Why Does Kitty Cuddle Up Next to You at Night? The Surprising Reasons Cats Love to Sleep Beside Their Owners

Cats Feel Safer and More Secure Near Their Owners

Cats see their owners as a source of safety and security. Sleeping near them helps cats feel protected. As solitary hunters, cats can feel vulnerable when sleeping, so they seek out their trusted human companions for comfort and reassurance. According to one study, over half of cats choose to sleep next to or near their owner at night because it makes them feel safe. The close bond between an owner and cat means the human’s presence helps the cat relax into a deeper sleep (source). A cat that sleeps on your bed or curls up next to you on the couch is showing that they trust you to keep them free from harm.

Cats Bond with Their Owners

Sleeping next to their owner allows cats to strengthen their bond through closeness and touch. As social creatures, cats enjoy being near their “colony”, which includes their human caretakers. According to experts, when a cat sleeps on or near their owner, it signifies that they feel comfortable, safe, and bonded with that person (https://unionlakepetservices.com/blog/how-cats-choose-who-to-sleep-with). The simple act of sleeping beside each other releases oxytocin in both cats and humans, further deepening the bond. Cats are selective about who they sleep with, so when a cat chooses to sleep beside you, take it as a sign that you have a strong and loving relationship.

Cats Want to be Close to Your Scent

Cats have a powerful sense of smell and recognize their owner’s scent. Sleeping beside you allows your cat to be surrounded by your familiar smells, which they find comforting and reassuring. A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than humans, and they use scent to identify friends, mark territory, and feel safe in their environment [1]. When your cat curls up beside you at night, they are seeking the security and familiarity of your scent. Cats also have scent glands on their face, so they may rub against you or sniff you to mix their scent with yours as a way of marking you as part of their territory and family group [2]. Sleeping close to you allows your cat to feel like you belong to them.

Cats Want to Stay Warm

Cats like to sleep next to warm things. Sleeping next to their warm-blooded owner keeps them cozy. A cat’s normal body temperature ranges from 101°F to 102.5°F, so they seek out warmth to maintain their body heat. By sleeping beside or on top of their owner, a cat can comfortably regulate their temperature (https://www.newsweek.com/why-do-cats-like-sleep-their-owners-1672733). Cats tend to sleep for 12-16 hours a day, so finding a nice warm spot like their owner’s bed, lap, or chest helps them get their necessary rest.

Cats Feel Lonely on Their Own

Cats are social animals that don’t like to be alone. Sleeping next to their owner comforts them and makes them feel less lonely. Unlike some animals that prefer solitude, domesticated cats have evolved to crave companionship and affection from humans. When a cat sleeps beside you, it shows they consider you family and value your presence. According to animal behaviorist John Bradshaw, author of Cat Sense, cats kept indoors for longer periods crave human interaction and companionship even more.

Research has shown that when given a choice, most cats opt to sleep near their owners rather than be isolated. As crepuscular animals that are active at dawn and dusk, cats typically sleep during the day but prefer not to do so alone. Sleeping beside their trusted human companion provides cats with comfort, security, and belonging. It also allows them to monitor their surroundings and be alerted if there are any potential threats.

So when your cat curls up beside you at night, it is their way of saying they care about you and don’t want to be separated. Their choice to sleep with you is a sign of true affection.

Cats Want Your Attention

Cats often choose to sleep next to their owners because it allows them to easily get your attention and wake you up when they want to be fed, play, or receive affection. Cats are social creatures that thrive on interaction with their human companions. By sleeping close by, your cat can meow, purr, rub against you, or even gently pat your face to get you to wake up and pay attention to them.

Cats want your undivided attention and will take advantage of the opportunity to get it when you are sleeping or stationary. Some cats even recognize patterns in an owner’s sleep schedule and will be ready to engage their human when they are in lighter stages of sleep. Your cat’s desire for attention and interaction is likely the driving force behind their decision to sleep beside you.

So even though it can be disruptive to your sleep at times, your cat’s insistence on staying close is actually a sign that they feel a strong bond with you and value your companionship. Enjoy those precious moments of contact, and be sure to give your feline plenty of playtime and affection when you are awake as well!

Cats are Showing Affection

Choosing to sleep beside you is a sign of your cat’s affection, attachment and trust. Cats are not pack animals like dogs, so they do not crave constant companionship. However, domesticated cats can form strong bonds with their human caretakers. According to a Reddit thread, “Your cat wants to be close to you because she loves you, you dingleberry! Plus you’re warm, provide safety, etc etc. Different cats show love in different ways.”

When a cat sleeps next to you, it is exhibiting socially-bonded behavior and indicating you are its preferred companion for rest and security. As solitary hunters, cats are vulnerable when sleeping so they only nap near those they trust. Your cat feels most relaxed and comfortable in your presence. Sleeping beside you demonstrates your cat feels a close emotional connection and sees you as a source of safety and warmth.

Curling up to sleep at your side or on your lap are signs your cat is bonded to you. Snuggling up close allows your cat to be near your scent and hear your rhythmic breathing, both of which are soothing. Your cat may also knead you gently as it falls asleep. These bonding behaviors all indicate deep affection.

Cats are Marking You as Their Territory

One reason your cat may sleep beside you is to mark you as their territory. Cats have scent glands on their faces, paws and tails that secrete pheromones. When your cat rubs against you, they are marking you with their scent to show other cats that you belong to them. Sleeping on or next to you reinforces this territorial marking through both scent and location.

By sleeping on top of you, your cat is essentially saying “this human belongs to me”. It’s a way for them to claim you as their own and show dominance over you. The territorial nature of cats means they want to spread their scent and claim objects and places as their own. Since you are a major focus of your cat’s life, sleeping with you allows them to reinforce their bond while also staking their claim.

Cats Feel Protected from Other Household Pets

One reason why cats like to sleep beside their owners is because it helps keep them safe from other pets in the household. Dogs, other cats, and even small critters like hamsters can sometimes harass or intimidate cats while the owner isn’t around. Your kitty knows that curling up next to you at night is the best way to ensure the other pets leave them alone.

Cats feel vulnerable when sleeping, so having their trusted human nearby gives them a sense of security. The companionship and protection you provide helps your cat feel relaxed enough to get some shut-eye without worrying about being pestered. Simply having you close by deters the other animals from messing with them while they sleep. Your cat feels that no one will bother them as long as you are right there.

Sleeping beside you is your cat’s way of using you as a human shield against annoying pets. It allows them to get some peaceful rest instead of being harassed all night. Knowing your presence keeps them safe, your kitty can sleep more soundly snuggled up next to you.

(Source: https://www.quora.com/Do-most-cats-sleep-with-their-owners)

Cats Like Routine and Rituals

Cats are creatures of habit and like to follow a daily routine. If your cat is used to snuggling up next to you at night when you go to bed, they will come to expect and look forward to this ritual. Just like people, cats find comfort and security in habitual behaviors and interactions. Sleeping beside you every night gives your cat a sense of reassurance that everything is as it should be.1

Once a pattern is established, your cat is likely to protest loudly if you shut them out of the bedroom or change their usual sleeping spot. They have come to see sleeping with you not just as a comfortable arrangement, but as a reassuring ritual. This pre-bedtime routine signals to your cat that it’s time to settle in for sleep. So if you allow your cat to sleep on or near you at night, don’t be surprised if they insist on it every night. It provides comfort and stability for them.

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