Oh, the familiarity of the scene every pet parent has experienced at least once! One moment you’re listening to Taylor Swift while happily getting ready for bed. The very next moment, you’re swooshing your hands around, trying to get your fluffer’s furry tush off your face. “My cat sleeps on my chest?! Why?”
God knows you’ve provided your mischievous monster with everything she could ever need to have a good night’s sleep – Urban Outfitters’ most luxurious beds, perches galore, and every room she wants other than your bedroom. What more could an average, ten-pound mouser need?
However, somehow she always ends up roaming around your bedroom at midnight, scanning the area around your bed, hopping on top of you, and picking the most comfortable spot… On your chest.
Sure, sleeping on your chest appears to be the most adorable thing a fluffer can do. But, you can’t help but wonder whether that’s a good thing.
Shouldn’t you be teaching her to behave better? Wouldn’t she end up destroying your sleeping pattern by meowing and purring throughout the night? And, wouldn’t she be more comfortable sleeping on her own bed? Cats are creatures of mystery, and we might never understand why they do the things they do.
But, that’s not to say that we won’t try! We’ve gathered everything you need to know about your cat’s odd sleeping arrangements. And, we’re bringing you the ten most common reasons why your cat sleeps on your chest. Keep on reading to get the full scoop!
What’s the deal with cats and horrendous napping arrangements?
Here’s the thing, my cat sleeps all the time! Whether she’s exhausted from running around the apartment and knocking things down. Whether she’s lounging on the floor, munching on something she shouldn’t munch on. She’s napping even when she’s assuming a position that can’t be comfortable by any means.
More often than not, my cat sleeps on my chest. Of course, there’s nothing that would convince me she doesn’t see me as her mother.
Because why, other than that, would she spend most of the day “making biscuits” on top of my chest? Scratches and wounds aplenty are there to speak of the horrors my fluffer has put me through.
But, as a pet parent, you don’t care about the marks as long as sleeping on your chest makes your fluffer happy and healthy.
Needless to say, there are times when you wonder whether a sleeping position means something more than you’re aware of, whether she’s communicating something, or asking for attention.
Truth be told, she switches things up now and then. Sometimes she looks like a fluffy, crescent Moon with her tail touching the tip of her head (who would’ve thought cats were such skilled contortionists!?).
Other times, she stuffs her entire body in a cardboard box with her pouty snout sticking out of the opening… how?!
Not to mention the times when she’s catnapping while looking like a little loaf of bread. Sitting upright with four of her paws tucked under her body and her tail wrapped around like a blanket.
For the record – my mouser would score a “ten out of ten loaf” on that TikTok challenge that’s been going around. Anyways, out of every catnapping arrangement out there, your cat seems to appreciate sleeping on your chest the most. Without further ado, here’s what we’ve gathered.
My cat sleeps on my chest: 10 reasons why
1. She’s looking for warmth
Haven’t you noticed how much cats appreciate the heat? Chances are your cat doesn’t shy away from snuggling on your charger while you’re on a Zoom meeting.
She doesn’t mind burrowing in the middle of a pile of dirty laundry while you’re cleaning the bathroom. She doesn’t skip on cuddling near a radiator while you’re reading your favorite book.
Now, you might have a hard time understanding why felines enjoy doing these things. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that considering the fact they enjoy chasing after cockroaches and sniffing each other’s nether regions.
But, sometimes felines aren’t as complicated as you might think. They’re creatures of warmth and they’re not afraid of showing that. So, when you notice your purrincess getting ready for her afternoon siesta on your chest, try your best not to overthink things.
Cancel your plans and spend as much time as you can cuddling with her. Or, provide her with an appropriate heating solution (a blanket, a pet-safe heating disc, and a thermal warming pad).
2. She’s marking her territory – you
While that doesn’t sound as lovely as “Your cat thinks you’re warm and she likes to sleep on top of you because of that”, you’re on the right track of becoming your cat’s… something.
You see, cats are territorial creatures. And, they cover pretty much everything with their scent to make sure everyone knows what belongs to them.
Couches, clothes, your grandma’s handmade blankets, your neighbor’s pottery – nothing’s off limits when we’re talking about which gadgets your mouser decided to claim as her own.
Most cats mark the desired area by leaving a trace of urine. But, they don’t shy away from doing a bunch of other things that might not even appear that suspicious.
For starters, have you ever noticed your cat rubbing her teeth on you? Have you ever caught a glimpse of your cat pawing at the floor or munching on the edge of your sofa?
Those are territory-marking behaviors. Your cat has a bunch of scent glands scattered across her body and she releases the scent by engaging in a bunch of strange behaviors.
3. She feels safe and secure when she’s sleeping on your chest
Back to regularly scheduled programming and adorable reasons why your cat keeps sleeping on your chest! First and foremost, chances are you make your fluffer feel safe and secure. By and large, cats show love and affection by snuggling with you. And, they don’t do that unless they trust you won’t harm them.
On the other hand, the thought behind sleeping on your chest might not even be your cat’s. Wild cats (your mouser’s ancestors) tend to seek safe spots for sleeping because they’re making sure they’re out of harm’s way.
Not-so-wild cats do the same things even though they’re safe wherever they decide to close their eyes. So, this behavior seems to be instinctual.
Last but not least, there’s a chance your cat might be sleeping on your chest because of the way she’s reminiscing her past. For the most part, kittens are a part of a litter for the first couple of weeks (or even months) after they’re born.
Kittens sleep piled on top of each other (or even on top of their mother) and sometimes they continue doing the same thing long after they’re grown.
4. She’s creating a mother-daughter bonding moment
Cats have a reputation for being standoffish and detached (for no freakin’ reason!). Chances are, you’ve heard one of your friends say something along the lines of “Cats never show whether they like you or not!” or “How can you like cats when they’re so… cold?!” on more than one occasion.
While cats won’t wag their tails the moment they see you, they have their ways of showing they care. And, they certainly have their ways of bonding with you (which seems to be the reason why your cat sleeps on your chest).
As a matter of fact, such behavior seems to be common among other cats. We stumbled upon the term “pillowing” while doing our research. Turns out pillowing’s what we described when talking about how cats used to sleep on one another when they were kittens.
The term comes from the fact that cats enjoy using each other as pillows (duh!). You should appreciate the fact that your fluffer considers you one of the cats (or, one of the pillows, at least).
5. She feels your heartbeat – and she loves the rhythm
Here’s another behavior that stemmed from your fluffy friend sleeping on other kittens when she was younger! When she’s sleeping on your chest, she can feel your heartbeat and the rhythmic sounds help her sleep better.
Of course, when she was a kitten, she did the same thing with her mother and other kittens. Trust me, cats appreciate that physical proximity as much as you do.
They absolutely adore snuggling on top of your chest, lounging on your lap, and resting on top of your hand while you’re trying to write something on your laptop.
Sure, they’re fans of the warmth you’re emitting. But, they also love the sounds they can hear coming off of your body.
Whether that’s your heartbeat, the rhythm of your breathing, or your stomach producing demonic sounds because you haven’t eaten anything for the past couple of hours – your fluffer can find a sense of comfort, safety, and security while listening to you.
How can anyone for a second think that cats aren’t sensitive?!
6. She’s comfortable right there and then
Cats are big on comfort. Of course, they always try to find the snuggest of places to lounge, and they don’t shy away from spending the rest of the day right there. And, there are times when your chest seems to be the right amount of “snug” they’ve been looking for.
But, how can you know for sure whether that’s the reason why she’s sleeping on you? Observe everything she’s doing beforehand – whether she’s slowly blinking at you, making biscuits on top of your blanket, or flopping on top of your thighs.
Trust me, these are telltale signs that she’s as comfortable as she can be while watching that documentary on Jeffrey Dahmer with you.
Oh and, we can’t overlook the fact that cats sometimes have entire conversations with you before they go to sleep. Cats do that because they’re happy and they want to communicate the way they’re feeling. So, your cat might be meowing, chirruping, and purring before she flops on your chest and falls asleep.
7. She’s attracted to your scent
Though that might seem strange, cats become more comfortable and secure when they’re surrounded by the scent of something familiar. Whether that’s your T-shirt, her favorite toy, or even your boyfriend’s smelly socks – your little munchkin might be tempted to snuggle right next to them.
Therefore, there’s a chance your cat might be sleeping on your chest because she’s attracted to your scent. Sure, she could settle somewhere near you where she would have the comfort of the bed and the reassurance of the scent.
But, napping on your chest gives her everything we’ve discussed beforehand. Warming up, bonding, listening to your heartbeat, and more.
And, don’t forget to nurture her obsession with comforting scents even when she’s not sleeping. As a matter of fact, don’t shy away from leaving your bathrobe on her bed when you leave for work or letting her play with your favorite hoodie when you’re preparing to travel for the holidays.
8. She’s showing you affection
“Is it possible that my cat sleeps on my chest because she’s trying to tell me she loves me? Aww, that’s actually adorable!”
Cats communicate with strange sounds, body language, and other seemingly odd behaviors you wouldn’t necessarily associate with affection. That being the case, we shouldn’t be surprised when our furry friends start sleeping close to us (or on us) to show how much they care.
Quite on the contrary, that makes more sense than some of the other things cats do when they’re trying to communicate. They try to tell us they’re not standoffish and detached as much as some (catless) humans would like to argue.
Or, would you prefer that she brings you cockroaches and dead birds aplenty as a token of her appreciation? Or that she meows at 3 a.m. to make sure you know “You’re the best mommy ever!”?
Of course, you need to figure out whether you’re fine with her ditching her bed and sleeping on your chest every single night. Some pet parents might not think letting your fluffer sleep with you sounds like a good thing. But, there’s no accounting for taste, right?
9. She’s stressed out
“What does she have to be stressed about? She has everything she needs and she doesn’t even have to move a finger (or a paw)?!“
Honestly, there’s no way of knowing how many pet parents think that way. However, we’re here to open your eyes and let you know that cats do get stressed out.
Some cats are more sensitive than others. And, they might be affected by the slightest of changes when we’re talking about the daily routine they have. For example, your fluffy friend might get anxious when you bring another pet home or when you have a bunch of people over.
Therefore, she might start seeking reassurance, doing things she doesn’t normally do, and trying to find solace on top of your chest. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, you might want to consult with your veterinarian and try to work out what could be causing her anxiety.
10. She can sense you need a cuddle
That’s right, she knows when you’re sad and she’s not about to let you cry on your own! We can’t be 100% sure whether cats sense our sadness. But, we can agree that they behave a certain way when they notice we’re crying or moping around.
Throw a glance at your cat when you’re feeling down and you might be surprised when she comes over and settles on your chest.
Of course, cats don’t (and probably can’t) understand our emotions. But, they’re aware of what’s going on around them. And, they take cues from what you look like, what you smell like, and what the tone of your voice sounds like.
So, when you’re balling your eyes out, she might notice you’re not acting the same way you always do and connect the dots. She simply wants to offer her support the best way she knows how… By sleeping on top of your chest and purring you to sleep.
Since my cat sleeps on my chest, should I allow her to keep doing so?
That’s a tough one to crack. There are a million things to consider when deciding whether you’re comfortable with letting your cat sleep on your chest. As for other pet parents’ experiences, there are tales galore talking about the pros and cons of letting your cat set paw inside your bedroom.
Some might argue that there isn’t a better way of bonding with your fluffy friend than sleeping together, snuggling under a blanket, and getting through the night without scratching each other’s eyes out.
Others might argue how such sleeping arrangements make for sleepless nights, annoyance with each other, and aggressive behavior (on both sides!).
Consider each side of the coin and consult with an animal behaviorist (or even your veterinarian). After that, decide what works best for both of you. Remember – you can always sleep apart, but spend those afternoon napping sessions together.
1. Here’s why you should
More times than not, sleeping with your cat proves to be the best decision you’ve ever made. Of course, there are a bunch of reasons why you end up feeling that way, but here’s what we’ve gathered. First and foremost, she makes you feel better regardless of how your day went.
Cuddling with her and falling asleep while she’s purring on your chest can be pretty therapeutic.
On the other hand, we can’t forget about the fact that the two of you can create a bond while sleeping together. Trust me, there were times when we had hour-long discussions about our snoring shenanigans (talking about my cat, of course).
God, there’s hardly anything better than snuggling with your fluffy friend after a long day!
2. Here’s why you shouldn’t
But, there’s always another side to the story that most pet parents choose to turn a blind eye to. Before you make room for your cat on your chest, consider a couple of things that might go wrong over time. Given that she keeps sleeping with your every single night, that is.
Right off the bat, sleeping with your cat raises an array of hygiene concerns. We’re talking litter under your pillow, parasites on your blankets, and dead cockroaches for those “breakfast in bed” vibes. Of course, we can’t forget about the fact that cats meow at 3 a.m. for no reason (everybody knows that).
So, you might be looking at sleepless nights and midnight fights with your fluffer. And, last but not least, a sleeping cat on your chest can’t be comfortable for too long. With that in mind, take some time to figure things out and decide for yourself. Good luck!