Some cats love to cuddle, but others aren’t interested in being smothered with human-initiated snuggles. Plenty of cats would clearly prefer to live without the indignities of uninvited human affection, particularly in the form of hugs and kisses.
If your cat was firmly opposed to curling up next to you on the couch but has suddenly decided your lap is the absolute best place to hang out, you might wonder what’s going on. Read on for 11 possible reasons why your cat could be laying on you all of a sudden.
The 11 Reasons Your Cat is Laying on You All of a Sudden
Cats love to cuddle with their favorite people; they only take naps or lie on top of people they know and like. Chances are that your cat is lying on you because they enjoy being around you! This is particularly true if your cat purrs and gives you sweet headbutts after taking over your lap.
If your cat has just started hanging out on your tummy and you recently adopted them, it’s probably a sign that you’ve won your new companion’s heart. Cats form deep bonds of affection with the people who consistently shower them with love. Chances are that your cat has simply decided to make you their person officially!
While cats have a reputation for being standoffish, most people who’ve lived with one would happily disagree. Cats are remarkably open and affectionate towards people they trust. Most dogs approach new people with openness, curiosity, and a certain amount of acceptance.
Cats engage in no such nonsense, only bothering to interact with individuals they have determined worthy of their trust, which is a process that takes time. A feline that trusts a human will often roll over and allow them to pet its belly or take naps. Cats are vulnerable when sleeping, and it’s a huge compliment if one feels secure enough with you to nap on your lap.
Cats love warmth. They’re descended from desert-dwelling wild cats, and as a result, most kitties like it warm! Healthy adult cats’ body temperatures hover somewhere between 100 and 102.5°F. But cats are most comfortable when the air around them is between 86 and 97°F.
During the winter, many North American homes have lower ambient temperatures; 68°F is the most recommended thermostat setting. Cats will cuddle up next to you when they want to get cozy. While most veterinarians suggest it’s fine for cats to stay in temperatures as low as 60°F, pay attention to your cat and watch out for signs like shivering that may indicate they’re uncomfortably cold. Old, skinny, and sick cats get chilly surprisingly quickly.
If your cat isn’t feeling well, it may be more inclined to jump into your lap. Cats often crave warmth when not feeling their best. Consistently snuggling and seeking comfort could signify your cat isn’t feeling terribly well. While some cats isolate themselves and insist on being alone when feeling under the weather, others need constant reassurance and attention.
Other common signs of illness in cats include weight loss, lethargy, and gastrointestinal difficulties. Take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible if any of the above symptoms accompany your pet’s out-of-character behavior.
Cats are highly perceptive creatures. If you’re deeply bonded to a cat, they can easily pick up on subtle clues that indicate that you’re not feeling well. And there’s a good chance they can also smell changes in your body chemistry. If you’ve had an upset stomach or a headache for a few days or are home recovering from surgery, don’t be surprised if your cat makes your lap their new favorite place to nap. Cats often spend more time around people they love who aren’t feeling well. It’s their way of offering support and comfort.
If your cat recently lost a human, canine, or feline companion and now can’t get enough of your lap, there’s a good chance they’re experiencing grief. Cats grieve in all various ways—some withdraw and begin to spend more time alone, while others turn to their human family members for support.
About 50% of cats that lose a companion become more clingy, requiring more of their owner’s attention. Grieving cats often stop eating, start meowing more, and develop sleep problems. Ensure your cat eats at least a few bites of food daily to prevent them from developing liver problems, and keep things as consistent as possible to reduce your cat’s stress level.
Cats, like humans, follow a logical progression in life. Kittens tend to sleep a ton, but middle-aged cats hit a groove and usually spend far less time snoozing than their younger counterparts. Senior cats begin to run less and sleep more, which are behaviors that become more pronounced as they age.
If your cat is older than 10, there’s a good chance this more affectionate behavior is a normal part of aging. As long as your cat is otherwise healthy, there’s probably nothing to worry about.
Some cats become clingy when they’re not securely attached to their humans. These cats sometimes suffer from separation anxiety and experience serious panic attacks when separated from their caregiver. Cats traumatized by separation anxiety often go to the bathroom in inappropriate places, destroy furniture, and frequently meow or cry out as if in distress.
Excessive grooming is regularly seen in incredibly stressed-out female cats. Indoor female cats are a bit more prone to developing separation anxiety than other kitties. If you suspect your cat may suffer separation anxiety, speak with your veterinarian. They’ll be able to rule out any possible physical causes and provide suggestions for how to deal with separation anxiety if that’s the diagnosis.
Cats suffering from anxiety often seek out their human companions for comfort. If a cat has suddenly been thrust into a stressful environment, it might become more affectionate as a way to soothe its nerves. While most cats are highly adaptable, certain changes cause most cats to experience a bit of stress, like the introduction of a new pet or the birth of a child.
Other known stressors include home renovations or moving to a new home. Cats not only rely on their humans for comfort, but they also turn to them when they need to reduce their anxiety. Your cat might be snuggling more than usual to manage their stress if they’ve lived through a few difficult events.
Cats have amazing noses. They can smell up to 14 times better than humans and use scent as a quick and easy way to identify family members. Marking is a necessary form of feline communication as it contains pheromones and smells packed with important biological and social information. Most people know that cats, male cats in particular, tend to mark their territory with urine.
But cats are constantly leaving less obvious scent signals. Cats have scent glands on the pads of their feet, around their cheeks, and under their chins. When a cat gives you a headbutt or kneads your lap, they’re showing you love and leaving their scent behind, which provides comfort and lets other felines know you’re taken.
11. Attention Seeking Behavior
Some incredibly smart breeds, like Bengal and Abyssinian cats, have extremely high socialization and attention needs, not to mention requiring tons of exercise and room to move around. Many super-intelligent cats get bored quickly and find trouble when looking for ways to occupy their time.
The good news is that most of this sort of attention-seeking behavior can be dealt with by spending more time with your cat and responding positively when your cat seeks you out for food, a good romp with a teaser, or a cuddle. Cats often exhibit attention-seeking behavior when their favorite person begins working a different job, leading to schedule disruptions and less human-cat interaction.
Most of the time, there’s nothing to worry about if your cat suddenly decides they need more cuddles. It’s most likely a sign that your cat loves, trusts, and feels comfortable around you. Cats will also become more affectionate if they sense you’re not feeling well, and some will become super needy if they’re anxious, scared, or suffering from separation anxiety.
And older cats may just be slowing down and looking for some warmth. As long as your cat is active, happy, and eating well, there’s probably not much to worry about. Take your cat to the veterinarian as quickly as possible if the increased clinginess is accompanied by excessive lethargy, refusal to eat, weight loss, or other signs of illness.
Featured Image Credit: matthew halmshaw, Unsplash