Why Does My Cat Sleep With Me? What a cat has to say


We have a new cat, Mona the Maine Coon – you can meet her in person at the end of this post! She’s not lived with us very long, but she’s already in charge and we know what she does and does not like.

For instance, she’s not interested in the special cat bed her previous owner gave her as a parting gift. But fret not, she has found the ideal 6-foot wide sleeping spot – it also happens to be our bed! Well, it’s hers now but we’re allowed to squeeze on either side as long as we keep still.

This morning, as I attempted to keep my eyes open with a third cup of coffee and a slice of banana bread, Mona and I had our first heart-to-heart and I managed to bring the conversation round to the B. E. D. situation.

“Mona,” I said in a laid back (half asleep) tone, “Why do cats like to sleep with their owners?” Her answer was incredibly informative and I feel enlightened.

For those of you who have ever wondered, “Why does my cat sleep with me?” here’s the answer straight from the kitty’s mouth.

Cat in owner's bed

Why cats like to sleep with their owners – by Mona the Maine Coon

When cats sleep we are at our most vulnerable. In order to relax, we seek out the safest place possible. The ideal spot is close to someone we implicitly trust. Our owners make us feel secure and so their bed is the place we like to do our sleeping.

I might also add that we cats can be likened to heat-seeking missiles and are drawn toward the warmth of human bodies. So don’t flatter yourself that it’s an affection thing. As soon as we are hot enough, we’re off to find a cooler spot.

Cats love to adopt the high ground. Your bed is perfectly raised from the ground to give us the advantage should any predator come skulking about in the middle of the night. And of course, you are close by to offer us protection should this happen.

Pillow talk

Cats love to sleep on your pillow
Move over Mona!

I asked Mona, “Why do you move onto the dad’s pillow and switch on your engine at an obscure time?” She told me …

Cats like to sleep on or close to heads because a lot of heat radiates from them, making them a really cozy spot to curl around when the space on the bed has cooled down. That generally happens at about 2 am, funnily enough.

As soon as I feel that head warmth, I can’t help purring because it makes me feel blissfully happy. My purrs also help me to relax and get back to sleep to continue my happy dreams.

Sometimes I have to take to the pillow area a little early because as soon as you two fall asleep you are all arms and legs and I feel like I’m in a boxing ring. The pillow is a safe retreat and your heads tend to keep still.

A white Maine Coon on a pillow
That’s my pillow Charlie!

Abreast of the chest

I then asked Mona, “What is sleeping on my chest all about? I can’t move and I need to roll onto my side to sleep!” She explained …

Cats are fascinated by the feel of human heartbeats and the sound of their breathing. We can really feel these when we lie on your chest. You feel very calm and this actually makes us feel really calm.

Co-sleeping with cats

I sought Mona’s opinion on whether people and cats should sleep in the same bed and this is what she replied …

I’ve had cat friends who have said their owners can’t tolerate the idea. I’m lucky that you and dad wouldn’t have it any other way.

It isn’t bad to let your cat sleep with you, especially if you consider them a member of your family. I firmly believe it’s a personal thing but that care should be taken to provide all cats with a warm, alternative place to sleep if they are banned from the parental bed.

Why some cats won’t sleep with their owners

I told Mona that I know people who would love their cats to curl up on their bed at night but their cat just point blank refuses to join them. She explained why this is …

All cats are different. Some don’t feel that insecurity that makes them want to be in their owners’ bed. This is a good sign of a happy, confident cat.

Owners who are desperate for their cat to sleep with them so they can experience a really bad nights sleep (haha) could try the following:

  • Keep your cat as active as possible throughout the day so that it is more tired at night.
  • Start a routine of 10 minutes play with your cat leading up to bedtime – this will become a signal that it’s nearly time to sleep.
  • Give your cat a meal just before you head upstairs to bed as this will make it sleepy.
  • Put your cat’s favorite cat tree or bed in your room where it can watch or sleep until it feels like joining you.
  • Always allow your cat to explore your bed and come and go as it pleases as this will make it more comfortable about sleeping there.
  • Be patient and your cat will eventually sleep with you if it wants to.
Cat on white bed clothes

Pros and cons of sharing a bed with your cat

To round up our conversation, Mona and I discussed the pros and cons for owners who sleep with their cats.

Pros

  • Coziness. Cats and people can benefit from each other’s warmth and cuddles when sharing a bed
  • Bonding. The more time cats and owners spend together, the more they bond. Cats really do love human company as much as humans enjoy theirs.
  • Comforting. Cats and people can feel comfort from each other’s presence at night.

Cons

  • Disturbed sleep. It is quite possible that you will keep each other awake. A cat will sleep exactly where it pleases while you contort to sleep around it or cling to the edge of the bed like its the edge of a deep precipice.
  • Fur everywhere. The bed gets full of cat fur which needs to be vacuumed off regularly.
  • Allergy issues. Being up close at night can exacerbate even the mildest allergy to cat fur.
  • Pawprints. Expect these to appear everywhere. White bed linen may have to become a thing of the past!
Cat on a white bed sheet

Why does my cat sleep with me? – Conclusion

Cats like to share our beds for a variety of reasons but mainly to steal our heat. Of course, they trust that we will protect them all night long too.

Though it may feel like they deliberately pinch all the space at the expense of our discomfort, I’m sure this is not intended!

Thank you to our cat Mona (below) for her frank and honest answers during this interview. She hopes you feel enlightened by this article.

We’ve created this lovely video in which you can see how much Mona sleeps each day!

Jane

I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog, and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences plus those of my family and friends.

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