Why does my cat sleep pressed up against me? Our adopted cat will not sleep in her bed. In fact, she will sleep anywhere but her bed.

One of those places, and the one that seems to be her favorite, is against me—not just lying next to me comfortably on the couch, oh no!

We’re talking full-on, pressed against me so tightly that if I move, it’s going to disrupt her sleep entirely.

It turns out there are many things that can be attributed to why a cat will fall asleep so close to you that they feel like an extension of your own body.

Read on for the top five reasons.

5 Reasons Why Your Cat Sleeps Pressed Up Against You

Reason 1: Trust 

According to PetMD, one way a cat shows that he trusts you is by pressing against you in his sleep, (1).

Cats tend to gravitate towards sleeping places where they know they will be safe.

It took quite a while for our cat to work her way to sleeping with me.

When we first got her, she’d sleep up high, under the bed, in one of the compartments of her cat tower, or on the floor next to my son.

He was her favorite from the start.

These days, she’s warmed up to me. I guess she figured out who feeds her.

I say that in jest, but in reality, I do take it as a sign of her trust that she seeks me out to fall asleep to now, on most nights.

Reason 2: Marking Their Territory 

Mikel Delgado, Cat Behavior Expert, says one reason a cat sleeps against you may be to mark their territory (2).

It is common for cats to leave their scents on their people, places, and things.

They might do that by pressing up against you each night to sleep. 

ginger cat sleeping on the chest of the kid

This little act of endearment is sweet to you and useful to them. It also ensures no other cat comes along without knowing you are already taken.

Reason 3: Comfort 

When kittens are born into their litters, they press up against one another for warmth and comfort and to be close to their mother’s milk. Old habits die hard.

“Cats are raised in litters, and when they’re very young until they are about 12 weeks of age, sleeping usually means piling onto one another near mom,” says Dr. Satchu (3).

“It’s how they are raised during their peak socialization weeks and similar to other things they learn during this time; this translates into lifelong habits.”

As they grow older and move on to their forever homes, they may still find that pressing into their owners as they sleep provides them a certain element of comfort.    

Reason 4: Affection 

Veterinarian and popular columnist Doc Jess tell us cats appreciate us (4).

cute kitty hugging his owner

They often bond with those who feed them, provide them with water, clean their little boxes, and otherwise provide care and love to them.

One way they show us their appreciation and affection is by snuggling up alongside us as we sleep.

When our cat finally adjusted to our home, one of the first things she started to do was sleep alongside her boy.

As he’s gotten older and more interested in his friends, sports, etc. (though he still loves our cat), she’s shifted to following me around and, yes, falling asleep pressed against me.

I used to tease the teen that she loves me more now, but the second he wakes up, she leaves me…every single time.

I guess I’m the one she wants to snooze next to, and he’s the one she wants to be with when she’s awake, and that’s fine. I’m glad her displays of affection extended to us both.

Reason 5: Protection 

Some experts say cats feel protected when they sleep next to you.

Cat Behavior Expert Mikel Delgado says, “You may give your cat an extra level of security during sleep time, a time when they are most vulnerable” (5).

kitty lying on the bed with her eyes slightly open

Because cats themselves are hunters by instinct, they understand the risk of predators attacking at any time and instinctively take measures to ensure they are most protected.

One way to do that is to curl up next to their owner while they take their afternoon (or nighttime) siesta.

Why Does My Cat Push His Head up Against Me?

Along the same vein, my grown daughter called me today to ask, “Hey mom, do you have any idea why our cat pushes her head against ours

She was adopted just a few weeks ago. A beautiful gray cat with one injured eye. She took him in because she thought no one else would.

He has taken to holding his head against theirs, and it’s very reminiscent of Lion King. In fact, I think she should name him Simba, but she named him Cookie.

According to, there are two primary reasons cats exhibit this behavior. The first is as a sign of love and trust. The second is your cat may be feeling discomfort (6).

In her case, it definitely seems like the former, however, it is always best to consult a professional veterinarian or cat expert when you are feeling uncertain about your cat’s behavior.

FAQs 

Do cats protect you while you sleep?

Cats have a natural inclination to protect what they care about, including you, while you sleep.

How do cats choose who to sleep with?

If your cat has selected you as the person they sleep with; you can count your lucky stars that your feline friend has chosen you as a trusted and loving companion.

Why does my cat hold my hand while sleeping?

This is generally seen as a sign of affection. Our cat will do this after we have been gone for a while, and we take it as a sign of her missing us and showing us her affection.

Why do cats sleep on your feet?

orange cat sleeping at the feet of his owners

So why do cats sleep on your feet? This is another way cats mark their territory, stay warm, and feel like they are protecting you.

Why does my cat sleep between my legs?

Why does my cat sleep on my legs?” It might be something that you’ve thought of before.

This may seem like unusual behavior, but it’s not. What better place for a cat to sleep to keep their body temperature regulated and warm? Your body heat transfers to them, and that’s cozy.

Why does my cat lay on my shoes?

Transferring their pheromones onto your shoes is another way for a cat to mark their territory.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons a cat will choose to press themselves against you while they sleep. It may be simply because they trust you, or they could also be marking their territory.

While it may comfort you, it is undoubtedly the same for your cat. If your feline has taken to wiggling next to you each night, consider it a sign that you have won over their affection.

They think they are there to protect you, and in turn, they feel protected. As a cat parent, you know that’s a win-win, all the way around.

cats sleeping on the bed

Does your cat sleep with you? Please share your experience with us below!

Resources

  • 1. 20 Cat Sleeping Positions and What They Mean [Internet]. www.petmd.com. [cited 2022 Apr 14]. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/cat-sleeping-positions-and-what-they-mean
  • 2. Here’s Why Your Cat Sleeping With You Is a Good Thing [Internet]. PawTracks. 2022 [cited 2022 Apr 14]. Available from: https://www.pawtracks.com/cats/why-cats-sleep-with-you/
  • 3. Why Do Cats Sleep On You? And Is There Anything You Can Do About It? [Internet]. The Dog People by Rover.com. 2019. Available from: https://www.rover.com/blog/why-do-cats-sleep-on-you/
  • 4. Jess AD. Answers to Most Common Cat Sleeping Questions [Internet]. Vet Explains Pets. 2021. Available from: https://vetexplainspets.com/cat-sleeping/
  • 5. src=”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/6b056c089f3c54dcf89a4c606b53bb8e?s=50 img class=”avatar” alt=”Morgan C, #038;d=mm, Jul. 21 038;r=g” width=”50″ height=”50″>Morgan C, 2021. Why Do Cats Sleep on You? [Internet]. Reader’s Digest. 2020 [cited 2022 Apr 14]. Available from: https://www.rd.com/article/why-does-my-cat-sleep-on-me/
  • 6. CAM2. Head Pressing In Cats: A Must-Read For All Cat Owners [Internet]. Cole & Marmalade. 2019 [cited 2022 Apr 14]. Available from: https://coleandmarmalade.com/2019/01/29/head-pressing-in-cats-a-must-read-for-all-cat-owners/
Tamsin
Tamsin

Hi, I’m Tamsin. I’m a serious animal lover and dog behaviorist and trainer. In fact, I live on a farm with nine rescues! So, I love writing about and creating awareness around the health and wellness of all animals.

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