Why Does My Cat Sleep Pressed Up Against Me? (What You Should Know)

why does my cat sleep pressed against me

There might be no feeling more heartwarming than watching your cat curl up and fall asleep near you. But you might be wondering: just why does my cat sleep pressed up against me like that? 

The answer is multi-faceted – but to sum it all up: it’s probably because they really love you and trust you!

In this article, we’re diving into 9 reasons why your cat sleeps pressed up against you. We’ll also talk about potential health issues to watch out for, pros and cons, and what to do if they keep you awake at night. Let’s dive in!

Why Does My Cat Sleep Pressed Up Against Me? 

There are a lot of potential reasons for your cat to sleep pressed up against you. And, most of the time, it’s not a cause for alarm. Personally, my cat Beans sleeps pressed up against me every single night and at every naptime that he can because he loves me. This cat is OBSESSED with me – and that’s totally fine with me! However, sometimes at night, I get poor sleep because he literally sleeps ON me.

This photo is proof. This was him trying to get comfy for a nap. On my face. 😂

If it’s disrupting your quality of sleep, it can be frustrating! My wife and I have 3 cats, and we used to share a queen-sized bed with them, and I got terrible sleep. We fixed the situation, and I’m sharing that with you later in this article. 

Let’s take a closer look at 9 reasons your cat sleeps pressed up against you, whether or not it’s healthy for you and your cat, plus what you can do if they’re disrupting your sleep.

9 Reasons Your Cat Sleeps Pressed Up Against You

Cats are interesting creatures with unique personalities and strong likes and dislikes. Even the most independent and non-cuddly cat might sleep pressed up against you, and here’s what that might mean. 

Disclaimer: If your cat suddenly starts behaving differently out of the blue  (like being clingy when they usually aren’t) that’s a sure sign you need to get to the vet. Cats hide almost every sign of illness, but behavioral changes can be a key indicator.

CatFaqts managers Binx (Beans) and Hillary

1: They Love You

First and foremost: your cat sleeps pressed up against you because they love you. You’re their person! Even if they’re not cuddly by nature, the fact that they want to be as close as possible when they sleep means they trust you, love you, and view you as their family. 

I know for a fact that my cats sleep pressed up against me because they love me and I bring them comfort. And personally, I think it’s a privilege that they trust me so much.

2: Companionship

Although big cats aren’t social creatures in the wild, domesticated house cats are different. They might cuddle each other, other pets in the home, or even your family and kids. 

Cats may choose to sleep next to you for the sake of companionship and knowing they’re not alone. If you’ve noticed that your cat likes to be in the same room as you all the time, that means they love your companionship. 

I live in a 2-story home and if my wife and I are upstairs, all of our cats are upstairs. If we go downstairs, they do too. But they’re rarely on either floor without us.

3: Warmth

Cats seek out warmth by nature. You’ve probably noticed your cat lounging in the sunshine, taking your warm spot on the sofa when you get up, or even laying on a heater vent if you have floor ducts!

So, it only makes sense that your cat would press up against you while they sleep for warmth. They just love being cozy. 

Cats like to find safe places to sleep – and it’s a major bonus if those safe places are also warm. And as a living, breathing human who cares for your cat, you fit the bill perfectly. You’re a safe spot, they love you, and you’re also soft and warm. Your body is basically an irresistible pillow for your beloved feline friend.

4: Comfort

Cats sometimes sleep in strange places or positions that don’t seem comfortable to humans, but must be comfortable for them. 

Your cat might sleep pressed up against you because it is the most comfortable position. Wedging themselves up against your body while on a soft surface provides the perfect combination of warmth, comfort, and safety to help lull them to sleep. 

5: Bonding

Just like seeking you out for companionship, your cat may choose to sleep next to you as a way of bonding. Your cat loves you, trusts you, and sees you as their family member. Sleeping pressed up against you helps to reinforce that family bond.

Even if your cat isn’t the type to like cuddling, petting, or being held, sleeping on you or against you is a sign that they want to bond with you in their own way. 

Cats form strong bonds with their humans, and any cat person can tell you this. Although it’s thought that dogs form stronger bonds with their humans, cats bond with their humans more often – and often more securely.

In a study about cat-human attachment styles, Kristin Vitale, Animal Scientist at Oregon State University, said: “The majority of cats are securely attached to their owner and use them as a sense of security.” 

The study shows that even cats who aren’t extremely outwardly affectionate with their owners form secure attachments to them. Cats all have very unique personalities, and they love you and feel strongly bonded to you even if they don’t always show it. 

The good news is that having your cat sleeping up against you is a sure sign that they’re bonded to you and feel safe around you.

6: Territory

Some cats may choose to sleep on their owner because they view you as their territory. 

It’s true that cats are very territorial creatures, so it’s possible that your cat might see you as their property. 

Cats mark their territory with their scent, and they have scent glands all over their body. They have several scent glands in their face, near the base of their tail and on their tail, and in each of their paws. 

Sleeping on you or up against you enables them to infuse their scent all over you so any other cat knows who you belong to! 

Your cat may also sleep on your shoes, your clothes, your bed, and anywhere that you frequent to mark the territory with their scent. Another reason they might do that is because your scent makes them feel safe.

7: Safety and Security

A huge reason your cat chooses to sleep on you or pressed up against you is the same reason you like to be near your family: safety and security. 

Although domestic cats may never know the threats of living in the wild, their natural instincts are born into them. 

That means that a lot of our house cats’ behaviors mimic what they would do for survival in the wild – this includes things like hiding their illnesses and always looking for a safe place to sleep. 

Other than being sick, sleeping is the most vulnerable state your cat can be in. In the wild, a sleeping cat is easy prey. 

This means that your cat feels safe with you if they choose to sleep on you or pressed against you. 

8: Emotional Support

If your cat is suddenly sleeping on you or against you and illness has been ruled out, you may want to take stock of your own emotions. Has something happened in your life to cause you to feel sad, depressed, or down in the dumps? 

If so, your cat may be sleeping against you to comfort you and provide emotional support. Cats are highly intuitive animals and are very in-tune with your emotions. They can sense what you are feeling, and they may even try to comfort you in your times of need. 

Ragen McGowan, PhD and Animal Behavior Scientist at Purina, said “Research has found that owners and their cats mirror each other’s well-being and behavior”. She also said that “When pet parents are depressed, cats rub against them more often. It’s likely your cat is responding to your emotional state by trying to comfort you or draw your attention.”

With that being said, I have had several instances where I knew my cats could tell I was sad. My oldest cat will cuddle me more and go as far as reaching out and touching my face when I’m sad. 

One of our cats died suddenly, recently, and one morning my wife was crying in bed. Our oldest cat became concerned and tilted his head while inching towards her and reaching his paw out to touch her as soon as she started crying. 

So, if you’ve been feeling sad and your kitty has been cuddled up with you more than usual, be thankful and recognize the sweet and kind gesture. 

9: Illness or Hormonal Changes

Last but not least, your cat may suddenly start to sleep with you if they’re experiencing an illness or hormonal changes. 

If your cat is a female who has not been spayed, she may become more affectionate when she’s in heat, or even if she becomes pregnant. 

Alternatively, cats who are hiding an illness may display behavioral changes like suddenly becoming clingy when they are usually independent. Or, normally clingy cats may suddenly become stand-offish. 

Cats don’t show typical signs of illness. Unless you know what to look for, most people would never know when their cat is sick or in pain because they hide it so well. 

In the wild, a sick cat is a vulnerable cat. Even though our house cats are safe, their natural instincts are to hide illness and pain. So, do your best to be in tune with your cat’s normal routine and personality. Then if you notice any behavioral changes out of the blue, you can get them to the vet asap just to be sure that nothing is amiss. 

Is It Okay To Let My Cat Sleep With Me? 

Our angel boy, Jack

Unless you’re afraid that you will roll over on your cat without realizing it, it’s generally okay to let your cat sleep with you. 

In fact, there are plenty of benefits to sleeping with your cat! Cats are like family, and sleeping with them feels good for you and for them, too. 

However, in some cases, our cats can disrupt our sleep quality. And over a long period of time, that can be detrimental to our physical health. 

Is Sleeping With My Cat Healthy for Me? 

Sleeping with your cat is healthy for you unless: 

  • Your cat disrupts your sleep or wakes you up often
  • You are allergic to cats
  • Your cat has fleas, ringworm, or other contagious health conditions
  • You sleep with a newborn baby

Otherwise, sleeping with your cat should be perfectly healthy. 

Is Sleeping With My Cat Healthy for My Cat? 

Cats may get plenty of benefits from sleeping with their humans! The only time that sleeping with your cat may cause a health hazard for them is if you’re a heavy sleeper who moves a lot. If there is any risk of rolling over on your cat without you knowing it, it’s best to not allow them to sleep in your bed. 

What To Do If Your Cat Is Disrupting Your Quality of Sleep

Sometimes cats can disrupt our quality of sleep. If that happens on a consistent basis, it’s time to consider taking action. 

I have a lot of experience with my cat disrupting my sleep. Here are some common problems and solutions. 

Problem: My cat prevents me from rolling over or getting comfortable. 

Solution: If your cat sleeps against you and you can’t get comfortable, this causes you to wake up a lot during the night. If this is happening, try moving your cat. Then,iIf they keep coming back to the same spot, try getting them a special cat bed and put it in the bottom corner of your bed. If this still happens, you may have to consider closing them out of your room at night. 

Problem: My cat walks all over me and wakes me up.

Solution: If your cat constantly wakes you up with activity, you may be able to train them to sleep at night. Training your cat to sleep at night will involve scheduling playtime and feeding time right before bed. If a cat can have an active burst of playing followed by a filling meal, they will go right to sleep. 

If this doesn’t work, you may need to try closing them out of the room or training them to sleep in their own bed. 

Benefits of Sleeping With Your Cat

There are a lot of benefits to sleeping with your cat. They include: 

  • Bonding
  • Comfort
  • Security
  • Emotional support
  • Warmth

And much more!

Disadvantages of Sleeping With Your Cat

There can be disadvantages to sleeping with your cat, too. 

  • Allergies: allergy sufferers may not be able to sleep with their cats. 
  • Hygiene issues: fleas, ringworm, or other skin conditions. 
  • Cat may keep you awake
  • They may sleep on you making it harder to get comfortable.

My Personal Story of Sleeping With My Cats: How it Went From Bad to Great

I’ve had cats my entire life, and I’ve pretty much shared my bed with my cats my entire life. 

However, as I get older, sleep comes to me less and less easily. 

When my wife and I first moved in together, we each had our own cat and then adopted a kitten for 3 cats total. And at the time, we slept in a queen sized bed. 

I have such a hard time getting comfortable that I frequently refer to my sleep comfort issues as the princess and the pea – so sleeping with our cats felt like an impossibility for me. 

I couldn’t move my legs, I couldn’t get more blankets, and I couldn’t adjust at all. Two humans and 3 cats in one queen bed felt so crowded. 

So, at the time, we started shutting the door and keeping the cats out. But sometimes they would sit outside the door and scratch at it or meow, which kept us up just the same. 

This went on for about a year until we moved into a bigger place. When we moved we finally got a king-sized bed. 

Luckily for us, the king-sized bed solved all of my problems! We happily sleep with 3 cats in our bed now, and they never bother me at all. 

Except for my oldest cat Jefe… who likes to crawl on my pillow at night which pulls my hair. Or start licking my face at night… But I digress. 

Or Binx, who likes to burrow under the covers and sometimes gets a little spicy and starts attacking our legs and toes!

The point is – sometimes the “simple” solution is the best one. At the time, I didn’t know that getting a king-sized bed would enable us to sleep with all our cats again. But I’m so thankful that’s all it took! 

We LOVE sleeping with our cats, and they love sleeping with us. 

Wrapping Up

If your cat is sleeping pressed up against you and health issues have been ruled out, consider yourself lucky. Your cat loves you, feels safe and secure with you, and considers you to be a part of their family! 

I say this all the time but living with cats, loving them and being loved by them, and sleeping with cats is truly one of the best privileges I can imagine. 

Unlike dogs who seem to love everybody, cats can be very selective with their love and affection. So, even if your cat isn’t affectionate in other ways, if they sleep with you, they’re telling you they love you, they feel bonded to you, they want to make you happy, and you’re their person. 

Carrie Wilder

Carrie Wilder is a long-time cat owner, rescue advocate, and she’ll be the first to tell you that she’s cat-obsessed. When she’s not at home writing for Cat Faqts and snuggling her own cats, you can find her trying to pet and hold the cats of friends, family, and any stray she meets.

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