Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Shoulder?

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Shoulder

Looking for answers to; why does my cat sleep on my shoulder? Or, why does my cat snuggle in around my neck and shoulders?

There are some basic needs and wants cats have when they are looking for somewhere to sleep. By understanding what they look for, it helps us better understand our feline friends and why they choose certain places to sleep.

Even if it’s on your shoulders!

I’ll say off the top that whether you like it or not if your cat is choosing to sleep on your shoulders you should feel honored!

If you read on I’ll explain some of the reasons why your cat is demonstrating this behavior in more detail…

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Shoulder?

It's Nice and Warm on Your Shoulders

It’s a Sign That They Are Very Secure and Trust You

You should count yourself lucky if your cat likes to sleep on your shoulders. You are probably not seeing it this way if it’s uncomfortable or annoying, but it’s literally one of the most reassuring signs that your cat feels perfectly comfortable with you.

The two main things cats look for when finding somewhere to sleep is security and warmth. The longer they’ve lived with you the more secure they’ll feel, which is why most cats don’t start off sleeping on their owners.

It’s also very common behavior for cats to find somewhere high to sleep as this feels more secure.

For example, does your cat sleep up high on a cat tree, perch, on top of cabinets, etc? Also, do they sleep with their back to the wall facing the doorway?

A lot of cats instinctively sleep like this as it allows them to see if anyone is approaching by opening an eye. Plus, their ears are facing forward ready to catch any new noises.

So, if they are sleeping on your shoulders and wrapping themselves around your neck this is a very clear sign that they are willing to let their guard down around you. Just don’t let them down by doing anything sudden to freak them out!

Your Shoulders Are Comfortable

Putting aside all the instinctual and primal behaviors of a cat – sometimes they just want to be comfortable.

If this means sleeping on your shoulders, then so be it. This sleeping position will probably be ticking the boxes for some of the other reasons I cover in this article, but let us not ignore the fact that you may just be very comfortable to sleep on.

It’s Nice and Warm on Your Shoulders

It's a Sign That They Are Very Secure and Trust You

As I mentioned above, one of the main things cats look for when finding somewhere to sleep is warmth. As most of us do.

I’m sure you’ll agree that body warmth is the best kind of warmth too, right? So, who can blame them for snuggling in and sharing some of your warmth.

It goes both ways too. Cats can be nice little fluffy water bottles, so make the most of it. If your cat likes to sleep at the end of the bed, or on your pillows as most do, they might just be working their way up towards you.

They like the Sound and Feeling of You Breathing

The sound and rhythm of breathing is soothing for a lot of people, and cats too. Personally, I practice breathing techniques to meditate and help me relax. I’m pretty well in-tune with breathing and find it incredibly relaxing.

Cats become very familiar with our smell, breathing, and the other sounds we make. So, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when they find relaxing on us, well, relaxing.

It’s funny because I find listening to either of my cats purring really relaxing. One of my cats used to sleep on my pillow behind my head and after a quick fuss to set her off purring I’d drift off to sleep.

They Are Showing That They ‘Own’ You

They Are Showing That They 'Own' You

Any cat owner should know all too well that their cat is the boss around the home, it’s actually they who own us. Right?

It’s something we all come to terms with. I’m perfectly fine with it, I mean, I don’t really have much of a choice. But it’s fine.

By embracing the hierarchy that puts my cat above me I get to enjoy things like having her sleep on my shoulders when she chooses to. So, I’m cool with it.

If your cat sleeps on you it may just be their way of showing you and any other pets you have in the home that you’re theirs. Whenever it suits them of course!

Can You Train a Cat to Sleep on Your Shoulders?

You can train your cat to stand, sit, or lay on your shoulders. I’ve seen cats riding on their owner’s shoulders plenty of times in public. It’s always a little amusing and usual, but they’re there because they want to be.

I wouldn’t say you can train your cat to sleep there though. Cats sleep when they want, not on command.

If you’re making your shoulders a cool and comfy place to hang out however, there is a good chance they will end up napping there. You just might have to be patient and not fidget or move too much!

To start training your cat, just simply place or encourage your cat to climb onto your shoulders. Then praise them and give them a little treat when they are there.

There isn’t much more to training a cat than that in most instances. Just repeat the process often, and eventually, when you ask your cat to hop up onto your shoulders they will associate doing so with praise and treats and willingly do so.

TL;DR Summary

If you’re after a quick answer as to why your cat sleeps on your shoulders it’s more than likely because of one or more of the following reasons;

  • Your cat likes the warmth of your shoulders
  • It’s comfortable
  • They like the sound of you breathing
  • They like your smell and being close to you

Whatever the reason, it’s a sign that your cat loves you and feels very comfortable and secure being near you.

Most cats are picky about where and how they sleep. They like to be able to keep an eye out on what’s going on and be poised to flee the scene if necessary.

So, if they are letting their guard down and sleeping all snuggled in on your shoulders they are trusting you to keep them safe – don’t let them down!

If you found this article interesting, you’ll also love – why does my cat sleep on my chest?

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