Why does my cat sleep on me?

Snoozing is possibly a cat's favorite pass-time. They sleep so much that you wonder whether they are ever truly awake. When you sleep, though, this is no different. Why do cats like to sleep on top of people?

Cats love a good snuggle, but why do they like to sleep on their human?
Cats love a good snuggle, but why do they like to sleep on their human?  © Ilze / Unsplash (Left), Adam Kuylenstierna / Unsplash, Chris Abney / Unsplash (Right), & TAG24 Edit

Should you always let sleeping cats lie, or is it okay to sometimes turn over at night?

After all, they do seem intent on sleeping upon our chests, on our pillows, in awkward circles within the bends of our knees. It's cute, but it can be quite uncomfortable, so is it OK to disturb their slumber?

TAG24's cat guide will explain exactly why your cat sleeps on you, what the obsession with your pillow is all about, and why it seems to know when you're sick!

Why does my cat like to sleep on me every night?

Cats have very different sleeping patterns to humans, snoozing far more hours than they prowl, so why do they seem to come to your bedside at nighttime? There are many possible reasons why a cat will sleep on top of you each and every night, some of which are adorably lovely and others of which are a little bit selfish.

Here are a few reasons why your cat sleeps on you every night

  • It's about love: If you have established a close and happy bond with your cat, it will love and respect you. You make it feel safe and it makes you feel happy, so it will sleep on you because of that emotional connection, affection, and because of the trust you have built.
  • It's about security: Cats feel safe with you, and imagine that you feel safe with them. That trust means that they will feel secure and safe sleeping nearby, and you may also find that they are guarding you while you sleep.
  • It's about ownership: You are theirs, and no one else's. They are somewhat marking their territory, giving you their scent and labelling you as part of their tribe. You might notice that they are stretching their claws and rubbing their head against you, spreading the sweat-like substance that marks you as their property.
  • It's about warmth and comfort: Cats are lazy fellows and will enjoy a good sleep. When they're enjoying this sleep, they're also enjoying comfort. You are, to them, two key things: Warm and soft.

So, to summarize, cats like to sleep on their humans because they are comfy, they are safe, they are theirs, and they are affectionate. It's simple, really!

Why does my cat sleep on my pillow with me?

The reason why your cat might sleep on your pillow with you, or without you, is a combination of some of the above-mentioned theories. Pillows are comfortable, they smell like you and can be made their "territory", and it can be considered a safe and secure place.

There are few things more soft and warm than a pillow, and pillows are also located at the head of the bed where they get a very good view of the room. As a result, the heat, the familiarity, the security, and the happy connotations your cat may have with you and your sleeping time may explain your cat's habit of sleeping on the pillow.

Why does my cat sleep on me when I am sick?

This will possibly be the most adorable answer you'll ever read: a cat sleeps with you when you're sick because it wants to protect you. They can tell when you are sick but won't understand exactly what is happening, nor how serious the affliction is. If you are sick, you are weak. If you are weak, you need protection. Cats are literally trying to make sure that you stay alive.

Cats will often purr when they sleep near their humans. It's a sign of love and trust.
Cats will often purr when they sleep near their humans. It's a sign of love and trust.  © Christopher Ryan / Unsplash

Love leads cats to lie on you!

Love and affection is a wonderful answer to any question, and certainly one that can apply to all the questions we have posed today. When a cat sleeps, it is vulnerable, and this is something that they're not particularly keen on. As a result, a habit of sleeping on you or near you indicates a trusting and loving relationship.

Part of your cat's night is probably spent watching out for you, protecting you from nightly terrors, and at other times it is trusting you to do the same. All of this makes you ponder, though, do cats think us dumb for sleeping so long and so deeply?

Cover photo: Ilze / Unsplash (Left), Adam Kuylenstierna / Unsplash, Chris Abney / Unsplash (Right), & TAG24 Edit

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