Not only does it provide consistent, reliable shelter, but it is also enclosed on three sides and easily guarded.

Wolf cubs grew up calling this small den-enclosure home, feeling safe and secure while father, and sometimes mother, would hunt for food.

Wolves, and their ultimately descending cats, are social animals and prefer the safety and security of social contact.

Your bedroom is a lot like a wolf den, only on a larger scale.

Your cat feels the natural instinct to sleep close to you because he or she feels safe and secure.

What about sleeping on your bed right next to you then? Why does your cat always have to be either touching or very close to you, instead of opting for his own space?

Once again, all you have to do is consider natural wolf behavior in order to understand this desire. 

When they are very young kittens, warmth is absolutely vital for survival.

These tiny kittens will sleep huddled against both each other and mama all night, waiting until about 8 weeks to even venture outside the den at all.

You are the leader of your pet’s social group and the head of the family.

You ensure safety and security or at least provide that feeling.

You also give off body heat, and your bed is both soft and comfortable.

You may even have a kitten who likes to burrow under your covers.

Why Does My Cat Sleep on Me and Not My Husband?

Sometimes, cats choose one person over another due to familiarity and comfortability.

Is it possible that you spend more time around your cat while your husband is, for example, away at work?

Have you known your cat longer, and do you spend more time playing/training (with subsequent rewards) during the day?

Any cat enthusiast knows cats have a very good sense of smell, but not everyone knows how extreme this sense really is.

cat hand sleeps

Your cat is able to discern individual components of the perfume you might be wearing, as well as several chemicals the glands all over our bodies secrete.

Your cat might prefer you to your husband, or vice versa, based upon your scent.

Cats can read our body language extremely well, often better than we do ourselves.

This is a natural method of communication for them and doesn’t require much thought on their part. 

What is different about your body language? Emotional cues might as well be spoken words to them.

Why Does My Cat Sleep At My Feet?

One theory involves protection.

Wild wolves needed to be on guard at all times, so why wouldn’t cats inherit this instinct?

A placement at your feet provides a strong strategic defense or at least affords the ability to notice any potential danger easily.

When we hug our pets or sleep with our arms draped over them, they might feel as if they’ve lost their defensive ability to flee or retreat.

Even though there might not be any kind of rational danger, some cats instinctively don’t like to feel confined while others happily go into their crate.

Your cat might look for a cooler spot to sleep, which isn’t necessarily right next to your torso/core.

Sleeping at your feet still affords protection.

Some claim older kittens will naturally sleep either at their mother’s tail or to the side in an effort to avoid being rolled on.

Many humans, especially children, want to sleep cuddled with their arms draped over their furry pet.

While younger cats or kittens seem to prefer this, it tends to make adult cats uncomfortable more often than not. 

Unless trained otherwise, most cats naturally want to avoid direct eye contact which often means keeping a healthy distance from our human faces.

Your cat might lick your face and even tolerate an owner’s kisses, but this has a different meaning for our pets.

To understand why simply look again back at nature.

Many animals, especially larger predatory animals, will use their mouths as weapons.

6 Cat Sleeping Positions With Their Owner

How exactly does your cat sleep with you? Can you count all of the different positions you’ve seen your cat sleeping in?

To our pets, cat sleeping positions often mean more than simple comfort.

Have you ever wondered what your pet may be gaining out of a certain sleeping position?

Cuddled Inbetween Legs

This can mean two separate things.

First, your cat feels comfortable, secure, and safe huddled next to you and the body warmth you provide.

Second, this position with the back most exposed helps hide those vulnerable areas to injury and also provides warmth while allowing your cat to cover his nose with his bushy tail (one reason northern breeds do this).

On Back, Paws in the Air

Your cat is probably seeking a cooler position to sleep. In many breeds, the belly isn’t covered with the same amount of fur.

cat person sleeping

This is a very vulnerable position for cats, so your pet would have to be very comfortable.

In the wild, many predators will attack their opponent’s neck, and it is difficult to defend from that position.

My female Maine Coon (who loves cuddling) rarely shows her belly, but is totally comfortable with it when sleeping.

That being said, she’s never on her back when she’s sleeping on me.

Under the Blanket

Your pet might just simply be feeling cold, and it is more comfortable underneath the blanket.

If your pet feels secure enough in your home to dispense with any caution, there is no reason to be on guard.

Most cats aren’t actually thinking ‘I need to protect this room at night’, but rather feeling the instinctive urge.

Depending on how you’ve raised your cat, he or she might feel you’ve adopted the role of protector and there is no reason for him/her to.

You are allowed to sleep underneath the blanket. Maybe this is a position of value, and sleeping underneath it is almost like a privilege.

On Your Neck/Face

This is much more common in younger kittens.

We can theorize that because young kittens haven’t yet developed any kind of fear response or caution, they have no reason to fear your teeth.

On a side note, this is an ideal time to begin socialization training for that reason. 

This is a strange new environment, and your kitten also simply wants to be close to you.

Kittens aren’t large enough to take on a protective role.

On Your Pillow

Upon returning to your bedroom, do you constantly find your cat on your pillow?

He must know you are going to make him move, so why do this at all?

Consider the obvious comfort that a pillow provides, compared to a mattress.

It would be like a fluff of air the size of your cat’s body.

Your pillow carries your scent. You might leave tiny skin cells on it every night, and the scent, in general, may offer comfort.

Studies exist that do show the pleasure center of a cat’s brain is stimulated by these scents.

Our cats will often want to stay as close to these scents as possible.

Rationalizing cat behavior based on decisions a human might make is often a mistake since cats often don’t use the reasoning we do.

That being said, sleeping at the head of your bed might seem like the most valuable spot because you are the leader of this family and that is your spot.

Sprawled Across the Bed

Your cat doesn’t exactly understand the concept of space (when it comes to stuff like this), and simply decides to go for comfort.

Sprawling out flat offers your kitten a chance to cool down, or at least not overheat.

Let me know how your cat likes to sleep. Our furry companions can assume the stranger sleeping positions, that’s for sure.