Cats will often display a number of perplexing behaviors, ranging from staring at seemingly nothing to deciding to sleep on top of you during the night. Some of these behaviors are easier to understand than others, with some of them making a lot more sense even if you don’t always know what they are thinking.
If you notice that your cat regularly enjoys lying down on top of you, you might want to know what is going on in your cat’s mind.
There are generally a few different reasons why cats will choose to sleep on top of their human companions.
Here are some of the reasons why your cat may want to sleep on your chest, regardless of how you feel about it:
Reason #1: Your Cat Likes It Hot
If you have had a cat in your home for any length of time you will notice that your cat enjoys sitting anywhere that is warmer than room temperature. Whether this is your laptop, your phone, or even just a little spot of sunshine coming in through the window, most cats will actively seek out the warmest areas of the house to take a nap.
Your body temperature is going to be well above room temperature, which means that in your cat’s eyes, you are a warm place to sit much like a heated cushion.
If you have tucked yourself into bed and relaxing under the blankets, you may feel even warmer to your cat because of that extra trapped warmth.
Needless to say, a cat will recognize that this is a prime area to get some much coveted warmth and they will plop right down on your chest.
So, no, your cat isn’t trying to suffocate you in your sleep, they’re just finding the coziest spot in the house. It just so happens to be your chest.
You should take it as a sign of affection, as your cat is clearly comfortable enough to sleep with you.
Reason #2: Your Cat Appreciates You
There have been many studies done that focus on how cats see their owners and whether or not cats are truly affectionate creatures despite their reputation as having a somewhat aloof disposition. Just about all of these studies show that cats are perfectly capable of affection and are actually quite affectionate animals.
Once a cat has bonded to you, there’s a good chance that it will seek you out when it wants comfort.
For some cats, sleeping on top of you is a form of bonding.
If you have multiple cats, you will see that some of them will sleep close to each other as a form of affection, even using each other as a pillow. This behavior is known as pillowing.
No matter if you have multiple cats or just one cat, they will see you as another cat, meaning that they will be more than happy to engage in the pillowing behavior with you.
Cats have a unique position as being both the hunters and the hunted in the wild, which means that they are hardwired to defend themselves and to keep an eye out for predators when they are vulnerable, even if they are raised completely indoors.
In a cat’s mind, it recognizes that sleep is a vulnerable time as anything could attack the cat out of the blue.
When a cat chooses to sleep with you (or on top of you), it is choosing to comfort itself by knowing that if something were to happen, you would have the cat’s back and your cat would protect you. It is a way of helping the cat feel more secure and comfortable at night. It indicates great trust between you and your cat.
Another reason to consider is that some cats may be comforted by the sounds your body makes at night. Cats can hear things that people typically cannot, which means that they can hear how we breathe, our beating hearts, and digestion.
Some cats may associate the rhythmic heartbeat and the steady breathing with comfort, choosing to sleep on your chest during the night so that it can be near these sounds all night long.
Just think of yourself as your cat’s very own white noise machine!
Reason #3: Your Cat is Marking Their Territory
While most people know about territory marking through urination or scent, another way that cats will mark their territory is simply by sitting on it. Not only does this put their scent onto you, but it also shows any other cats in the house that you have been claimed by the cat who has chosen to sit on your chest.
They may also be marking the sheets, blankets, and the bed underneath you as part of their territory as well.
This behavior is another one that you should take to be flattering, as your cat is doing everything it physically can to claim you as its own because it cares about you that much.
Is It Good If Your Cat Sleeps with You?
When all is said and done, one of the most important things for a cat parent to know is that even if you do not necessarily enjoy the feeling of being smothered by your cat sleeping on your chest, your cat is doing it out of genuine love and affection for you.
For some cats, it is all about trusting you completely and being near another “cat” of the household by sleeping on you.
For other cats, it may be more focused on being as comfortable as possible and you are one of the most comfortable things in the house for the cat to sleep on.
Many cats will do this to seek comfort and security throughout their sleep, as they likely see you as the protector or the guardian of the house.
Even if you don’t always enjoy the cat sleeping on top of you every single night, it is important to know that this is a behavior that shows that your cat completely trusts you and cares about you.