“Why does my cat sleep between my legs?” As every cat owner, you’ve probably wondered this more than a dozen times. You’ll come home from work and your pet will jump onto your lap and position herself in between your legs.
At first, you don’t think anything of it but this kind of behavior becomes her routine. Then you notice that this happens even at night. What is she trying to do?
You wake up and as you open your eyes you’re trying to stretch out a bit but you feel a weight between your legs. What could it be? Once again, it’s your cat sleeping soundly and without a care in the world!
Is it normal behavior for felines or is there a hidden meaning behind it? Should you just leave her alone and let her get some sleep or should you discourage the behavior?
Is she trying to tell you something by sleeping between your legs? To be honest, I also didn’t know the reason for this seemingly strange action.
I have two cats and only one of them will do this. That’s why I thought there was something wrong with her because the other one had never done that before.
I don’t know if it has to do with one cat being more lovely and cuddly than the other. However, it’s kind of nice to feel her warmth and it can be beneficial during the winter nights!
Still, let’s take a closer look and inspect this behavior. After all, cats are mysterious and fascinating creatures with some behaviors that can sometimes leave us dumbfounded.
Why does my cat sleep between my legs? 8 possible reasons
Honestly, I didn’t want to give it much thought at first. I just liked the idea of my cat being so close to me and willing to do it on her own.
This can be a special feeling for many pet owners, especially those who don’t have cuddle bugs. If your pet’s more independent and distant than you’d like her to be, you’ll want to cherish moments like these.
One of my felines will climb up on my lap and ask for kisses and cuddles. This is the one who likes to snuggle between my legs and doesn’t care if I have to get up.
I never ask myself why my cat sleeps between my legs. I don’t want to overthink these special moments, so I just go with the flow.
On the other hand, we have Simba. He is the polar opposite. He won’t come when called and doesn’t really know how to enjoy our time together.
Perhaps it has something to do with the difference in their age, as Ivy is a four-year-old cat and Simba’s just a one-year-old baby. He’s still a pet who just wants to play and hang on the curtains most of the time!
I don’t know if this behavior has anything to do with their personalities, but I would love to think so. Maybe it depends on their gender as well. I know males are more prone to be absent and act all macho, just like humans do.
For the most part, you’ll see a female cat rubbing up against your leg or headbutting you. Males can be crazy with all the hormones, so they probably have other things on their minds.
Either way, this leaves me with the same question. Why does my cat Ivy love to sleep between my legs when Simba doesn’t? What’s so different between these two? Does she need me more than he does? Does she love me more than he does?
1. Safety reasons
I know we like to think that our cats are our furbabies and they love us as much as we love them. However, there’s something that you might not want to hear but it has to be said.
There’s someone your pet loves more than you – herself. People usually tend to forget the fact that felines come from the animal world where there are different rules.
While I would give my life for my cat without question, deep down, I know she probably wouldn’t do the same for me. It’s because humans are guided by emotions and felines almost completely rely on their instincts.
If she felt threatened in any way, she’d probably choose the flight instead of the fight. It’s just the animal instincts kicking in and the urge telling her to run away and stay safe rather than risk an injury and possible death.
“So why does my cat sleep between my legs? Is she feeling threatened?” Your feline doesn’t have to sleep between your legs because she feels threatened; it’s more of a safety precaution.
She’ll plop down in between your legs in the middle of the night so she doesn’t feel vulnerable anymore. Even though they’re in the security of their home, cats can sometimes feel a bit anxious, especially at night.
It’s similar to us humans fearing something hiding in the closet or underneath our beds! Maybe your cat’s scared of the dark and this is the only place she feels relaxed.
2. It’s warm
“Why does my cat sleep between my legs? She can’t be cold, right?“ Cats have a thick coat that’s supposed to shield them from harsh weather. However, they might look for that additional source of heat.
And this source just might be you! I know you’d be lying if you said that you didn’t like your cat depending on you. there’s just something so cute in taking care of a small, defenseless creature. Not to mention the fact that it’s a huge benefit because they can heat you up in a second as well!
Felines love to stay warm, even on sunny days. I’ll often find my cats lounging around in the living room area because it has big windows that let a lot of sunlight through. They’ll bask away in the sun as if they don’t have a care in the world.
In the winter when the sunlight’s scarce, they’ll resort to me. Simba won’t really come and fall asleep between my legs, but he’ll definitely cuddle up right beside me. Ivy’s a real snuggler and she’ll gladly crawl under the duvet all the way until she finds the right spot.
3. She’s marking her territory
Even though I feel a bit hurt by his choices, I don’t give much thought to Simba’s decisions. If my cat doesn’t want to sleep between my legs, it’s fine by me. (I don’t know who I’m trying to fool. If I didn’t have Ivy, I’d probably be doomed.)
Later, I found out that cats might sleep between your legs because they want to claim you as their territory. This actually got me thinking that perhaps Simba isn’t an introvert or too proud to have a cuddle with his mama.
Maybe he’s been told off by Ivy in a cat language. Felines will leave their pheromones all over the house including their humans. This scent helps them communicate with each other. The same happens with cats in the wild who will leave their scents all over their territory’s border to tell other cats “This is mine!”
I won’t lie and say I didn’t feel both flattered and sad at the same time. I’m through the roof because Ivy wants to keep me to herself and pour all of her love on me. On the other hand, I’m sad because maybe Simba wants to cuddle and express his love but is afraid to do so!
I wonder what would happen if he tried to get all comfy in between my legs. Would he get kicked out or attacked by Ivy? Is she too polite to do that? I guess we’ll never know unless he doesn’t try.
4. You’re bonding when she sleeps between your legs
As much as we’d like to think that our kitty cats evolved from lions, it’s a myth. However, they share one thing in common. Both small and big cats love their family members and like to be really affectionate with them.
Some people might think that felines are antisocial and don’t like to hang out with their owners. However, this isn’t a general rule and some pets might enjoy their company more than their solitude. Just like their wild cousins, cats like to socialize and bond with others.
To humans, bonding time can mean a lot of different things, such as spending time together, going on a road trip, or having lunch. However, in the cat world, this is all complete and utter nonsense.
What felines mostly do is cuddle up against each other and snooze off. This means that they trust each other enough to be in a vulnerable position. So, it looks like she’s probably trying to get closer to me!
Other bonding techniques include grooming and playtime. Both require physical contact and a lot of effort on both sides. If you’re looking to connect with your furry companion on a deeper level, I suggest you stay where you are until she’s done with laying between your feet!
5. Good viewpoint!
My pet won’t always curl up in a ball and flop down between my legs. Sometimes she’ll just stretch out on top of me and my legs, but what does that mean?
Is she just stretching out? Does she feel hot all of a sudden? I know cats can sometimes act weird and there are a bunch of unexplained feline behaviors but this one seems to be common for the majority of cats.
If your furry companion likes to lay down sprawled across your legs, she isn’t using you for warmth and security reasons. But we know she’s still using you for something, so what could it be?
Usually, cats don’t like to sleep on the floor or anywhere low in the house. That’s why you can always find your feline asleep in the weirdest places. Jokes aside, I once found Simba at the top shelf snoring away as if there was no tomorrow.
Once again, they didn’t evolve from lions, but look at just how similar these two are! They must be some distant cousins, for sure. What I want to say is that you can oftentimes see other big cats sleeping high up on the tree branches.
“But why does my cat sleep between my legs if she’s an indoor feline?”
Your pet will also choose a spot that’s a bit elevated and off the ground. This gives her a sense of security because no predators are able to reach her up so high. Also, when you’re looking down on others from above, you have a better view of what’s happening, which they also use as their hunting strategy.
Once again, your cat doesn’t sleep between your legs due to her being in any kind of danger. However, it’s her instincts telling her to get herself on higher ground in order to be safe and gain a headstart on her prey.
6. She sleeps between your legs because it’s practical!
Maybe you refuse to think of it this way, but cats don’t always sleep between your legs because they love you or want to cuddle with you.
Sometimes, it’s just for practical reasons. For instance, she needs that additional source of heat, wants to feel safe and sound, or wants to be on higher ground.
So what else could she possibly be trying to achieve by this behavior? As I’ve already mentioned, felines are guided by their instincts, so this probably has to do something with those.
Now, you must wonder, “Why does my cat sleep between my legs if not for those reasons?” First and foremost, it might be just because they feel comfortable.
You know how spoiled your pet is, so it’s only right that she searches for the comfiest spot in the whole house. Besides keeping her warm and protected, she’s absolutely in love with your plush duvet. Felines like nice and soft things too!
On the other hand, your cat might be dozing off between your legs because she enjoys your scent. As I’ve already mentioned, their sense of smell is heightened and much more powerful than humans.
They use their scent to leave important messages all over their territory and to recognize their family members. So, next to marking you as their territory, your furry companion might simply be enjoying your new perfume!
Last but not least, your cat might use this opportunity to get some rest. Sure, she usually does nothing around the house than take naps and eat all day. However, a nap just can’t be measured with deep, bear-like sleep.
What better place to snooze than in a comfy, warm bed, feeling safe and sound, with your scents and human there? If I were a cat, I’d definitely move into my owner’s bed!
7. She sleeps between your legs because she’s stressed
Even though your cat sleeping between your legs might look cute, this can also tug at your heartstrings. Unfortunately, felines don’t nap in that spot just when they’re feeling happy and content.
Sometimes, our furry companions will feel stressed and want to relax a bit. This is why you can find your pet curled up in a ball between your legs. I definitely start to think that this is why my cat Ivy does it all the time.
She’s the type of cat that’s always alert and anxious. She’ll jump at every noise in the house and hide in the corner during the storms. Simba, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be so sensitive and is, therefore, more independent.
So, if your cat’s been sleeping between your legs lately and it’s not wintertime, she might be anxious and feeling agitated. You have to find the cause for this behavior and try to eliminate it or minimize it as much as possible.
Felines aren’t so skilled in showing their problems, so you have to think about it. Perhaps it’s a change in the environment if you’ve moved recently. Maybe you changed her diet abruptly or brought home a new member of the family.
Cats are sensitive creatures and you can never know what hides in that brain of theirs. If there’s anything out of the ordinary lately, it might be just enough to send your pet into overdrive. So it’s always good to question their behavior.
8. She’s feeling sick
Cats can’t express their thoughts and speak up their minds. This is really unfortunate because who wouldn’t want to be able to talk to their cat?
But more importantly, we would then know how they feel and if they’re hurt or sick. Because they’re unable to communicate with us in our language, we must look for some other signs of distress.
Just like any other animal, felines use body language to send messages to others in their surroundings. “But why does my cat sleep between my legs, and what does it have to do with her surroundings?” If your cat lays down to sleep between your legs, she might be trying to tell you something.
This once happened with my Simba. He doesn’t usually lie down or cuddle up against me so I knew something was up this time. He’s usually a rambunctious feline which added to the mystery.
It turned out that he was having some stomach pains due to an intestinal blockage. Thankfully, I realized that something was wrong just in time. He never lays between my legs, especially all curled up in a ball.
If you notice your feline doing the same and it’s totally out of the ordinary for her, you might want to monitor her closely. If you suspect that there’s something wrong with her, I advise you to visit your vet as soon as possible.
You probably asked yourself, “Why does my cat sleep between my legs?” on multiple occasions. As a cat parent, if this behavior is new to you, it’s normal to get concerned.
We always have to be alert and think about all the possible reasons why our pets would do something. Thankfully, in this case, it’s completely harmless and doesn’t have to mean anything.
Perhaps your pet just likes to feel that extra warmth during the night or feels a little bit anxious in her bed all by herself.
Read this one as well: Cat Makes A Groaning Noise When Sleeping: Should I Be Worried?