How do cats choose a sleep partner?

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Sleep is vital for cats. This is because sleep replenishes energy, which is then needed for short bursts of energy-consuming exercise. For this reason, domestic cats sleep 12-18 hours a day, with adult cats sleeping even longer.

Cats need to snooze in a quiet, secluded area of the home. For most cats, warmth, height, shelter and security are essential features of their sleep behavior.


How and where a cat sleeps, and with whom, can reveal a lot about a cat’s emotions, health and overall well-being.

Let’s explore how cats bond with their owners and why they choose their favorite sleeping partners.


01 – Cats sleep next to their favorite people to make them feel safe and secure.

02 – Cats bond with the person who makes them feel safest and protected.

03 – Sleeping with a cat strengthens your bond, as long as both the cat and the chosen person interact positively.

The bond between cats.

Cats sleeping next to a bonded person.

Cats usually bond with one person in the household rather than several.

The positive experiences that kittens gain through daily interactions during their early socialization period pave the way for close relationships with specific people. Similarly, unhealthy kittens that require specialized treatment can develop long-lasting attachments with their caregivers after receiving consistent care.

According to a study published in the journal Current Biology, some cats develop strong emotional attachments to their caregivers that are similar to those of dogs and children. Most cats rely on their owners for security when they are stressed or in a new environment.

The cat’s temperament, health condition, home environment and owner’s personality are the basis for a strong bond with the cat. With time, choice, predictability, familiarity, routine, and a sense of control over interactions and the environment, cats will attach to their owners more quickly than impatient caregivers or people who force interactions.

When cats become attached to humans, they follow their owners from room to room. They tend to approach their owners and try to get their attention by meowing or petting. Putting their feet together and rubbing them, poking their heads out, meowing and napping on you all indicate that you are their favorite person.

To build a good relationship, call your cat at feeding time instead of leaving food out all day. Play with your cat on a regular basis and take the time to groom your cat daily, as long as your cat enjoys being groomed. Clicker training is also a great way to stimulate your cat’s mind and foster a close relationship.

What is social sleep in cats?

If your cat is willing to curl up in your lap and take a nap, it’s a sure sign that he has developed a close relationship with you.

Social sleeping in pet cats isn’t as obvious as it is in kittens because they grow up snuggled up to their mothers or housemates. Cats that have lived with you since they were kittens or have developed a social relationship with you at a very young age will also exhibit social sleeping behaviors.

Cuddling, lounging and sleeping, often petting each other and sometimes entwining themselves around each other’s bodies, shows social bonding and closeness between cats. In the home, cats from different social groups and poorly related cats often sleep in the same place, but keep their distance and make it clear that they tolerate each other.

This ultimately suggests that cats that choose to sleep with other pets and owners in socialization feel content, secure and happy. So let’s explore how cats choose their favorite places to sleep.

How do cats choose their favorite companions?

There are several motivations for cats to choose a sleeping partner.

Primary Caregiver

The primary caregiver is usually the cat’s favorite person.

Many cats prefer to nap with their primary caregiver because the primary caregiver understands the cat’s behavior, feeds regularly, meets the cat’s daily needs, and takes the cat for walks on a leash or tether. They also prefer to play and sleep with a companion who gives them their undivided attention for predatory behavior.


Cats can relax when they feel safe and secure.

Safety and security are crucial for cats because they are both predators and prey in the wild. Cats will choose to nap high up on the bed with the person they consider most protected. The risk of being attacked while sleeping is a serious threat to their survival.

People with a bond or attachment to a cat

Accepting your cat curling up on you for a nap is a great way to strengthen the bond.

Just like children, cats naturally develop strong attachments to people. Attached cats will follow their favorite people, try to get their attention, and sleep on them as a security blanket when there’s an opening.

Humans who provide warmth

Cats love warmth, and kittens absolutely need it to survive.

Cats are descended from the desert and need heat to survive and crave warmth.

Warmth is also essential for newborn kittens as they can lose heat quickly. Post-cats use their own body heat to warm their offspring, and kittens often huddle together to regulate their body temperature until they are several months old.

Similarly, adult cats seek out the warmest, safest companion. Sleeping next to, beside or on your head is a sure way to generate heat directly.

Olfactory Familiar Companion

Cats recognize odors and mark people as safe and familiar by rubbing up against them and leaving their scent behind.

Cats are exploratory creatures and use their sense of smell to determine whether a person is pleasant or unpleasant to be around. Cats can recognize people by their sense of smell and may be willing to rub their faces or snooze next to familiar faces to maintain social bonds and mark their territory.

Caregivers offer reassurance when cats are anxious

Like humans, cats experience stress and anxiety and naturally bond with others who can calm them and give them a sense of security.

Cats with high levels of anxiety or confusion may choose to rest or sleep next to their caregiver, who can ease their anxiety by gently petting them.

Similarly, cats with moderate or severe separation anxiety may curl up on the couch or bed and sleep next to their cat.

Why does my cat prefer to sleep with me instead of my husband?

Snoring or tossing and turning is not a good idea for a cat to sleep next to! They will choose the person who is sleeping soundly.

Cats instinctively want to sleep with someone they have a deep bond with. Cats will attach to a person and are usually attracted to the primary janitor who feeds them, plays with them and cares for them.

Another reason cats like to sleep next to you is the warmth and security you provide. Again, your side of the bed has a better view and more space compared to the owner’s.

Finally, if your husband snores, tosses and turns, or wakes up multiple times during the night, causing your cat discomfort, he will also want to sleep next to you as you sleep soundly.

Should I let my cat sleep with me?

After all, letting your cat sleep with you is a personal choice that benefits both people and cats.

Letting your cat sleep with you is a personal choice.

Allowing your beloved cat to purr contentedly as you fall asleep has a variety of health benefits, including reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and building intimacy like never before. You can also prohibit or reduce the amount of time you spend snoozing with your cat for reasons such as allergies, breathing problems, exposure to parasites, or nocturnal mischief that can affect the quality of your sleep.


Sleep is an essential behavior for both cats and humans. Like humans, cats enjoy napping with a loving, warm and secure companion. Sudden changes in a cat’s sleep pattern, where it sleeps, or who it sleeps with may signal distress or illness. Consult your veterinarian to ensure early detection and appropriate treatment.

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