Last Updated: 5 months ago

What is up with cats and their love of laying on top of random items? Find out three theories for this strange cat behavior!

Oh, this is an easy one—because they can! End of article! All kidding aside, why do cats lay on things?

Research has shown a multitude of opinions on this cat behavior, and there is no scientific proof of the reasons, just a lot of educated guesses and theories.

Let’s examine a few of those guesses and theories, shall we?

Why Do Cats Lay On Things? 3 Theories Explained

Let’s explore the charming mystery of why cats have an innate tendency to lay on things.

From cozy blankets to your favorite book, join us in uncovering the adorable reasons behind this endearing cat quirk and gain insights into the captivating nature of our beloved feline friends.

1. Cats are Territorial

3 Surprising Reasons Why Do Cats Lay On Things

That’s a fact, so with this in mind, some people seem to think this is the reason that they lie on top of everything.

Their territory is their home, along with anything in and around the home.

If you come home from a long day at work and drop your keys and purse on the bed, Kitty will jump up and lay on them, no matter how uncomfortable they may seem.

Cats are territorial creatures by nature, and laying on objects is a way for them to mark their territory with scent glands located on their body, particularly around their faces.

By claiming items through physical contact, they leave their unique scent, creating a familiar and comforting environment.

2. Because of Their Scent

cat outside smelling something

Other individuals believe that it is because they like to get their scent all over everything so that we know that whatever we own is theirs too.

It seems like the same thing as being territorial. If we humans bring some item into their territory, they automatically own it, just like they own us.

And who’s going to argue with a cat? Right?

3. Because They Love Us

cat in lap

Yet other popular opinions are that because our cats love us so much, they want to be close to anything that we touch or anything that might have our smell on it.

They pick up our scent on items and decide that laying on them is showing us how much they love us and want to be near us.

The facts remain that even though cats can be standoffish to us humans at times, they do in fact crave attention and warmth.

Even if that warmth is a piece of paper folded on a desk, a keyboard, a mouse, your pajamas, pretty much anything you can imagine.

4. Comfort and Security

American Shorthair cat laying on the bed

Laying on things provides cats with a sense of comfort and security.

Objects like blankets or clothes carry the scent of their owners, creating a connection and a feeling of safety.

The softness and warmth of these items also offer a cozy spot for rest, allowing cats to relax and recharge in their chosen, familiar environment.


As for why they lay on our keyboards, books, or papers that we are using, it’s because they want that affection and know that if they jump onto whatever object you’re paying attention to that isn’t them, they will indeed get our attention.

As a pet parent to a cat, you’ve encountered this scenario multiple times and know the truth behind it.

Though you do have to admit it, there could be worse things than a purring, fluffy cat grabbing your attention for some loving.

When your cat wants some love or cuddling, you don’t say no too often. We’re sure everyone has an opinion on why cats lie on top of stuff.

What do you think is behind this cat’s behavior? Were some of our suggestions spot-on? Let us know in the comments below.



Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.