- It is not a substitute for the help of a professional veterinarian.
It’s a familiar image for cat owners: you’re in your pajamas, you’ve finally found the optimal sleeping position and now the house cat is joining you. A quick scan of the area is all it takes to determine that your face is the perfect place to park his furry butt.
You’ve given your cat a comfortable bed, perches, and everything else in your house to sleep on. With all these options, why does your cat keep sleeping? she?
Cats are mysterious creatures, but there are several theories as to why cats like to sleep on us.
Cat sleep is different from human sleep.
If we want to understand why our cats sleep on us, it helps to consider how cats’ sleep patterns differ from ours.
Cats replenish their energy with multiple naps throughout the day, as opposed to one long block of sleep like humans. But these “naps” usually remain in light sleep mode and rarely dip into deep sleep.
Why is that? It boils down to a cat’s role as a natural hunter.
Unlike humans, cats are always ready to attack their prey or defend themselves against a larger predator. Even when they seem to be freezing, their hearing and sense of smell are still keen enough to let them react when needed.
Since cats are always ready to go, it makes sense for them to seek extra protection by snuggling up against their owner. They give your cat an extra level of security while they sleep when they are most vulnerable.
Why is your cat sleeping on you?
1. They crave warmth
Have you ever noticed how your cat looks for a heat source when it’s ready for its nap? You may have found it rolled up next to the heater or buried in a pile of dirty laundry.
In other words, cats like it hot.
According to PetMD, a cat’s normal temperature drops 102 degrees Fahrenheit. By snuggling up against you, they can maintain that temperature without too much effort. This explains why cats like to sleep in sunny windows or cooped up in boxes. When it comes to sleep, warmth is more important than comfort for cats.
2. They mark their territory
PetMD also points out that cats are territorial creatures. They claim their territory by marking it with their scent. So when they sleep on you, they mark you and your bed as theirs. Apparently we should be flattered by this behavior.
3. Cats seek security
In the wild, a cat will look for the safest place to rest between hunts. In the house this place is with you.
“Cats are usually at the top of the food chain, but they still need to be wary of danger,” says Dr. Zay Satchu, Senior Vet at Bond Vet in New York. “Being close to their humans makes it easier for them to rest, knowing there’s some safety there.”
Sleep is a vulnerable time, so your cat is showing that she trusts you and feels happy and safe with you. This behavior begins in kittenhood.
“Cats are kept in litters, and when they are very young, up to about 12 weeks of age, sleeping usually means lying on top of each other, crammed in against the mother,” says Dr. Satchu. “That’s how they’re raised during the weeks of increasing socialization and like other things they learn during this time, it carries over into lifelong habits.”
Your cat sleeps with you for comfort and security. You’re the next best thing to his mother.
4. It’s a bonding exercise
Cats have earned an unfair reputation for being aloof and hostile. But as cat owners, we know this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our cats are as affectionate as they are sociable. You want to connect with us.
The cat behavior consultant, Dr. Mikel Delgado told Catster that it’s not uncommon for cats to lie down. It’s when they use another cat as a pillow (nice!). If it’s the only cat in the house, she’ll be happy to use you as an alternative.
This tactile component of the cat-human bond is your cat’s way of telling you, “I love you.” I want to be near you and spend time with you.
It’s hard to disagree.
5. It may be hormonal
Research has shown that dogs release the feel-good hormone oxytocin when in contact with their owners. According to VetStreet, it’s not clear if the same applies to cats. But that’s not a far-fetched theory.
Why Does Your Cat Sleep On Certain Body Parts?
Does your cat prefer to sleep on a certain part of your body? Here are some possible explanations.
Your cat prefers to sleep on your head
There can be several reasons why cats like to sleep on your head.
- your head is hot Its head gives off constant heat throughout the night, making your pillow an attractive spot for your cat to kick up hay.
- Your head is (mostly) calm. Restless sleeper? To avoid being tossed around by your restless arms and legs all night, a cat will be drawn to your head.
- Smells good. Your cat likes the smell of your hair and shampoo. Cats have a stronger sense of smell than we do and are attracted to your scent.
Your cat prefers to sleep on your chest
Your chest is a favorite second sleeping place for your cat. One explanation for this is that a cat may be attracted to sounds coming from your body. They can lie on your chest because they are comforted by the sounds of your heartbeat and even breathing.
dr Satchu confirms this theory. “Cats probably find an advantage in our very slow and quiet breathing patterns while we sleep,” she says. That’s when we’re calmest and most cats tend to repeat the same feelings even if they get a good 18 hours of sleep every day!
Your cat prefers to sleep on your lap
Even when you’re not in bed, most cats are happy to snuggle up for a nap on their master’s lap. Not only is it warm, it’s also the perfect spot for extra cuddles.
Why do cats sleep with their backs to us?
Some cat owners are offended by this behavior. But your cat is not rude. Show Confidence.
As Pam Johnson-Bennett, cat behavior expert and best-selling author, says, “Because a cat is both predator and prey, it wants to position itself in the safest place. If he turns his back on you while calming down, it shows that he trusts you and may even be scanning the area for the two of you.
Should you let your cat sleep with you?
Our short answer: It’s really a personal choice.
There are several pros and cons to letting your cat in your bed.
Benefits of letting your cat sleep with you
- Relaxation. Studies show that petting our cats or dogs releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin. It also lowers our cortisol (stress) levels. Sounds like a recipe for a perfect dream!
- Connection. If you’re away from home most of the day, bedtime might be the best time to catch up on some cuddles.
- Cozy and warm. There’s no denying the cuddle factor when it comes to letting your cat sleep in your bed.
Disadvantages of letting your cat sleep with you
- It can disturb your sleep. As a general rule, cats are more active at night (although they can adjust to your sleep schedule).
- hygiene concerns. Indoor cats can follow the litter to your bed, and outdoor cats can be potential carriers of disease.
- Light pain. If your cat prefers to sleep on your chest or on your head, this could become uncomfortable, especially if she is overweight. You also run the risk of inhaling a large amount of cat hair with every breath you take.
One thing to note: cats should not sleep with children under the age of five and NEVER with a baby due to the risk of suffocation. A nervous or easily frightened cat may even attack and scratch a child who is frightened in their sleep.
What to do when your cat ruins your sleep
There are, of course, negative sleeping habits that prevent your cat from getting a good night’s sleep: biting her toes, howling for attention, kneading her chest, etc.
Unfortunately, a cat’s internal clock doesn’t match our own sleep pattern. You may be restless in the evenings and mornings. But don’t worry, cats generally adapt to our schedules.
According to WebMD, one way to promote restful sleep is to actively play games right before bed. Mimic a “hunting” session with a cat toy to burn off extra energy. Then give him food. You’ll both be yawning in no time.
dr Satchu recommends nighttime feeding for food-motivated cats. “Set an automatic feeder to turn itself off every 1-2 hours while you sleep. This keeps your cat hanging around this magical contraption and letting you rest in peace.
A morning distraction can also help. “If you have the opportunity to put a bird feeder in front of a window for your cat to sit next to, the new ‘cat TV’ will help you all morning between 4 and 6 a.m.,” says Dr. Satchu.
Another tip is to sleep with the bedroom door ajar so your cat can sneak out without waking you up. Leave some (quiet) toys in case he gets restless at night.
A heated pet bed could save your life if your cat is preventing you from getting ZZZ.
There may be times when you need to completely restrict access to your cat’s room. “Some cats need to learn to be separated from their humans at night,” says Dr. Satchu. “Some cats scream in frustration into the early hours. If this happens, it might be a good idea to talk to your vet to see if there are any nutraceuticals that can help them relax.”
If your cat wakes you up, don’t reward their behavior or they may repeat it.
And whatever you do, remember that changing your cat’s behavior is a lesson in patience.
More information on cat behavior
Source : rover.com