It doesn't matter how comfortable the sofa is or how much kitty litter you have in the house; Your cat's favorite place to sleep is right on your lap. If it's not in your lap, it's wrapped around your feet, in the crook of your arm, or even on your shoulder or head.
Not all cats like to be petted, but sleeping on people is common feline behavior. These affectionate cats defy the old stereotype that cats are smug and aloof. It shows that cats are as friendly as they are social, and cats that sleep with humans are not hard to find.
Understanding why your cat prefers her body to any other sleeping surface will give you insight into her thoughts, instincts, and feelings about your relationship.
Before you can guess why your cat is sleeping on you, it's important to understand some facts about cat sleep.
Facts about your cat's sleep
Most house cats are perfectly capable of successfully pursuing small game, and their inner wildcat tells them not to sleep when the opportunity presents itself.
While humans get (hopefully) eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, your cat's sleeping habits are different. Instead of resting all at once, cats take multiple naps throughout the day and night.
These naps can add up to 16 hours a day, but few of those hours are spent in deep sleep. This is because cats prefer to keep their sleep light. By not allowing themselves to fall asleep, cats remain reasonably alert. A loud noise or light touch will wake them up, which is exactly how they like it.
This penchant for light sleep comes from your cat's natural instincts, inherited from distant wild ancestors. It also has to do with your cat's unique position in the food chain, both as predator and prey.
As a predator, your cat doesn't want to miss out on devouring its next meal. It doesn't matter that the food comes out of a bag and is delivered directly to the bowl. His instinct is to use his sharp teeth, claws, and athletic ability to hunt prey. Most house cats are perfectly capable of successfully pursuing small game, and their inner wildcat tells them not to sleep when the opportunity presents itself.
On the other hand, your cat is also prey. Even with those creepy claws, house cats are small and vulnerable. No one is more vulnerable than when asleep, and your cat knows this by taking light naps, keeping her at least partially alert to potential threats. It's a survival technique your cat doesn't need when napping in your living room, but it can't be ignored.
With this understanding of how your cat sleeps, you can have a more informed view of how she chooses her resting place.
Why does your cat sleep on you?
The time your cat sleeps next to or on top of you may be the only time you fall into a deep sleep.
One of the main reasons your cat needs to sleep with you has to do with her position as prey. Sleep makes your cat vulnerable. However, having a trusted guardian is one way to stay safe even while you sleep.
Your cat may sleep on top of you because it depends on you to stay alert. His humanity will prevent potential threats from getting too close. And if intimidation doesn't work, your cat will know that you'll at least sound the alarm and give him time to run or fight.
The time your cat sleeps next to or on top of you may be the only time you fall into a deep sleep. Consider it both a compliment and a commitment to make sure your cat gets the good night's sleep he needs.
warmth and comfort
Hopefully, your house cat won't have to deal with freezing temperatures, but the need to stay warm is a natural survival instinct.
In addition to predators, cats used to have to deal with weather and temperature. Despite all that fluff, extreme cold can be just as deadly as a larger carnivore. To stay alive, cats had to find ways to stay warm.
Hopefully, your house cat won't have to deal with freezing temperatures, but the need to stay warm is a natural survival instinct. A heating pad, radiator, or sunny spot on the floor are all good options. However, they are not as good as your body heat. There's nothing like a warm lap to ward off a possible cold.
There is also the added advantage that humans are naturally comfortable. Our soft clothing, comfortable body parts, and just the right amount of body heat make us great sleeping surfaces when it comes to staying warm and comfortable.
Sleeping with a loved one for a nap during the day or for extended periods at night may be a cat's way of expressing all those loving feelings.
The built-in knowledge of how to stay alive occupies a large part of your cat's brain, but that's not all he thinks about. Contrary to what some believe, cats are generally friendly and affectionate. Of course, there are differences when it comes to how cats express these feelings of friendship, but many show love through physical contact.
Sleeping with a loved one for a nap during the day or for extended periods at night may be a cat's way of expressing all those loving feelings. They want you to know that they care about you, and sleeping inside you makes them feel good too.
If your cat loves you, chances are he considers you part of his territory, too. Cats are territorial creatures and everything, including people, objects, and places, is fair game when it comes to making claims.
Fortunately, cats don't always mark their territory with urine. With a strong sense of smell, cats highly value olfactory markers. They rub against furniture and your legs to spread their scent, and sleeping on you does the same.
By spending a few quiet hours on your chest, your cat is successfully scent marking you. This lets other pets or animals know that you are "taken." There is also the more obvious benefit of preventing you from interacting with other people. It's hard to play with the dog when a cat sleeps peacefully on your chest. It is part possession and part praise.
If your cat chooses to sleep on top of you, consider this normal feline behavior. You can also give yourself a pat on the back for maintaining a trusting relationship with your feline friend. There are several benefits of sleeping with a cat, but we cannot ignore the negative side either.
Sometimes you must be able to turn around and go to the bathroom at any time before your bladder bursts. Your cat's twilight sleep cycle can also keep him awake if you allow him access to your bedroom at night.
The bottom line is that every cat/human relationship is different. I love you or notAllow your cat to sleep on you for the entire night and night.It is a personal choice. But whatever you choose, remember to consider your cat's natural sleeping habits in relation to your own sleep needs. It's also a good idea to think about the long-term relationship you want to have with your pet.