For most cat owners there is nothing quite like the feeling we get when our beloved feline friend decides to curl up on us. The soft vibrations of a purring kitty can do wonders to de-stress, reassuring us that all will be well. But what does all this furry attention really mean? Do our cats truly want to show their undying love and devotion to us, or are they just seeking out some warmth and perhaps more food? Here are 4 good, and 4 not so good, reasons why our cats sleep on us.
1. The NEED for Warmth
We know that being warm for a cat is on par with a good bowl of tuna, so of course curling up on us is the ideal spot to steal warmth, especially after nightfall. The constant need for a cat to seek warmth is biologically based. A cat has a higher body temperature than we humans do. Cats are 37.7-39.1 degrees Celsius while humans are 36.5-37.5 degrees Celsius. To maintain this higher level of body warmth a cat must expend a great deal of energy or "fuel." So the easiest and least resistant way to find that heat can be by lying on top of a sleeping or resting person!
2. Creature Comforts
Did you know on average a cat sleeps up to 16 hours each day? (it’s a hard life!) That's a lot of resting, so your cat wants to do this in comfort and coziness, with the minimum amount of effort to stay warm. Cat beds, pillows or even a pile of laundry is nice, but knowing a cat's need to maintain a higher body temperature, it makes perfect sense that sleeping on top of a person is the nirvana of kitty comfort.
3. Safe and Sound
All animals have the need to be safe (it's hardwired into their genetic makeup) so what better place to have a long catnap then on their protector's lap or chest? Having your cat's trust and knowing it feels totally safe and secure on you is a wonderful feeling. Enjoy kitty sleeping away those hours in peace and comfort.
4. Kitty Love
Finally, we get to the part where we know our cat loves us! Yes! Our feline friends do miss us, especially after we've been gone at work or school all day. The minute we walk in the door our cats are there to greet us. Since our feline companions can't talk, curling up on us is just one of the ways they demonstrate their love and affection. Enjoy this time despite their need to be soaking up your warmth.
But there are some downsides...
Now that we know why our cats want to sleep on us, a little thought of the downside is worthwhile.
1. Disturbance of Sleep. By nature cats are nocturnal. While they may settle down at night for a few hours, a cat will pounce, play, jump on and off the bed and even bat at their sleeping human. All this can be very disruptive as all cat owners experience from time to time.
2. Allergy Sufferers Suffer More. Anyone that has allergies to dander or the hair of a cat, should NEVER allow them into their bedrooms. Of course, doctors do not recommend having a cat at all if you are allergic to them. For those who can't resist owning a cat, investing in a good HEPA air purifier can help with allergies.
3. Cats Can Carry Infectious Diseases. This point would apply more to inside/outside cat owners. Being outdoors (even for a short period-of-time each day) can expose your cat to parasites such as fleas, ticks, ringworm, roundworm and other diseases that can be transmitted to humans. If your cat goes outside be sure to protect it against parasites and consider not sharing a bed, just to be extra safe.
4. Intimacy. Some people are totally unnerved by the prospect of having their cat in the room when it comes time to being intimate. Important to keep in mind!
It doesn’t really matter the underlying drive behind kitty cuddles. Choosing to share your sleeping with a cat (or cats), as long as you all appreciate the sharing and still get enough rest, is a joy for pet owners! After all, our pets are an intimate part of our lives and sharing is caring.