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Some people like weighted blankets but cat owners know that your cat might often take it upon themselves to make you their chosen sleeping spot! Even if you’ve provided your kitty the plushest beds and the coziest of resting places, you might end up doubling as a bed for your cat. Albeit comforting and adorable, it might perplex you why your cat seems to love curling up on you!
Famous for catnaps and regularly snoozing – an average of 12-15 hours per day! – it is no secret to any cat owner that sleep is a huge part of your feline’s top priorities. You might even wonder where your cat is only to find them deep in slumber, hiding in a corner in your house. But when they decide you are the perfect spot to perch for a nap, whether on your legs or face, you may want some personal space.
For the curious to the annoyed and every cat parent in between, let’s talk about why your cat chooses to sleep on you.
Cats have unique personalities. If you ask any cat owner, they will assure you that their feline has a mind of its own. Some love to cuddle and play, while others value alone time. Whether your cat is constantly glued to your side or often hiding under the couch – love and affection from your furry family member is always adorable. So if your cat plops itself down right on top of you, this time can quickly become a sweet bonding moment. But is your cat simply finding a place to snooze? Or are there other reasons you seem like the perfect bed?
Warmth – A natural instinct of animals seeking warmth is to locate a fellow person – or pet – and curl right up! Using your body heat to warm up, your cat might be trying to find a nice cozy spot to sleep at a comfortable temperature. Like you might grab a blanket when you lay on the couch, cats are trying to raise their inner temperature using your bodily warmth! To get scientific, let’s look at the thermoneutral zone. This zone is the range of body temperature that your body does not act to raise or lower its temperature. For example, in humans, the thermoneutral zone is between 64-72 degrees. Your body will use mechanisms to warm or cool you. For cats, this range is different at 86-100 degrees. This means that they run colder and will look for cozy warm spots to regulate their temperature – solving the age-old question of why your kitty always finds itself a small nook to rest!
To feel safe – If your cat is laying on you – take it as a compliment! Cats are often skeptical of anything and anybody that crosses their path. So if they feel safe enough to rest on you, they see you as a trusted companion. Them choosing you as a resting spot might be their way of trying to feel secure and safe. Sleeping is arguably their most vulnerable state, so staying near
their family during this time can help them rest easy. If they’re lying on your chest, the rhythm of your heart might be just the thing to send them into a deep slumber.
They’re marking their territory – Beyond affection, your cat may be using this behavior to claim their territory – you! Known to mark their territory, cats will do so by leaving their scent on what they view as theirs. This behavior can manifest itself in other ways, such as urine marking, so it is good to look out for other territorial behaviors and deter them. But, if your cat is rubbing itself on you and plopping down on your face, they might be trying to leave their scent to tell other animals that you are a part of their clan.
To bond with you – Cats will engage in a behavior called “pillowing” with other cats by using them as a resting place or pillow to bond and build a connection. If your cat does this with you around bedtime, they are trying to show you that they love you. This is one of the sweetest explanations, and it’s hard to be annoyed with this outward show of affection!
To find an elevated perch – In the wild, cats will climb to heights to find a safe resting spot away from predators. We all know the age-old tale of cats getting stuck in trees only to be saved by heroic firefighters! Although your resting body in your bed is not a tree, it is higher than the ground. Once they climb up into your bed, your head or back might just be the perfect elevated spot for a safe and secure sleep!
It is habitual – If your kitten slept on you in their early months, it might just be an established habit. Faithful creatures of habit, they might recognize you as a comfy bed for life!
If your cat has chosen you as a bed – and you want to discourage this habit – there are ways to move them into their own space and out of yours. Some people appreciate this affection, but understandably others don’t like their sleep disrupted by a 15-pound furry surprise.
To move your cat back into its own bed for sleeping, you can train them that their own space is just that – theirs. Giving them a comfy place that is only for them, such as a plush bed in your bedroom, will show them that they are safe and secure there. Giving them a raised cat bed on a ledge or a cat “tree” can also help if your cat uses you as an elevated perch. Reward them for staying in their own bed and praise them when they’re there to create positive associations.
Some ways to make your cat’s bed more appealing are to get a heated bed, rub your scent on it, or put some blankets from your own bed. This way, they will get the comfort of your presence without actually being in your personal space. Since cats are active right around bedtime, playing with them and tuckering them out can also make it easier for them to doze off in their own bed.
If your cat is waking you up at the wee hours of the morning, this is because they are naturally disposed to being active at dusk. This problem can be combatted by leaving your door cracked so they can slip out of your bedroom to find other stimulation – besides your face! You can also set up a bird feeder outside your window to give your cat some entertainment, so they don’t resort to crawling into bed with you. Your cat will appreciate the bird watching!
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