Why Do Cats Sleep Near Humans? (And Vice Versa)

Why Do Cats Sleep with Humans

Most cats love sleeping on the bed with their owners. I know if I wake up and one of my cats aren’t in my room somethings up, that’s for sure.

There are some pros and cons to having your cat on your bed. Some people have to fight to claim their pillow back for example, while for some, hearing a cat purring in the night is really soothing.

I think it’s fair to say that some people don’t like it, some people love it, and there is plenty of middle ground.

Where do you fall on the scale from loving to hating having your cat sleeping on your bed with you?

In this article I thought I’d help shed some insight into, ‘why do cats sleep with humans?’ to help you better understand this cat behavior.

Here are some of the reasons that’ll help explain this behavior for you:

Why Do Cats Sleep with Humans?

Our beds are the most comfy place for cats to sleep next to us

Cats like to Be Near Us

Without cats liking to be near us while we sleep they wouldn’t choose to do it, would they?

Admittedly, they typically only like to be near the humans they have built up a bond with (owners), and it takes some cats longer than others to be this comfortable.

But, if you’re waking up to find your cat sleeping near you it’s a sure sign that they love you and are very comfortable with you. Take it as a compliment.

It’s just that giving up your pillow to your cat or having them nibbling on your ear can be a little annoying!

They Can Keep a Protective Eye on Us

Put all the jokes about cats not caring about us other than to be fed, fussed, and played with as and when they want it. Cats love us, and they do their bit to keep a protective eye over us.

Cats are in a higher state of alert at night. Even when they are sleeping, their ears are picking up the faintest of noises, and they will position themselves where they can see anything approaching.

So by sleeping near us they can keep an eye on us and make sure we’re safe. May you sleep safer in this knowledge from this day on!

Our Beds Are the Comfiest Place to Sleep!

Why do you sleep in your bed? Because it’s the best place to sleep, right? It’s comfy, warm, snuggly…I’m feeling like curling up in bed and taking a nap just writing this…

Anyway, back on track. If your bed is the best place to sleep, why wouldn’t your cat also choose to sleep on it?

I know what you’re thinking. You bought a perfectly good cat bed for your cat to sleep in. But cats are cats, they don’t always (or often) do what we want or expect.

Plus, your bed is way bigger and comfier than their cat bed. And it has you in it adding some extra warmth. Get it now?

Cats Are Driven by Scents

Cats are lead by scents. They like your scent, they like marking their territory with their own scent, and they like combining the two.

They get a good deal of comfort from being around your scent all night while they sleep, and likewise, they like leaving their scent around your room. You may have witnessed this if you’ve seen them rubbing their face on things in your room.


Does your cat sleep next to you or at the end of your bed?

Do you have any funny stories or questions regarding this article, Why do cats sleep with humans?

Just drop me a comment below, thanks.

23 thoughts on “Why Do Cats Sleep Near Humans? (And Vice Versa)”

    1. Yep, that sounds like a typical cat. How old is he? The older they are the more time they spend on the bed in my experience, and who can blame them!

  1. I have a lot of pillows on my bed, I pretty much sleep in half sitting position. My one cat< Maggie May loves to sleep behind my head on top of pillows and "talk" to me.

  2. My cat sleeps by my head every night and sucks on my ear lobe. I was told she would grow out of it by one year old but now she is four and still doing it.

    1. Hi Victoria, one of my cats used to do the same, it used to drive me mad, not so much because its a bit yucky but because it tickled like crazy!

  3. My cat, Harley Quinn was abandoned by her mom at ten days old during hurricane Harvey with a brother and sister as well. She came to live with me around 5-6 weeks old due to extenuating circumstances with the lady weening her onto solid food (she was on solid food when she came to me). Her favorite spot had been in, yes…IN my armpit. She puts me between her and the door even when she decides she wants the end of the bed instead. I assume it’s because I’m seen as her safety. Anyways, she’s my baby and she came to me a couple years after my last baby passed away. Her name was Zoe and she slept at my head, with a paw on my arm. Both Zoe and Harley always knew when I needed comfort. I’m disabled with a painful genetic condition and they are very intuitive about knowing when I’m hurting and come to cuddle with me then. I love cats and always will love them!

    1. Thanks for sharing that Derek, and I checked out your Instagram – Harley Quinn looks like a character! You’re right too, cats are very intuitive when it comes to picking up on how we’re feeling, especially when we need them, and they need us!

  4. My 2 big boys compete in who can get closer to mom while she’s sleeping? I have been rudely awoken by having my throat stepped/slept on! They will stretch their bodies over my neck as I’m sleeping. It’s all this or I wake up with them tucked in around my legs or under my arms (which is waaaaaay more comfy). Needy babies -_-

  5. I have 2 fur babies and they both sleep in the bed, wherever they want! And my husband is such a sport, he crams himself somewhere so as not to disrupt. 😻

  6. I have 7 cats mainly rescued they like to sleep on my bed I find it comforting especially in winter recently I lost my partner my eldest cat sleeps right next to me now we don’t give them enough credit my cats know when I’m feeling down and always trying to cuddle me

    1. Absolutely Fran, thanks for sharing. That’s quite the pack you have, I’m envious! Glad they bring you some joy and support in these times.

  7. My cat sleeps at the foot of the bed, but at first he’d sleep near my head. I think he has grown afraid of the reflection from the bathroom mirror, as now he won’t even come near the top of the bed, which is in the mirror reflective area. Anything I can do to get him back up near me, or not afraid of mirrors? He doesn’t mind the mirrored closed doors he walks right up to though.

  8. l have two cats both sleep on the bed one gets to sleep across my chest with his head tucked under my chin. If cold he gets under the quilt. Th girl rolls up in a ball under my arm and goes to sleep. I think l am their cushion.

  9. My big boy likes to lay full length on me especially when I lay on my side ,I often wake up with a cat on me 😊😊

  10. I adopted my kitten when he was just a couple weeks old. His mother is feral, she had her litter under our firewood, this little guy made his way out from under the wood, his eyes were still closed, I didn’t know where he came from until a few days later we spotted the mother cat on the terrace in our yard. I took the kitten and tried to give him back to the mother, she seemed uninterested in the kitten so I continued to care for him. At night I wake up with him on top of my chest cuddled up. He is a big beautiful boy of seven months. He is always by my side, when I am relaxing on my bed or sofa with phone in hand he plants himself between me and the phone or table and lays down on my chest.

  11. Peter Maynard

    My cat has a habit of pawing at my arm or shoulder if she wishes to climb under the covers (more usual on cold nights of course otherwise she is happy on top of the bed). This is repeated a few times if I do not respond and then if I still do not respond she raises the ante and gives me a (relatively) gentle bite next. The bites become successively harder till I do respond but it is never so bad as to cause real pain or draw blood. It’s just a warning that she is unhappy that I am not fulfilling my duty. It is still hellish cute though, and puts me in my place.

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