Why Does My Cat Like to Lay on Me?

If you are a new cat owner, you might be surprised to find out that cats are much more affectionate than their reputation suggests. You might even find that your new furry friend loves to use you as a bed. If you are wondering why your cat likes to lay on you, you are in luck. We did some research to find you this answer.

Your cat likes to lay on you for a number of reasons. Some of the most common ones are: 

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  • Achieving a sense of security
  • Being Territorial
  • Bonding 
  • Showing love and Affection
  • Attaining comfort 

Which of these applies to your cat depends on your cat's personality and preferences. We will explain each of these reasons to help you determine what is motivating your cat to use you as a bed. So be sure to continue reading.

A woman sleeping on her bed with her cat lying on her back, Why Does My Cat Like to Lay on Me?

Reasons Your Cat Likes To Lay On You

Let's take a closer look at why your feline buddy chooses you as their comfy bed.

1. Achieving a sense of security

This reason is particularly applicable if your cat is still a kitten or you've had your cat since it was a baby. Like human children, kittens develop a sense of security with those who have taken care of their needs as a baby. Naturally, kittens feel secure with their mother in the beginning but since they leave their mother at a young age, they develop bonds with the people who have taken over the motherhood role.

A cute tabby cat lying on her owners belly while her owner is reading a book

Your cat might sleep lay on you because it remembers the secure feeling you have given it since babyhood. However, this is not to say that adult cats can't feel a sense of security with humans. Since you are your cat's caretaker, it understands that you meet its basic needs and keep it safe.

2. Marking you as part of their territory

Although your cat is a domesticated pet, it has not forgotten the instinct to mark territory. One of the ways that cats mark territory or claim ownership as something or someone as theirs, is through transferring pheromones. If you've ever seen your cat rub its head against something, it is likely transferring pheromones to mark that object or person. When your cat lays on you, it could be a way of marking you as his or hers.

An elderly man lying on the bed while petting his cat

3. Promoting bonding

A woman lying on the couch while petting her cat that's lying on her chest

Laying with you or cuddling with you is a natural way for your cat to strengthen its bond with you. Although your cat is sleeping and not actively engaged in interaction with you, just being close to you increases the feeling of security, affection, and closeness that are important elements of your bond.

In return, cuddling with cats has benefits for humans as well. They report a naturally improved mood as well as lower blood pressure and decreased stress. In this way, the bond created when cats sleep with their owners is strengthened for both cats and their humans.

4. Showing love and Affection

The most straightforward, and probably most likely, reason that your cat chooses to lay on you is that it loves you. Your cat has bonded with you since it became a part of your family and simply wants to be around you. Since cats sleep so much during the day, sleeping on you is a great way to be near you and show affection without having to give up those cat naps.

Cats engage in many behaviors to express that they love you. You might notice your cat approaching you to interact, asking for pets, rubbing against your legs, or meowing at you. This is a cat's way of asking for attention.

An Asian woman holding her cat that's lying on her chest

Your cat might also want to be involved in whatever activity you are doing, both to get your attention and to simply just be around you. It might try to lay on your stuff while you are trying to work, curl up in your lap while you are reading a book, or follow you around the house if you are cleaning.

To learn more about ways your cat might show you it loves you, read our article "23 Signs That Your Cat Loves You".

5. Attaining comfort

A brown and white domestic cat lying on his owner's shoulder while sleeping

You may have found your cat burrowed under the blankets on your bed, hidden in your dresser drawer, or curled up on the floor in a spot where the sun is shining through. Cats enjoy sleeping in places that are warm or cozy, and your natural body heat qualifies you for this important distinction. Your cat likes to lay on you and take a nap because along with all of the other reasons they enjoy you, you are nice and warm. You're comfy!

Why Does My Cat Like To Lay On My Chest?

A cat lying on her owner's shoulder

Cats love feeling warm and safe while they sleep. If your kitty is cuddling up on your chest, he or she is enjoying your body heat and feels safe being near you.

Is It Good If Your Cat Sleeps On You?

If you have allergies or sensitivities to cats, you probably want to avoid letting your cat sleep on you. Otherwise, letting your cat sleep on you is beneficial. It strengthens your bond with your pet and contributes to better mental health.

Does Purring Mean A Cat Is Happy?

While it is true that cats purr when they are happy, it is a common misconception that this is the only emotion they using purring to express. Cats also purr to self-soothe when they are nervous, not feeling well, or in pain. To have a good idea of why your cat is purring, you can observe its body language. If your cat looks relaxed and happy, it probably is. On the other hand, repeatedly licking an area of the body, taking a defensive stance, or cowering and trying to hide will indicate that your cat is hurt or nervous.

Why Do Cats Walk On You When You Sleep?

Cats walk on you while you are sleeping to get your attention and wake you up. Most times, they do this when they are bored and want attention or if they are hungry and want to be fed. There are ways that you can prevent this behavior from occurring, such as tiring your kitty out with some play before bedtime or creating a feeding routine that doesn't require you to wake up in the middle of the night. Before you attempt to change this behavior, however, be sure to rule out any health problems your kitty might have.

Find out more about this behavior by reading our article, "How To Stop My Cat From Waking Me Up At Night (A Step By Step Plan)".

Woman sleeping on her bed with her cat lying on her back

Why Do Cats Get In Your Face While You Sleep?

Like with walking on you, cats might get in your face while you are sleeping to wake you up and get your attention. If your cat does this and then settles down, though, it probably just wants to cuddle next to you to go to sleep.

Do Cats Get Lonely At Night?

Some cats do get lonely at night while others won't. If you have other pets in your home or have provided a variety of ways for your cat to entertain itself while you are sleeping, it will be less likely to be lonely at night. Personality plays a role as well. Cats that are more independent and prefer to spend time alone won't find themselves wishing for company while everyone is sleeping.

Is It Cruel To Shut A Cat In A Room At Night?

Most cat owners think that the act of shutting a cat in a room at night isn't cruel in itself. If you need to confine your cat to a particular room to keep your cat safe and your family comfortable when it's time to sleep, you shouldn't feel like a bad cat parent.

It is important, however, that you transition your kitty to this arrangement with patience and care. If this is a new arrangement, you might notice your cat crying more throughout the night or scratching to get out of the room. Don't punish your cat for this behavior. Likely, he or she is just confused and wants to be able to be around the family at night.

Instead, help your cat adjust by spending some time in the room and then phasing yourself out. Also, be sure that your cat has access to everything it needs for the night. A clean litterbox, food, water, and toys will help your cat feel more at home. Make sure to place the litter box as far away from the food and water as possible.

Where Should Cats Sleep at Night?

Most cat owners allow their cats to sleep with them or wherever the cat chooses. In that case, it's entirely up to the feline to choose their sleeping location. You could buy cat beds and place them in strategic locations, hoping Kitty will take to them. Sometimes that works. Other times, it doesn't.

Try choosing a warm cat bed for cold winter nights.

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A cat cave or "igloo" is a great option for some cats who prefer the added sense of coverage.

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Of course, no matter how fancy the cat bed, you may end up with your cat sleeping in their favorite spot: on top of you. At least now you know why that is happening!

It is almost impossible to pinpoint the exact reason your cat chooses to lay on you when it is sleeping. However, many of the reasons we've discussed have one important factor in common. If your cat is choosing you to serve as its bed, you can be sure that your cat thinks highly of you and enjoys having you around!

6 comments on “Why Does My Cat Like to Lay on Me?

Morehappawness April 7, 2022
Thanks for your article
Margot Lane January 26, 2022
Yes, thank you for the correction!
catloverfromwayback September 25, 2021
My cats lie on me a lot, especially Phoebe. I’m a side sleeper and she plants herself on my ribs or hip all the time. Good thing she’s not as heavy as Daisy ...
Sylvia Snyder April 27, 2021
My cats always sleeps on me
DreamerRose February 2, 2021
I hate to be a pedant, but the correct English is ". . .lie on you." Hens lay eggs, but people and cats lie down. "To lie" means to recline as well as not tell the truth. Past tense of "to lie" meaning to recline is "lay." That's what causes the confusion.

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