Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Pillow? I Can Explain!

By Phil / September 11, 2018
Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Pillow

Are you looking for an answer to a question that has numerous cat owners searching for reasoning – “Why does my cat sleep on my pillow at night?

I can provide some useful and interesting insight that will help explain your cat’s behavior.

But a word of warning, I can’t necessarily help you convince them to sleep elsewhere!

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Pillow?

There are four main reasons why cats like to sleep on our pillows. Once you read them I think you’ll not only find yourself understanding why they choose your pillow, you might even come to like it!

1. Your Cat Is Keeping an Eye on You

When your cat sleeps on your pillow they are keeping an eye on you

Despite being solitary creatures for the most part, cat’s do form a hierarchy within the household and do look out for us (I know, they have a weird way of showing it, right?)

When it’s time to sleep, cats are aware they are at their most vulnerable. As are others around them.

It ties back to their primal and innate behavior to sleep near other cats they trust in the wild and look out for one another.

By sleeping on your pillow your cat is positioning themselves with their back against a wall or headboard, giving them a clear view of you and any other movement in the room.

2. Your Cat Is ”Sharing” Your Warmth

Your cat is sharing your warmth when they sleep by you

It’s no secret that most cats like to find somewhere warm to sleep. Temperatures drop in the house overnight with no heating on, and not being ones to sleep under blankets the hottest spot in the house is probably your pillow.

We form the perfect heat generating funnel too if you think about it. We wrap ourselves up all nice and snuggly to get warm, then the body part that lets most of the heat escape is our heads.

Having a pillow that’s too hot is a very real problem with certain types of material, such as memory foam. So it’s a perfect spot for kitties, even if it means they push us off and hog it sometimes.

3. Your Cat Loves You and Wants to Be Near

Your cat loves you and wants to be near you when they sleep on your pillow

Aaawwwweee, right? It’s such a lovely thought. Your cat is on your pillow because it’s one of the closest spots they can find to be near you while you both sleep.

And it’s true. There have been numerous studies that have shown cats crave the attention of humans and enjoy being around us. (At least a lot more than they generally show us.)

A study carried out by researchers at the Oregon State University (source) involved giving a group of cats a choice between interaction with a human, toys, food, or some other distractions.

Surprisingly, half of the cats chose to interact with a human over the other temptations. I hate to be cynical, but it couldn’t have been feeding time when they carried out this study!

Either way, it confirms what most cat owners already know, but other people looking in (I’m talking about dog owners here) don’t believe. Cat’s love us!

If this means giving up half, or more than half of your pillow, I think it’s a reasonable compromise.

4. Your Cat Can’t Find Anywhere Else Better

Your Cat Can't Find Anywhere Else Better When They Sleep on Your Pillow

It’s a lovely thought that your cat comes under one of the headings above. But there is a chance that they sleep on your pillow for no other reason than it’s the most comfortable spot they can find.

Cats are notorious for not sleeping in cats beds or other areas we’ve prepared for them, but how many other places are there in your home as soft and snuggly as your pillow?

If your cat is bothering you in the night try setting up a couple of places where you want them to sleep that are just as, if not more comfortable than your pillow.

In an extreme circumstance, this might even mean giving up your pillow and putting it in their cat bed for them.

This is a quick way to find out if its the pillow, location, or sleeping next to you that’s the most important thing for them.


I hope this article, “why does my cat sleep on my pillow?” was useful and helped you better understand why your cat chooses to sleep by your head.

Does your cat sleep on your pillow? Have you figured out why they’re sleeping there and what they like about it?

I’d love to hear about it, just drop me a note below, thanks.

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