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Home > Cats > How Do Cats Choose Who to Sleep With? Behavior Facts & Tips

How Do Cats Choose Who to Sleep With? Behavior Facts & Tips

man is sleeping with a cat on a bed

Cats sleep, on average, about 14 hours per day, and a lot of this time is during the daylight hours, which is why it can seem like that’s all they actually do. These creatures of habit that share our houses with us are actually creatures of changing habits. What they did a year ago may not be what they do now and, consequently, where they sleep tonight and every night of this week, may not be where they choose to sleep in a year. So do cats sleep with their favorite person? How do they choose who to sleep with? The short answer is that each cat is different and there are many reasons your cat may choose to sleep next to you or another family member.


Sleeping Patterns of Cats

Cats are considered crepuscular. They do not sleep in one long block of 14 hours, therefore, and will grab short naps over the day. Although they tend to be livelier and awake at night, which is why you will hear them charging around the house and playing when you’re trying to get to sleep. It’s also why a lot of cats like to get out of the cat flap in the evening and return in the morning, seemingly just in time for their breakfast snack.

When and where your cat sleeps may become something of a habit to them, but you shouldn’t expect it to last forever. Some will enjoy spending an hour or two basking in the sunlight just as it hits the cushions of the sofa in the living room, and then spend the hotter lunchtime hours asleep in the shade in the corner. Where they sleep at night is considered important by owners. Some cat owners don’t like having their cats on their bed at night, while others dream of having their feline friend curled up with them. But how does a cat determine who it will sleep with at night, and does it mean anything if your cat snubs your bed in favor of a quieter location?

fat calico cat sleeping in the window perch
Image Credit: Lisa A. Ernst, Shutterstock

How Do Cats Choose Sleeping Partners?

So why do cats sleep next to you? Here are some of the reasons that a cat might have chosen a particular bed partner for the evening.

The Feeder

feeding cat_
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shuterstock

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As much as we might want to deny it, most cat owners know that our pets are food-driven. They tend to bond closely with the person or people who feed them and with those who regularly give them cat treats. Sleeping with the person who feeds them isn’t necessarily a cat’s way of saying thanks, but it does mean that they will be around you when it’s time to get up for breakfast. They won’t have to come looking and they won’t have to put too much effort into ensuring that they do get food.

The Waterbottle

They may need the occasional break from the heat, but, in general, cats love the warmth, and they will seek out the warmest environment. It’s why they lay in the sunshine, why they like piles of freshly ironed clothes, and it could be why they are sleeping with you – the hottest person in the house. Your cat may even try a few household members for several nights, just to make doubly sure that they really have picked the warmest human to cuddle up to.

The Safety Net

cat sleeping in owner's arms
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

In the wild cats are both predator and prey. While a lot of their stalking and hunting activities show their prowess as a hunter, they know that they are prone and more susceptible to being predated when they are asleep. If your cat feels safe around you but feels threatened when asleep, it may choose you as a protector for the night.

The Familiar

Cats recognize people by sight but also by sound and even smell. Your sensitive feline might not be able to relax unless it knows you are nearby, and if it is going to sleep near you, it might as well sleep near enough that it can smell you all through the night.

The Favorite

owner with her cat at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Although some cats seemingly love everybody, including all family members, visitors, and even the mailman and strangers, others can be quite picky over the company they keep. And, some breeds naturally bond closely with a single human, while others bond closely with all family members. Your cat choosing you to sleep with could well be a sign that you are the favorite.

The Sound Sleeper

Your cat may want warmth and familiarity and may opt not to sleep with other family members because they toss and turn, or snore, throughout the night. If you’re a sound sleeper and barely move or make a noise, it will be easier for your cat to get a good night’s rest, too. You might be your cat’s nighttime choice only by default, but you are still at least one step above the living room carpet, so you should still be proud.


Do Cats Pick a Favorite Person?

Some cats pick a single person to bond with, but others will bond with all family members equally. Other cats will bond with just about anybody that passes into their eyeline. This can be determined by the breed of the cat, but mostly by the individual and their life experiences. Likewise, some cats will sleep with their favorite person, while others will not.

cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock


How Do Cats Choose Who to Sleep With?

Some cats may share the love and sleep with different people on different occasions. Some may never want to be anywhere near a slumbering human for fear of being rolled on or kept awake by incessant snoring. If your cat sleeps with you, it is likely that you are a provider or something, whether it is food, warmth, comfort, familiarity, or a restful night’s sleep. We wish you and your cat sweet dreams!

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Featured Image Credit: NancyP5, Shutterstock

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