One of the cutest things for cat owners is when their fluffy little ball of fur snuggles up on their chest and starts purring. You really feel loved and trusted, and it’s a great form of stress relief for you. But what’s in it for your cat? Why do cats lay on your chest?
There are actually several reasons why your cat likes to lay on your chest, but one thing’s for sure, it’s a nice feeling to be so close with your feline friend. Let’s look at some of the reasons why your cat likes to be so close.
It’s Simple: Your Cat Loves You
You’re not just a comfy cat bed; your cat loves you too, and laying on your chest is one way they show their love. That’s what all those head butts and all that purring mean. They often do other things to get your attention too! Your cat feels genuine affection for you, and this is one way of showing it.
Our feline friends may not be as demonstrative as our canine buddies, but when your cat jumps up on your chest and starts kneading you, he’s looking to cuddle in a comfortable place where he can get some premium human loving. You’re more than just a warm spot for him, and he may even explicitly ask for your love with a heartwarming silent meow!
Now, you might be wondering: do cats sleep together like this with other cats? The answer is yes. As cat behavior specialist Mike Delgado points out in an interview with Catster, cats will often engage in what he calls “pillowing” when they’re resting.
Simply put, they use other cats — and you — as a pillow where they can snuggle up and rest easy. The desire to touch you is one way they also bond with you. They are letting you know they want to be around you.
You’re His Version of Heated Cat Bed
Cats sleep for approximately 15 hours a day or even more, and since their normal body temperature is around 102 degrees Fahrenheit, they also love warmth. They want a comfortable place to sleep that’s safe and warm, and you’re just the ticket.
In fact, you’re better than a cat bed because you’re often covered in soft blankets or clothes and your body heat creates a consistently warm place where your cat can feel safe. And — bonus — he makes you feel safe and comfortable too!
If you pay attention to his patterns, you’ll see that your cat often seeks you out during times of the day when it’s cooling off. Sure, a radiator could keep your feline friend warm too, but then he’d miss out on all that affectionate petting.
You’re the Safest Place in Town
Security is another consideration for your cat, and you’re one of the safest pet beds he knows. He wants to feel like he’s protected while he’s sleeping, and around you, he knows there won’t be any predators or other problems to worry about. By positioning himself on one of the safest parts of your body, your cat knows he can rest easy.
You might also notice that he frequently lays on you with his back turned to you. That shows just how much he trusts you, and have no doubt, he’s looking out for you too.
On the other hand, he might turn his head toward you and gift you with a winky-eyed cat stare. It can feel like he’s looking deeply into your soul as he purrs in contentment. It serves to make you both feel good, safe, and warm.
He’s Marking His Territory
Cats are very territorial creatures, and as such, they like to mark what belongs to them — that’s you! As they’re laying on various parts of your body, they’re actually also marking you with feline pheromones. These are chemicals that other cats can detect, and your cat is letting them know that you’re more than just a nice sleeping spot, you’re his territory!
It Might Be Hormonal
Research has shown that when dogs gaze lovingly at their humans, it increases the level of oxytocin in the human. When the dog smells that hormonal increase, he experiences increases in his own oxytocin level.
Oxytocin is also known as the bonding hormone. It’s produced by a mother’s body when her infant is nursing and it creates a powerful bond. There’s no research that this happens in cats, but it’s a plausible hypothesis that might explain why your cat loves snuggling up with you to show affection.
He Likes the Sound of Your Heart
When cats sleep on and around their mother as kittens, they are comforted by the sound of her heartbeat. When your cat sleeps on your chest, they can hear your beating heart as well, and they are likely comforted by the sound.
They return the favor too since your cat’s purr is also good for your health. Cats purr at vibrations in the 20 Hz to 140 Hz range which has several positive health effects for you. It lowers your stress levels and your blood pressure, it reduces the risk of heart attack, and it can even help heal bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments as well as infection.
That means there’s no good reason not to become one of those crazy cat lovers who leave their fortune to their feline friends! Of course, they’ll want to be paid in cat toys rather than cash.
Are There Reasons I Shouldn’t Let My Cat Sleep on Me?
There are lots of good reasons why you would want to let your cat sleep with you. As we’ve noted, their purr relieves your stress and can help you heal and live a healthier life. Your cat also helps with feelings of anxiety and depression. Moreover, they are warm, comfortable purring machines to have in bed with you!
There are also, however, some reasons you may not want to let them sleep with you. One reason is if you suffer from allergies. There is a protein in cat dander that can cause allergies, and if you suffer from those, having your cat laying on your chest or sleeping on you will likely cause problems.
There are some cat breeds that have less of that protein in their dander. Maine Coon cats are one example. If you have problems with allergies but hate missing out on the feline love, you might choose one of the cat breeds that cause fewer problems in that regard.
Another reason you might not want your cat sleeping with you is that they may bring things into your bed from outside. With indoor cats, it’s not as big of a problem, but they can still track litter from the litter box into your bed.
Finally, they might also interrupt your sleep through the night, and of course, if they are startled, they might also claw you unintentionally.
To keep your cat from sleeping with you, you might consider getting them a cat bed of their own.
There’s almost nothing as cute as your furry, little feline friend climbing up on your chest, hitting you with one of their famous cat stares, and purring to show their contentment as you’re petting them. You feel loved and warm, and you can tell they do too.
There are several reasons why they might do this including the simple fact that they love you and want to show you that. They also know you’re a warm spot where they can feel safe and secure. It’s a wondering bonding experience that is quite simply the cat’s meow!