The short answer is because your cat loves you and wants to be close to you; sometimes, really, really close. You might not think that’s sweet when you wake up in the middle of the night wearing a cat on your head, but you have to admit, it is endearing.
Sleeping with cats is not always easy. After all, cats are nocturnal creatures. They are wired to spend their nights on the prowl. When your furry friend is comfortable enough to resist animal instincts and adjust to your sleep schedule that does say a lot about the close connection you share.
You can learn a lot by examining your cat’s behavior during the night, especially when your cat insists on sleeping on you. If there is a cat sleeping in bed with you, here are just a few different scenarios to help you translate your cat’s actions into meaning. Let’s start at the top of your head and work our way down to your toes, to demystify why cats like to sleep with their owners.
Cradling Your Head
What’s the number one reason why anyone wears a hat in cold weather? To help retain body heat that would otherwise escape through their head. Your cat is not stupid. He knows exactly where to find the nearest furnace in bed: it’s you. When your cat drapes his body across the top of your head, he may be trying to cuddle, but he is definitely trying to stay warm. There’s a good chance that you might wake up warmer than usual, too, now that he has transformed himself into a cat hat.
It’s bound to happen: you roll over, open your eyes and BAM, you find yourself eye-to-eye with a cat that can’t take his eyes off you. He’s probably wondering why you’re sleeping at night when there’s so much fun to be had and so much work to be done. Remember, it’s only natural for your cat to be fully alert, awake, and on-duty all hours of that night. If he’s staring at you he’s probably just trying to keep you safe from all the other wild, nocturnal beasts lurking in your home (kidding, sort of). Chances are he needs to know where you are and what you’re doing.
Heart To Heart
When your cat lays across your chest while you’re sleeping, it’s not to pin you down. It’s to get in sync with your heartbeat. The vibration of your beating heart is soothing to your furry friend and the body heat that you naturally give off while sleeping is just a bonus. Your cat is showing a sign of deep love, trust, security. As long as it’s comfortable for you, there’s no reason to turn your cat away. A word of caution: sleeping with cats could cause some serious problems for infants, toddlers, and young children, so don’t allow this until the child is older and stronger.
Between Your Legs
Wild cats sleep in areas where they feel safe and protected, such as under a shrub or bush, in a den, under a porch. So when your cat curls up into a ball between your legs, he is mimicking his instincts and looking for a spot where he can sleep at ease. Your legs create the perfect crevice for him to think that he will go unnoticed while he catches up on some rest.
Belly Up By Your Side
If you find your cat in this position, it means that he is secure in his surroundings and probably worn out from a night full of fun. When your cat lays on his back, he is exposing his vulnerability. You know how rare and precious a sight that can be, right?
Nibbling Your Toes
There’s a good chance that if your cat is not sleeping during the night, he is actively looking for things to do, mice to catch, space to protect. There’s an equally good chance that at some point during the night your toes are going to wiggle under the covers and your cat is going to think that he’s about to hit the hunting jackpot. This can be rather, um, unpleasant at times so if it becomes too much for you to bear, you may want to keep your cat out of the bedroom at night.
Speaking of staying in charge while trying to enjoy cuddle time with your cat, remember that you’re the one who gets to make the rules and keep them intact. Proper nutrition plus daily exercise equals a better night’s sleep for everyone (even you). Keep your cat up-to-date on vaccinations and flea and tick protection . Even if your cat only stays indoors, it could happen.
Decide where you would like your cat to sleep in your house, especially if he likes to roam around at night. Create a space for your cat to sleep, this will not guarantee that your cat will gravitate toward that area, but it will set a boundary just in case space is not in your bedroom. Remember to keep cats out of rooms with infants, toddlers, or young children, or people who have allergies, asthma, or other illness. It’s a real joy to be able to dream together, and this is even better in an environment where you can also wake up happy together.