Facts about the animal kingdom

Reasons Your Cat Sleeps With You

Amy McCready
By Amy McCready, Animal rights journalist. Updated: September 12, 2022
Reasons Your Cat Sleeps With You

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When it's time to sleep many people get into their bed and find they aren't alone. They don't know why, but almost every night their cat will sleep next to them. It is often very relaxing and pleasant to sleep with the company of a cat, but why do they come to sleep with us? Comfort, company and warmth are some of the reasons your cat sleeps with you. But there may be other motives behind your cat wanting a snuggle.

If you want to know the 5 reasons why your cat sleeps with you do not miss this article from AnimalWised. We also ask if it is a good idea to sleep next to a cat and when it is not ideal for your cat to sleep in the same bed.

You may also be interested in: Why Do Cats Sleep On Top Of You?
  1. For the warmth
  2. Comfort, first and foremost
  3. You provide security
  4. They are territorial
  5. They love you
  6. Is it good to sleep with your cat?

1. For the warmth

Cats love the heat. If you look at where a cat will rest, they are always looking for the warmest places to hide and spend some quiet time. Near the stove, between the cushions or in any corner where the sun is setting. So it's no wonder that your cat catches you at bedtime and wants you to warm them up to be even more comfortable.

If you live in a particularly cold region, your cat's fur (even if they are a long-haired cat) might not be enough to keep them warm. They may find it difficult to sleep in other parts of the home. Your body will act like a radiator and they will enjoy being close to you. A cat may only want to sleep by your side, but they may also try to lie on top of you. This can be distracting, but if you're not a restless sleeper in might be a match made in sleepy heaven.

Reasons Your Cat Sleeps With You - 1. For the warmth

2. Comfort, first and foremost

Although playful and at times very active, the truth is that cats are relatively lazy and can sleep up to 15 hours a day. Although they can lie down in the most unexpected places, they will obviously be more comfortable sleeping in a fluffy bed. One of the reasons your cat sleeps with you is simply for comfort.

As we stated above, it is not necessarily the most comfortable arrangement for you if your cat wants to sleep in the same bed. You might have instances where the cat is trying to get comfortable by moving around the bed and, by extension, on top of you. You may want to ensure your cat has as comfortable a bed as you do, even if it is on a smaller scale.

3. You provide security

Although they may seem relaxed, cats are in a state of constant alertness. They can jump at the slightest strange thing you do. The relationship with your cat is very important, you probably consider them one of the family. So, they like to sleep with you to feel safe and more relaxed. If they lower their guard and rest by your side is because they feel very secure next to you.

Some people think that cats are nocturnal, but they are in fact crepuscular. This means they are most awake during the twilight hours. When night falls, they may want some extra security. This is one of the reasons cats want to sleep with you at night. It is a leftover from their wild past when they would need to be extra careful when sleeping.

Reasons Your Cat Sleeps With You - 3. You provide security

4. They are territorial

If you ask yourself why does my cat sleep next to me, maybe one of the reasons is because they think the bed is theirs and they are the one letting you sleep there. The upside of this is that your cat has enough attachment and trust in you to let you sleep next to them.

Your cat's territorial behavior doesn't always present itself obviously. When they rub their body against your legs or push their facer into yours, it can seem like a simple sign of affection. While affection is a part of it, it is also a way they can leave their scent on you thanks to glands on their face. When your cat comes into your bed and rubs against you, they are claiming both you and your bed for their own. They may also try to use their claws to scratch your bed clothes which is another aspect of marking.

Reasons Your Cat Sleeps With You - 4. They are territorial

5. They love you

Cats can seem very antisocial and independent, but that's just a façade. The truth is that cats also likes company and, especially if you spend a lot of time away from home, they can miss you deeply.

Cats usually lie down together to get warm and comfy. So if your cat rubs, kneads, licks and lies down with you, they consider you to be another cat. This is a sign of a very healthy relationship with your cat, one of security and love.

Is it good to sleep with your cat?

Sleeping with your cat has its advantages and disadvantages. While your feline might be your best friend, it is not always something which will be good for you and your daily routine, especially if you are not the best sleeper. This is something which scientists have also been interested in studying.

A report from 2018 in the journal Anthrozoös investigated the effects sleeping with pets had on people. It is not a conclusive report and further study is needed, but they did see a trend in people suggesting dogs had less of a negative impact on sleeping patterns than cats[1].

This can help us to look at the pros and cons of sleeping with your cat. Here are some of the findings as well as general considerations:

  • Disruption: the study found that cats were found to be “equally as disruptive as human partners, and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners”. However, this also depended on the individual animal. Some cats may be less likely to get up and sleep in distracting positions than others. Some cats, for example, enjoy sleeping on a person's head or feet, while others may be content to sleep peaceably beside their human pals.

  • Hygiene: it will also depend on the activity of your cat. If your cat is an outdoor cat, they may pick up dirt or even parasites outside. This is not ideal for bringing into your bed. Indoor cats are generally more protected, but it is still important to ensure they are dewormed and vaccinated if you want to let them sleep with you.

  • Allergies: some people have mild cat allergies which are not exacerbated during the day. However, if a cat is sleeping in your bed, they may exacerbate allergies and lead to sleep problems.

  • Activity: if your cat is an active (or even a hyperactive) animal, then they may find it difficult to sleep still. If you have work to get up for in the morning, it might not be ideal for them to share a bed.

  • Health: while some cats might be disruptive, it is important to remember that cats can have a positive impact on our health and well-being. One study found that cat owners were “less likely to take medication for sleeping problems than non-pet owners”[2]. Having a cat sleep next to you might actually help you get a better night's sleep, but it will depend on individual circumstances.

  • Bond: your cat sleeping next to you shows that they are comfortable. Allowing them into your bed might be a good way for you and your cat to strengthen your bond as it shows a closeness.

  • Hair: especially if you have a longhaired cat, they might molt in your bed. This will occur more during the shedding period of cats, so bear that in mind if it is something which might become a problem.

There are many reasons why a cat will want to sleep with you and vice versa. It is up to you if you think it will be a good idea for you (and anyone else who might be in the bed at the time). If you decide that your cat should sleep elsewhere, take a look at our related article on how to get a cat to sleep in their own bed.

If you want to read similar articles to Reasons Your Cat Sleeps With You, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.


1. Hoffman, C. L., Stutz, K., & Vasilopoulos, T. (2018) An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relation to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing, Anthrozoös, 31(6), 711-725.

2. Beetz, A., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Julius, H., & Kotrschal, K. (2012). Psychosocial and psychophysiological effects of human-animal interactions: the possible role of oxytocin. Frontiers in psychology, 3, 234.

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I rescued a cat from a shelter a few years ago. She is now almost 13. It's like she knows I rescued her. She has slept with me since day 1 and couldn't imagine her not sleeping with me. I try to sleep. She does periodically wake me up throughout the night to be petted! And, she wakes me up too to be fed but she has learned she's not getting fed in the middle of night and has accepted this fact. She will also lay on on top of my belly when she wakes me up and I love it! I don't mind missing out on some sleep for some kitty cat love! Does that make me a bad person? Heck no, that makes me the crazy cat person! LOL
Administrador AnimalWised
Thanks so much for sharing this heartwarming story!
I couldnt sleep without my cats next to me. I need to have them there.
Administrador AnimalWised
So cosy!
Have 2 cats. In winter in cold Wisconsin, they do enjoy sleeping with me. One will crawl under the covers and snuggle in my arms. Only stays for 5 or 10 minutes so I always make sure has an opening visible so he can get out. My other cat will always sleep on my shoulder or chest. Big guy, 20 pounds. I could do better without holding me down!
Can never get him to curl up between my butt and legs. Think that soft spot would be more comfortable for him
Oh well, have accepted my purpose in life is to be a cat bed, so guess to be a cat bunk bed is okay too.
Administrador AnimalWised
Haha, we love the idea of being a human cat bunk!
Jay Shields
I liked all the articles I've read from AnimalWised, have a few more to go. I'm Admittedly obsessed with my kid (cat). I let him sleep as much as he wants. He is a very affectionate cat, sleeps by me no matter where I'm at. He loves shoe boxes so I've made several for him. 1 is on the bed where he sleeps. I also add a tablespoon of ACV to his water for all the benefits it provides. Samson is his name, he came from a shelter September 6th 2009 and has been with me since.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Jay,

We are so happy to hear of your dedication to our site. Reading all the articles is an impressive feat, so congratulations. Don't worry, we update every day and will have more. Thanks for sharing the picture of Samson, what a handsome cat he is. Feel free to keep us up to date and have a great day!
Beautiful boy.
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Reasons Your Cat Sleeps With You