Donate Sponsor

Discover why your cat likes to sleep on or next to you, and how you can get them to sleep in their own bed instead

For some cat owners, having their sleeping cat pressed up against them is one of the joys of sharing life with a feline friend. However, it’s understandable that others may not be so keen on the discomfort of having a cat draped across their head, sat on their chest or generally taking up space on the bed.

Cats sleep for 12-18 hours a day and often like to switch up their sleeping locations – one theory is that this is a behaviour inherited from their African wildcat ancestors to help keep the risk of parasites low. Therefore, many pet cats may choose to sleep on you from time to time as it’s a comfy spot for a cat nap.

black cat laying on fleece blanket on woman's lap while she sits on the sofa

Three reasons your cat sleeps on you

  1. Warmth
    A top reason most cats will choose to sleep on you is because they can share your body heat to keep warm. Warmth is often a main requirement for a perfect sleeping spot, which is why many cats will stretch out in patches of sunlight or close to radiators. Your body is like a big hot water bottle for them, so they’ll love to snuggle up to you to keep cosy.
  2. Bonding
    Cats are usually quite independent and solitary creatures, so if they are happy to cuddle up to you, it shows that they trust you and see you as a friend. Cats who are bonded to each other will often sleep physically touching or intertwined with each other, and the same goes for cats and their humans.
  3. Because you’re in ‘their’ bed
    Human beds make great cat beds because they are comfortable, warm and raised off the ground, which cats like because it gives them a good view of their surroundings. It also usually comes with a built-in hiding space under the bed which helps them feel safe in case of any danger. Therefore, the reason they’re sleeping on you in bed could be because you’ve taken up all the room in their favourite sleeping spot and so they have no other choice but to get comfy on top of you.

Why does my cat sleep on my head?

When you’re asleep in bed, it’s likely that your head is the most stationary part of your body, so your cat may choose it as a good place to sleep where they won’t be disturbed. It could also be that your face is the only part of your body with exposed skin, and so they want to get close to it for the tactile feel or warmth. If they’re not keen on stepping on the bed covers, then your head might also seem more safe and accessible for them.

Why does my cat sleep on my legs/feet?

When you’re sat down, perching on your lap gives your cat a great chance to receive some strokes, chin rubs and head scratches from you, making it an ideal spot if they’re looking for some fuss.

Why does my cat sleep on my chest?

As well as being a warm and comfortable spot for a nap, sleeping on your chest is also a prime location for receiving strokes and fuss from you.

Why does my cat sleep on my pillow?

Your soft, cushioned pillow is the most comfortable part of the bed for your cat to sleep on, so they may choose it as their preferred spot. Plus, if you’re still in the bed or have only recently left it, the pillow is likely to still be nice and warm and have your familiar, comforting scent on it.

long-haired ginger cat laying on bed

Is it safe for my cat to sleep on my bed with me?

It’s perfectly safe for your cat to sleep on the bed with you, but if you have an allergy to cats then you might find it more comfortable to keep them out of your bedroom. Find more advice about cats and allergies. We would recommend keeping cats out of any babies’ or young children’s bedrooms for their safety. Find more advice about cats and babies.

How can I stop my cat sleeping on me?

Of course, the easiest way to stop your cat from sleeping on you at night is to shut them out of the bedroom. However, particularly persistent cats may still keep you awake by meowing or scratching outside the bedroom door, demanding to be let in. To encourage your cat to sleep elsewhere instead, provide them with lots of other sleeping options around the house. The perfect cat bed is comfortable, warm, private and ideally off the ground, giving them a good view of their surroundings – this is why they often like your bed! Try placing something with your cat’s scent on it, such a blanket or pillowcase they’ve previously slept on, in their bed so that it smells familiar and more enticing to them. Cats often like to regularly change their sleeping locations, so give them several options to choose from. Find more advice for providing the perfect cat bed.

Why does my cat twitch in their sleep?

Even while they’re snoozing, cats like to remain alert to what’s going on around them, so you may notice the occasional ear or tail twitch as they listen out for danger. When your cat is in a deep sleep you may notice their paws or mouth twitching – and this is likely to be a sign that they are dreaming.

Find more advice on cats and sleep.

Find a Cat
About us