Facts about the animal kingdom

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: November 22, 2018
Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet?

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Cats are interesting animals that sometimes do things we as humans don’t quite understand. Did you know that it’s a proven fact that cats like to sleep next to their carers? Specifically, if a cat has a choice, you will see that your cat likes to sleep on you every night.

There are many reasons that may explain why your cat likes to sleep with you, reasons that every cat lover should familiarize themselves with. That’s why here at AnimalWised we have decided to find out about this feline behavioral trait, by discussing why your cat likes to sleep on your feet.

You may also be interested in: Why Do Dogs Sleep at Your Feet?


  1. Cat survival
  2. Cat Protection
  3. Cats love routine
  4. Cat instinct
  5. Cat sleeping on your feet: not what you think it is

Cat survival

It is rare for an adult person to weigh less than 40 kg (90 lb). Assuming that the average weight of an adult cat is between 3 and 4 kg (7 to 8 lb) - excluding Maine Coons, Savannah cats and other larger breeds - this means that cats choose sleep with someone that weighs at least 10 to 13 times more than them.

Therefore, if the cat is sensible and aims to survive this experience without being rolled on in the middle of the night, it will naturally choose to sleep in a safer place: the feet. Here, there is less weight and the odds for escape are easier and greater.

In fact, cats develop the habit of moving towards the either end of the body (head or feet) when they become adults, while generally, kittens sleep on the chest of their preferred sleeping partner. Kittens like to sleep on their carer’s chest, as they can feel a heartbeat and in turn feel protected, reminding them of their mother and period of lactation.

However, after learning that humans move and roll over in their sleep, cats learn and adapt . This explains one of the main reasons why your cat likes to sleep with you.

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet? - Cat survival

Cat Protection

When a cat sleeps, it is aware that its guard is lowered. Therefore, your cat likes to lay with you in the case of any danger or threat, where they won't hesitate to wake you up to protect you and warn you of danger.

You might also notice that sometimes, your cat will lay with their back against something. In this way, they feel that they are in a better position to react and are more protected.

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet? - Cat Protection

Cats love routine

Did you know that cats love routine? best believe, if your alarm hasn’t woken you: your cat will. When a cat sleep at your feet, they will realize that the habitual wake up time has based, move to your face, and begin to rub against you and meow. For more, take a look at our article where we discuss the reasons why your cat wakes you up every morning.

Cats like routine, absent of unpleasant surprises. This means, if you usually wake up at 8 am every morning, they will recognize this action and try to abide by it. You might notice that if you’re ill in bed, your cat will likely stay with you and keep you company.

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet? - Cats love routine

Cat instinct

Cats are territorial, possessive and sociable animals.

Every square inch of their home is their territory. As such, from kittens they will dedicate themselves to patrolling and exploring every nook and cranny of their new respective household. It’s a cat’s instinct, like any other animal, to understand their territory and habitat. Cats want to be aware of everything around them, in order to feel both safe and secure.

Cats are pack animals, and will therefore be affectionate with all member of the family. Cats will play, ask for attention and often force all member of the family to pet it. However, it is normal that there is one person they prefer more than others: the person the cat will most likely choose to sleep with.

If your cat likes to sleep on the feet of a specific person in your family: it’s because that person is their favorite[1].

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet? - Cat instinct

Cat sleeping on your feet: not what you think it is

Naturally, you may think the only reason your cat sleeps by your feet is because they love you and want your company. This may be somewhat true, but not always. In your cat’s mind, it is often you who is sleeping by it’s feet, not the other way around. Since you live in their territory and it recognizes you, it lets you sleep at its side.

Besides the fact that your cat likes to sleeping on you, or lay next to you: a cat will show you affection or trust by licking you. Cats are very hygienic and meticulously preen and wash themselves with their own tongue. If your cat licks you, it is because they are trying to clean you, treating you as one of their own.

If you bring a new cat home, especially if it's another cat, your cat will most likely be unhappy for a while. This unhappiness may fester through aggressiveness, isolation and disregard. Some cats might even choose to sleep away from you for a while. In this case, make sure that you give both cats equal attention and socialize them properly with each other. With time, your original cat with familiarize itself with the new cat, and all should settle and go back to normal. To help you, take a look at out article; How to introduce a new cat to another cat.

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet? - Cat sleeping on your feet: not what you think it is

For more about cat sleeping patterns, take a look at our Youtube video below!

If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.


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Anurag Sharma
Nice article! I brought home a 2 months old kitten and she took 1 week to familiar with me and my family, Now I know why She keeps on sleeping on my feet especially while I work on my mac.
Administrador AnimalWised
We're glad this has been useful!
Our youngest 1 1/2 sleeps by my feet or on me every night. And she is my alarm clock. I love her so much. The 2 yr old sleeps on my side. The 14 yr old sleeps with our son. They are family and would do anything to keep them safe and happy.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Gail,

Thank you so much for sharing with us!
Erik Northman
Stanley if you don't like cats why are you here? Also I have to ask do your fillings tend to pick up communist radio signals? ... Irrelevant I suppose... The point is that I really think it would be best for everybody if you took about 40 to 60% off of the peyote intake. I'm confident that it would be ultimately best for everybody that way. I know that really isn't what you want to hear, it's hard, but somebody had to say it.
Stanley... Is that your real name I mean the full name? If you don't like cats why are you here? Do you have instances where are your fillings pick up communist radio stations? Anyway... Irrelevant... the point is that I think somebody really needs to lay off the peyote. It will be the best thing for everybody I promise.
They like to attack my feet when I turn over during the night or play with my toes.
marilyn lieberman
why does my cat bite my toes if they touch her when am sleeping?

It's playtime, or you are ANNOYING HER in YOUR bed, lol. Mine does the same.
Stanley Gordon Alexander DeWitt Jr.
Your feet are the channel of power between you and the earth and cats leech that power from you. I am no lover of cats for this for they steal from you.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Stanley,

Just in case there is any chance you are being serious, we'd like to ask where you found this information? Don't think we can find any studies corroborating this...
Hristo Genadiev Ganchev
this is so hilarious it's hard to even answer it but let's try
So, let's assume you are talking about energy when you say power because, in essence, that's the only thing a cat could potentially use. Even so, I don't think my cat actually needs that energy as she mostly just eats, poops and sleeps. Furthermore, why would the feet be the only channel between us and Earth? I would be inclined to believe that our palms can serve as a medium for extremely small electromagnetic exchanges, but even so, we would have control not only whether to stop or engage the exchange but to also define it: In or Out, Give or Take.
In conclusion, cats are awesome and so are humans ( biologically, at least).
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Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Feet?