As a cat owner, when you tell people that your furry friend loves to curl up on top of you while you sleep, they will often say how adorable that is. But it isn’t always the case, as not all pet owners want to share their beds with their cats! You provide them with their own bed, and they use it right up until the point that you go to bed, and then they follow you. So why does my cat sleep on my bed with me at night? And how can I persuade them to stay in their cat bed instead?
Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Bed with Me?
Let’s start by considering why your cat has decided you are a more comfortable spot to sleep on than their usual beds.
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Bonding with You
One of the most common reasons cat owners become cat beds is simply that your cat is bonding with you. People often think cats can be standoffish, but that’s only an act. Really, they are fluffy softies that want to cuddle up with their favorite human family members and sleep close to them.
Cats show their affection by being with you. Plus, your feline friend can be comforted by the normal sounds of a person, such as breathing or your heart beating. This can be reassuring for them. It also replaces their natural instinct to group together with others in their family to sleep, for comfort and for safety.
You Are a Source of Warmth
We all know that cats like to be in warm places, and a sleeping person generating body heat is a great place to curl up and bask as the heat escapes the bedding. So while there may be affection involved with their choice, it is also some degree of practicality that will be no surprise to cat lovers. You are a warm spot during the night, and they will make the most of that extra warmth to get a good night’s sleep – even if that means you don’t! So while there may be affection involved with their choice, it is also some degree of practicality that will be no surprise to cat lovers.
They Need to Feel Secure
Animals are aware that they are vulnerable when asleep and often take steps to add an extra layer of defense where they can. While cats are naturally nocturnal animals, they will often change their behavior to fit in with their humans if this helps them to feel safe. It can also explain why a cat might just turn up in the middle of the night to sleep with you. It is often because something has scared them, and they want to find somewhere safe to sleep.
Marking Their Territory
Cats are very territorial, and while this eases after being neutered or spayed, those instincts are still a part of a cat’s behavior. They release pheromones from their scent glands to mark their territory, which often includes you. Don’t worry; this is a compliment because, in their feline mind, you are part of their group, and they are just marking you to show this. So it is a form of affection and acceptance.
Hormones May Be Involved
The final reason could be related to hormones, depending on the cat. One study found that cats’ oxytocin levels increased when interacting with their owners. This positive hormone could mean that cats feel happier when interacting with people, which motivates them to come and sleep with you. It literally makes them feel good!
Why Do Cats Sleep In Certain Places?
The other big question around having a furry feline sharing your bed is why they choose to sleep in certain places. Some cats always sleep on your feet, while others wrap around the top of your head. Is there any reason behind why they do this?
On The Chest
One of the most common places for them to sleep is on the chest, which is far from the most comfortable position for you or the cat. Vets believe this behavior in adult cats goes back to when they were kittens. They would lie on their mother and siblings and hear their hearts beating, which comforted them and helped them relax and sleep. They mimic this by sleeping on a person’s chest.
On The Legs
If you’ve ever woken up, turned over, and sent the cat flying across the room because it was sleeping on your legs, you’ll know this is a strange place for cats to sleep. But they do it frequently! This might come from the urge to sit in your lap where they get the best attention and petting. Because you are lying down, this is a little more complicated, so they sleep on your legs instead.
On The Head
Cats often sleep on or around your head, which is quite an intelligent decision. It shows they have realized that arms and legs tend to move during the night, but the head doesn’t go as far. Not only that but around the head is one of the warmest places because we don’t move it as much, so it is a good idea in their minds to sleep there.
Is It A Good Idea to Sleep with Your Cat?
Cat owners all have their views on whether cats in the bedroom is a good idea while you sleep or not. There are some pros and cons to consider with it.
Those in favor of cats in the bedroom point out:
- It can be very calming and help you to get to sleep, especially if you have issues with this or suffer from something like anxiety or depression
- Having a sleeping cat with you can be a great stress reliever
- You can bond with your cat in a way that favors your cat’s preference to be close to you while sleeping
- Their gentle purring can even help you to fall asleep faster, as long as they don’t stir too much during the night and wake you up
However, those who believe that having a closed bedroom door is the best option point out:
- Cats can disrupt sleep because they tend to be active during the night, and you might get a better night’s sleep if they aren’t in the room
- They can track litter box debris into the bedroom
- It can cause allergies and aggravate conditions such as asthma as, according to one recent study, even 20-30% of people without allergies can be sensitive to cats, which can be worse at night.
- It can be dangerous to young children and should be avoided until they are at least five years old.
- They can be hard to move if you need to get up or just want to have a spell without them around.
Final Thoughts on Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Bed
If you enjoy having your cuddly cat sleeping with you and no one has allergies or respiratory problems, there’s no reason not to enjoy having them around. A cat’s average body temperature can help you keep warm in colder months, and they will enjoy being close to you. Just watch that their presence isn’t causing problems with your sleep cycle, and be a little more cautious with children.