Why Do Cats Like to Sleep on Top of You?

Tom Matteo

Our Persian mix, Mitz, was fond of jumping up onto any family member whenever they’d sit or lie down, making that person his makeshift bed until the entire household retired for the night. We cat lovers know that this is pretty common behavior for felines, but why do so many cats like to lay upon your lap or chest and purr themselves to sleep? Does feeling safe and secure come into play? Does snuggling with you ease your cat’s mind, knowing nothing bad can happen if he's near you?

Cats Love Warmth

Have you ever noticed how your cat loves to catch the first ray of sunlight in the morning? Whether it's on the floor or in the window box, your cat is right there soaking it all up. This is because cats prefer resting in warm places—and who doesn't? When the sun sets and that warmth is gone, a cat could find some heat alongside a radiator, but it’s far more comfy on top of you when you’re in your favorite recliner or when you’re snuggled beneath the bedcovers. So, these are the moments when your feline friend will most likely seek you out. I remember in my youth how my cat would nestle up against me in my bed; he felt safe with me and I felt safe with him. A wonderful feeling, indeed!

Cats Want to Get Comfy

Cats sleep around 15 hours a day or more, so naturally they're looking for a comfortable spot to catch 40 (or 400 winks!). Whether it be on a sofa or stretched out in a laundry basket, cats require a soft and cozy place to relax. Imagine how cozy you feel to a cat who discovers you in bed under a number of plush blankets. Your belly immediately becomes the coziest place on earth, far superior to a mere pillow or cat bed.

Your Cat Adores You (Believe It or Not!)

If you're like most people, you're typically out most of the day (or night) working. When you finally return home, all your fur-ball buddy wants to do is be by your side and follow you around until you sit or go to bed so he can climb on top of you. Why? Because your cat loves you. All that head butting of your face, all those purrs and kisses; they add up to one thing—adoration! So when your cat shows these signs of affection (because most cats cannot speak...yet) and when he jumps on you to make his bed, give him a little pat and a pet to lull him to sleep and return the affection.

To Feel Safe and Secure

Everyone and everything craves and needs security.Your cat is no exception! When your cat is in search of a place to sleep, he not only wants comfort and warmth, he also wants a place that is secure—and that place is YOU! No dangerous predators are around when his master is there, so kitty dreams come easily for your cat when he has nothing to fear.

Your Soothing Sounds and Scents

The natural sounds of your body may be soothing to your cat when he sleeps on top of you. The steady rhythm of your heartbeat and breath as well as the rise and fall of your inhaling and exhaling help lull your cat to sleep. Your smell is also pleasant as your cat associates it with you and the care, companionship, and safety you provide him. In short, many of your natural bodily sounds and smells may be relaxing to your kitty—though perhaps not ALL of your sounds and smells. I could go into detail here, but I'll refrain!

Your Cat Plays Favorites!

It could be that you move less in bed while asleep than other family members. Or, your cat may feel particularly safe from harm around you. Whatever may be the reason, your cat loves sleeping on top of you, so cherish the moment while it's here. Cats are known to switch up their routine, so they may look elsewhere for some other warm, comfortable pillow on a bed that is not you!