Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Bed

cat laying down in owners arm for bed time cuddles
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It’s a tale as old as time. You fall in love with a furry face on the shelter website, and a short time later, you and your human family members officially become cat owners. Because you’re a good guardian to your brand new feline friend, you enthusiastically buy all the adorable supplies your newest family member might need, including an unimaginably soft, fuzzy bed you wish you could nap in. Then, your new family member decides that instead of sleeping in their brand-new bed, they would rather sleep in yours.

You might not mind your purring cat insinuating itself into your nighttime routine, but you might find yourself wondering why on earth it has decided to ignore the cat-sized bed you just purchased just for it. 

Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Bed?

While the answer to any question relating to cats could be “because cats do what they want,” there’s more than one possible reason your cat has decided to join you in your bed at night. Reasons for your cat’s behavior could be a combination of natural instincts, affectionate gestures, and the need for warmth and security.

It’s Warm and Cozy

Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Bed, cat laying on owner in bed curled up in warm blanket
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Listen, we all know that our (human) beds are the best place in the whole house. After all, your bed has the soft blankets and pillows you picked out carefully for maximum comfort, not to mention it’s warm and comfortable. For your cat, your body heat only makes your bed more alluring. 

Cats love warm places. Their temperature runs about four degrees higher than humans, so they search out the warm spots in the house like a heat-seeking missile. Sometimes during the day, your cat might decide that the best place to curl up is a beam of sunshine on the floor, but when you’re all snuggled up in your bed in the middle of the night, guess what? Your bed just became the warmest spot possible, and on your chest, neck, or tucked behind your knees is where your cat wants to be, possibly whether you like it or not. 

In colder climates or the winter months, cats’ furry little bodies have to work even harder to stay warm, so it’s increasingly likely you might find your kitty tucked under the blankets in a deep sleep. It’s a good idea to check for any feline family members before you belly-flop into bed.

Cats Feel Safe In The Big Bed

Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Bed, Cat and owner laying on bed side by side
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While all cat owners know their felines are deadly predators of mice, birds, baby bunnies, and sometimes feet if given the opportunity, the fact remains that most house cats are on the smaller end of the spectrum. A cat that feels uncomfortable will often retreat to a small, enclosed space, and your sleeping self under the blankets provides a nice, warm spot where your cat can relax. 

Your cat feels the most vulnerable when it is asleep, so you are its security blanket to let its guard down. You might find your cat will even fall into a deeper sleep while snuggled up with you than they would somewhere that feels less secure. To your cat, there’s safety in numbers. 

When your cat was just a kitten, it curled up with its littermates near or on top of mom, so the communal sleeping arrangement your kitty is imposing on you goes back to its earliest days. 

Your Cat Loves You

cat and owner looking at each other laying in bed
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By sleeping with you at night, your cat might be saying “I love you” in its own way. Cats are territorial, and they mark their territory with the scent glands in their faces and paw pads. If your cat headbutts you or walks all over you, it is marking you as its property, so other cats need to back off. You’ve been claimed! 

If you have more than one cat, they might curl up for a nap together. And while it’s adorable, it also serves to build relationships between the cats. It stands to reason that your cat might be working on your relationship by having a middle of the night snuggle with you, or saying “I love you” by keeping you warm and purring. 

You are the being that feeds them, scoops their litter, and keeps them safe. If this is a habit your cat has had for some time, it might be as simple as this: you are warm, you are safe, and your feline friend loves you. However, if this is a new habit your cat has just developed, there might be cause for concern. 

Your Cat Might Not Feel Well

Why Does My Cat Sleep On My chest, cat laying in bed getting pet.
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If your cat just started withdrawing into isolated spaces when it normally spends time on the cat tree or sprawled across your couch, something might be wrong. Cats are isolated when they are in pain or not feeling well. If your cat is crawling under the covers during the day and shows other signs of illness like not eating or drinking, litter box issues, or lethargy, it might be time to give the vet a call.

Pros and Cons of Letting Your Cat into Your Bed

cat curled up on owner in bed
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Navigating the decision to share your bed with your furry friend involves weighing the pros and cons. The decision to allow your cat into your bed at night is a personal one, balancing the emotional benefits of companionship with the potential challenges to your sleep quality. Understanding the positive and negative aspects can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your preferences and lifestyle.

Pros of Sleeping With Your Cat

On the positive side, scientific studies have illuminated the benefits of nighttime cuddles with your cat. In a noteworthy study published in 2019 (AERA Open), researchers explored the impact of a brief “animal visitation program” on stress levels among 249 university students. The investigation specifically measured cortisol levels in the participants’ saliva, providing a reliable indicator of stress. The findings revealed a significant reduction in stress levels after engaging in a mere 10-minute session of petting and interacting with a cat.

Petting your feline companion can trigger the release of happiness-inducing hormones, contributing to a reduction in stress and an overall sense of contentment. Additionally, the soothing sound of a cat’s purring, known for its healing properties in cats, can provide a comforting white noise that aids in relaxation, making it easier for you to drift into a peaceful sleep.

Cons of Sleeping With Your Cat

However, if you’re a light sleeper, there are potential downsides to inviting your cat into your bedtime sanctuary. Cats, being crepuscular creatures, are most active during the early morning and late evening. While they may snuggle with you initially, their natural instincts might prompt them to move around, potentially interrupting your sleep as they go about their feline activities. From playful wandering to unintentional disruptions, such as walking over you, there’s a chance your cat’s nighttime antics could lead to wake-ups.

Moreover, the possibility of your feline companion tracking dirt, loose fur, or remnants of cat litter into your bed is a consideration. If maintaining a pristine sleeping space is a priority for you, this aspect might influence your decision.

What if I Don’t Want My Cat to Sleep in My Bed?

cat in arms of man sleeping in bed
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If you prefer your bed to be a cat-free zone, fear not! There are plenty of gentle ways to redirect your feline friend to more suitable sleeping spots without resorting to drastic measures. Here are some practical tips:

  1. Create Cozy Alternatives: Provide your cat with inviting alternatives by setting up soft, warm spots in quiet corners of your home. Consider investing in feline-friendly heating pads to ensure your cat stays comfortably warm without posing any safety risks.
  2. Scent-Sational Solutions: Make these alternative spots even more appealing by placing an old shirt of yours in the designated areas. The familiar scent will create a comforting environment that might rival the allure of your bed.
  3. Nighttime Boundaries: If you’d like to keep your bedroom off-limits at night, try closing the door. Wedge a towel between the door and frame to minimize disturbances to prevent rattling. While some initial protests may occur, introducing white noise and earplugs can help ease the transition for both you and your cat.
  4. Daytime Engagement: Since cats are most active during dawn and dusk, engage them in interactive play during the day. This not only helps burn off excess energy but also encourages a more restful night’s sleep. If you’re away during the day, consider using a feeder toy to provide mental stimulation and enrichment.

Remember, patience and positive reinforcement go a long way in helping your cat adjust to new sleeping arrangements. By implementing these strategies, you can enjoy uninterrupted nights and ensure both you and your feline companion wake up refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Snuggle Success: Embracing Your Cat’s Sleeping Habits for a Purr-fect Bond!

The desire of cats to sleep in bed with their owners stems from a combination of natural instincts, affectionate gestures, and the need for warmth and security. By understanding these behaviors, cat owners can strengthen their bond with their feline friends and provide the best possible care for their beloved companions. Whether you have a new kitten or an older cat, embracing and nurturing their unique behaviors will lead to a happy and harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend.

Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of FurBallFun.com, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and WealthofGeeks.com. During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.