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Some cats prefer sleeping in a secluded place while others can share a bed with their human caregivers without any problems.
Most pet owners treasure the intimate interaction they have with their feline friends as they snuggle up in their blankets during sleep time.
So, why does your cat sleep pressed up against you?
Could it be a leftover behavior from kittenhood or are they trying to get comfortable with the feel of emitted body heat?
Several reasons may prompt your lovely feline to snuggle up with you during bedtime, ranging from behavioral to instinctive ones.
In this post, we are going to take a deep look into the possible reasons for this behavior and highlight several instances when it should be raising a concern.
A Quick Look into Cat Sleeping Behavior
Cats are widely known for their deep-rooted love to sleep. An average adult cat can spend between 12 – 16 hours in a day sleeping, which feels like a lot of time to humans.
It is not uncommon to find kittens or elderly cats sleeping for short sessions of up to 16 – 20 hours in a single day.
Domestic cats have retained the habit of sleeping a lot during the daytime to preserve energy for making simulated hunts during the dawn and dusk.
This instinctual behavior stems from their wild feline ancestors who adjusted their sleeping patterns to conform to their hunting needs.
Another common distinguishing factor about feline sleeping behavior is that they can have several restorative naps (catnaps) throughout the day, as opposed to having a long bedtime session.
During this short napping session, your cat is probably in light sleep even though they may appear to be deep in slumberland. This habit is also tied to their instinctive nature.
Even though wild cats were predators, some larger animals could prey on them, raising the need to sleep lightly while being aware of their surroundings.
8 Reasons Your Cat Sleep Pressed Up Against You
The following are some of the reasons why your cat may join you on your bed for a quick round of cuddles and snuggles during sleep:
1. Your cat loves and trusts you
Cats have intuitive ways of showing affection and trust to their human caregivers, one of them being pressing against us during sleep.
This is a telltale sign that your feline friend loves your company, and they will gladly snuggle up with you during bedtime, especially after a long day spent outdoors.
Your furry friend is attracted to sleep in places where they can be guaranteed their safety, and what better place to do so than on your bed?
2. They’re seeking comfort
The other possible reason for your cat’s sleeping behavior is that they’re seeking a comfy place to spend their night time.
Your cat may choose to sleep closely beside you because it provides comfort and coziness to them, which may not necessarily be fun to you.
It’s highly possible that your feline friend is already used to the coziness of their furnished bed, and they are now seeking to break from that monotony.
It’s for this reason that you may want to invest in a cat bed and get a variety of comfy bedding to spruce up your kitty’s sleeping surface.
3. Your cat wants some warmth
The other most common reason why your snuggly cat may press against you is because they’re taking advantage of your body heat.
You must have noticed how your cat soaks in sunshine rays passing through the window during daytime, or how they sit pretty on your computer for some heat.
Your body emits substantial heat that can keep your feline friend warmed up, especially during those chilly nights in the wintertime.
4. Hormonal changes
Your cat may sleep while rubbing against you because they are experiencing substantial hormonal changes. This is most likely to occur in cats who have not been spayed or neutered.
A female cat on heat may try as much as possible to share a bed with you due to the heightened levels of estrogen hormone.
The spike in estrogen levels makes female cats on heat rub against their guardians, pace, or get into a mating position when being petted.
You may also notice your cat losing interest in their favorite meals while on heat, and some will lick their genitals for extended periods.
If your female cat cannot find a mate within your home, they may try to escape in an attempt to attract male cats from outside.
Pregnant cats are also likely to become more loving due to hormonal changes, making them stick by your side and press against your body when sleeping.
Another hormone responsible for cat happiness is oxytocin, which is reported to increase by 12% when your cat bonds with you.
This increase could make them have the heightened urge to bond with you more by cuddling and pressing up against you during bedtime.
5. Territorial marking
Your beloved feline may engage in ‘pillowing’ behavior while napping because they want to mark you as their own.
Cats are highly territorial animals, and they love claiming specific spots and people to be part of their group.
They do this by leaving scent and pheromones on their favorite humans, which makes them feel contented and assured of their territory.
Territorial marking behavior in cats is often seen in households with multiple cats. It is a clear way your cat communicates to their colleagues about their claimed spaces and persons.
Your cat may also press up against you while sleeping because they think they own the bed and you are now part of their territory.
6. Your cat enjoys social napping
Your feline friend could be passionately nestling against you because they enjoy napping in groups.
This is a leftover behavior from kittenhood, where your cat could bundle with their mommy and siblings during sleep time.
Now that your kitty is all grown and they no longer have the option to nuzzle with their siblings, you automatically become the next target for a relaxed naptime.
If your cat is pressing against your ribs and rubbing your chest, they’re likely enjoying the soothing heartbeats that remind them of being in a litter while guarded by their loving mother cat.
7. For protection and security
We already mentioned that cats are both predators and prey. This makes them to be extremely cautious during their vulnerable moments when sleeping.
Your feline friend may choose to nap while pressing on you because they appreciate your protection against potential threats.
This is most likely to occur when you bring a new dog to your home, and your resident cat may see them as an impending threat or danger.
8. Your cat is stressed or anxious
If your feline friend is suddenly seeking solace by sleeping on your side while pressing hard, it may be an indication of unpredictable emotional health.
Your cat is probably seeking reassurance and a sense of security which can help in toning down distress or nervousness.
This is a sign that you are a calming pet parent who soothes your feline friend during nervous situations.
Excessive meowing, hissing, and growling are some of the other signs that show your cat is stressed or anxious about something.
Should You Let Your Cat Sleep Next to You?
Whether or not to allow your cat to press up against you during sleep is a matter of preference and a combination of several factors.
Sharing a bed with your feline friend is a good sign of accepting their affection, love, and trust, and above all, it offers them a comfortable napping spot.
If you enjoy your cat’s company and the comforting effect of snuggling with you, then there’s no harm in sharing a bed with them.
However, it’s important to remember that sleeping with your cat on the same bed can disrupt your sleep when they press and nuzzle with you.
If you’re allergic to pet dander and cat fur, allowing your furbaby to share a bed with you may increase your sensitivity and cause negative reactions.
When You Should Be Worried
If your cat, who was used to sleeping in their furnished spaces, suddenly sneaks into your bedroom for a cuddly nap with you, it might be a sign of nervousness, stress, or anxiety.
Cats will always seek a peaceful and secure place to ease tension when they need relief or reassurance.
We recommend that you observe your cat’s overall changes in other behavior to narrow down to specific underlying problems.
Changes in eating habits, grooming habits, toileting routines, restlessness, or showing clear signs of discomfort are reasons that show your cat is suffering in silence.
Plan your next trip to the vet to get your cat examined for potential underlying causes to give room for prompt treatment and recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why does my cat sleep on me?
Your cat is probably seeking warmth in the form of emitted body heat. It’s also possible for your cat to sleep on you as a way of marking territory by leaving scent and pheromones.
Keep in mind that cats have different ways of showing love and affection to their guardians, one of which includes snuggling with them during bedtime.
2. Why does my cat sleep pressed up against me but not my partner?
Your cat is ‘pillowing’ with you and not your spouse because they feel more protected and comfortable with you.
You may have bonded with your cat from their kittenhood days and they have since developed a strong bond with you compared to other family members.
3. Why does my cat sleep pressed up against me suddenly?
Your cat could be stressed or nervous about something and they’re seeking reassurance and comfort by cuddling up with you during bedtime.
We recommend looking through your cat’s body language to find out the potential problems going through their mind and figuring out a practical way of solving them.
You may have to check with your vet if it’s something that cannot be soothed by creating a calm environment.
Your cat may sleep while cuddling up next to you as a heartwarming display of love, affection, and trust. It’s also possible that they require your security or protection from potential threats.
Your feline friend’s desire to spend their valuable sleeping time with you is enough evidence of the natural bond you have built over the years.
Whether you choose to embrace your kitty on your bed or to redirect them to an alternative comfy surface, depends on your preferences and the circumstances.
As long as sharing a bed with your cat doesn’t cause health problems or disrupt your sleep, there’s nothing wrong with letting them feel cozy by your side.
If you feel like your cat’s sudden need to cuddle up with you is caused by an underlying condition, we recommend checking with your vet as soon as possible.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.