We all love when our cats get comfortable with us, especially at night, when they choose to come to sleep with us on their own accord.
While not all cats like to sleep right beside or on their owners, the majority of cats will feel comfortable enough to sleep by the foot of their owner’s bed or on their owner’s feet. But why is that?
As is with most things cat-related, the reasons cats exhibit specific behaviours is because of their innate primal instincts. That said, there are several reasons why cats find it preferable to sleep by their owners at night, and you may be surprised by some of the reasons
Whether your cat sleeps by your head or by your feet, know that it takes a lot of love for a cat to feel comfortable enough to sleep with someone. Though this is true, don’t be surprised if your cat doesn’t sleep with you every night.
At the moment, Beau sleeps with us every couple of days, and Kalista sleeps with us every night. These habits weren’t always the case, and in fact, Beau used to sleep with us while Kalista didn’t.
LET’S PROTECT EACH OTHER!
Cats like to stay in packs and tend to be worried about their surroundings. It’s one of the most common reasons cats headbutt or rub themselves against you and sometimes even why they “make muffins” or knead you.
Your cat may be sleeping at your legs to be able to quickly access you if there is a danger or threat. Cats, being light sleepers, will wake you up to either protect you or at least warn you dependant on the risk.
You may also notice that some cats will choose to sleep under the blankets for added warmth and protection if they are extra scared.
I DON’T WANT TO GET CRUSHED!
Have you ever slept next to someone and they roll over in their sleep? Did they manage to avoid your arm, or were woken up with them crushing you?
Well, if you’re feeling crushed, imagine how much you could hurt your cat if you were to roll over onto them.
Cats are aware of the fact that they are quite a bit smaller than we are, so often they try to avoid being around places we hold more weight (i.e. our torsos and bellies.) That way, if we were to roll over in the middle of the night, there is a higher chance that your cat will wake up and escape. (You can learn more about some cat sleeping habits here.)
Humans rolling over is the top reason cats choose to sleep by their owner’s head. (As there’s a lower risk of their owner crushing them if they were to turn over.)
YOU’RE MY ALARM CLOCK; I’LL FOLLOW YOUR ROUTINE
Ever notice that whenever feeding time is getting close, your cat will go to the kitchen and wait?
Our cats are the same, and they get fed four times a day!
Each time feeding comes around; you’re bound to know because Kalista will be chewing on your leg, and Beau will be standing on his stool as if he owns the place (which I guess he kind of does)
Your cat may want to sleep with you at night because you help them build a stronger routine or schedule. Since cats like to sleep for the majority of the day, they appreciate any time that they can spend relaxing next to their pet parents.
This ties into the first point of “cats feel safer while they are sleeping with their pet parents,” making cats associate certain times of the night/morning as “extra safe” for long hours of higher quality sleep.
Be ready for some rude awakenings if your cat wakes up before you and it’s breakfast time.
YOU’RE MY FAVOURITE!
Now, I don’t want you to start fighting with your partner over the fact that you may be your cat’s favourite, but cats are known to sleep with the person who they feel the closest with.
Lucky for us, our cats tend to sleep with whoever is sleeping, and often I get to sleep in later than my partner, so… that person is me!
Cats are territorial animals and have to know what exactly is happening at all times.
Their need for knowledge is why kittens are always extra curious, and you’ll find them seemingly bumping into objects or pushing their paws against their favourite spots. Cats do this as a way of marking places as “safe” or “secure.”
A recognizable scent is also a big reason cats choose to sleep on their owners, as this is a way of marking someone as their family or “safe.”
Now, this isn’t to say that a cat will only be friends with one member of the family. Cats recognize that a family can have multiple people and will be affectionate with various family members if the cat(s) feel like they are safe.
That said, it is not uncommon for a cat to sleep with multiple members of the family, seek attention from or play with any member of the family. They may, however, show a preference towards one member of the family.
Well, if you’re not a huge fan of cat beds or don’t have one, your little one may just be using you for the same person at night. Cats will most commonly sleep by their owner’s feet at night and by their heads in the morning. Sound familiar?
If you’re interested in giving your cat something warm to sleep in when you’re not in bed, I recommend checking out some of our favourite cat beds.
HEY, BUT MY CAT USED TO SLEEP ON MY CHEST AND THEN STOPPED… WHY?
Even though Beau is an older cat, he will still sleep on our chests occasionally.
Sleeping on the chest is a behaviour that is developed from kittenhood, as a cat will feel safer when they hear another heartbeat. Kittens will sleep very close to their mothers, especially while their mother is still nursing them. So, your cat is reminded of this period when they sleep close to your heart.
Some cats will prefer to sleep close to their siblings, especially as they become bonded. So, if you’re ever in a situation where your first cat stops sleeping next to you and chooses to sleep next to their sibling instead, you can breathe out a sigh of relief because it usually means that your cats are getting along.
If a kitten is unhappy with the amount that their owner moves, they may begin sleeping at their owner’s feet.
While your cat loves you, their beauty sleep is more important.
IS THERE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT WHEN MY CAT SLEEPS AT MY FEET?
Not really, you can take it as a “you’re doing a great job, and they trust you a lot.” Your cat feels very safe with you, and there are no negative reasons your cat will do this.
If you don’t want your cat to sleep by your feet anymore, you can try to create a separate bed in the same room as you. You can make this out of blankets and pillows, or you can check out some excellent cat trees or beds for your little ones to sleep in at night.
Whether or not your cat is sleeping by your feet daily or is sleeping by your feet every so often, it usually means that they feel safe around you.
If you want to encourage your cat to sleep by your feet nightly, you can try to pet them by your feet before you go to sleep. You can also give them a couple of treats by your bed to get them to associate your bed as a safe space.
So pet parents, I’m curious, do your cats sleep by your feet? Who is their favourite human? Let me know in their comments below!