Last updated: November 3, 2016
Good question! Cats do many strange things; they knead you with their paws, they rub their lips against you, they scratch in doorways and they go BANANAS at the merest whiff of tuna. But there is one thing that has always baffled me more than any other. WHY DOES MY CAT SLEEP ON MY HEAD??? I ask this with tears in my eyes because I am a relatively long-haired lady and I refuse to have a crew cut for the sake of my moggy, no matter how much I love him, so living with tangled hair is, I guess, a small price to pay!
Safety and Security
In the wild, a cat is in genuine danger every time he lies down to go to sleep. He may be a predator, but he’s a very small one. Your cat may be a semi-domesticated little guy, but he’s still wild inside, and all his primeval instincts are telling him to seek the safest place he can find. You are the source of shelter, warmth, and food, so he snuggles up to the cuddliest part of you! Why does my cat sleep on my head? Because sometimes he’s a scaredy-cat!
He’s a Hottie!!!
First of all, a human’s healthy temperature is 98.6f (37c). A cat runs a bit hotter than we do to keep his basal metabolism in equilibrium. The basal metabolism is the minimum number of calories needed to keep your little darling fighting fit. His temperature is around 102f (39c) so you can see that he needs a bit more warmth to keep him comfortable. Since our heads release the biggest amount of heat compared to any other part of our body, this could be why kitty loves it so much.
You Smell Good!!!
They may just like your scent, particularly your hair, (although I think that expensive hair conditioner you bought last will be wasted on them!) As you know, cats are territorial animals, and you are part of their domain. So marking your head and hair with their scent may give them a sensation of being protected while they sleep. Why does my cat sleep on my head? Because I’m the first person he runs to when he’s scared!
Tossing, Turning And Kicking!!!
If you’re like me, you’re one of those people who can’t seem to get comfortable at night. You turn this way and it’s wrong, turn that way and it’s still wrong. Even when you’re fast asleep you are still getting your bedclothes into a tangle! Your head, relatively speaking, is less mobile, so it’s a more restful place. Why does my cat sleep on my head? Because it’s the only way he can get any rest!
I’m Da Boss!!!
So you have three big tom cats. Their names are Tom, Dick, and Harry. Tom is the boss. He has to be high up because he has the highest status, so he sleeps at your head, the most important part of you. Dick is the next in line. He sleeps at your feet, where he’s close to you but not close enough to threaten Tom. Harry has a basket in the corner of the room, not because you love him any less than the other two, but because he is the lowest ranking in the social hierarchy and the most submissive. We shouldn’t feel sorry for Harry because he’s quite happy. Cats and other animals are not like us. They sort their rankings out by some means known to and understood by them and if we try to tamper with it we will only cause discord.
It’s Our Only Furry Bit!!!
This is speculation only, but it has been theorized that, just as kittens like to knead their mother’s fur, cats like us for the same reason. It just feels nice. Our pillows are often the softest part of our bed too, and if there’s one thing that your furball needs it’s his creature comforts!
Hello! Anybody In There?
I’m hungry – you forgot to fill my food bowl! Hey, you, I’m dying of thirst – where’s my clean water? My catnip mouse? My litter tray needs changing! You are neglecting me! This may, of course, be accompanied by pats on the face, tickling with whiskers and sandpapery kisses. This mean that there may be some absolutely vital element of your cat’s welfare needs that you forgot to attend to so, hey, doesn’t matter if you have a sixteen-hour work day tomorrow – get up and sort it out, you lazy human!
I Missed You!
Yes, I know you’re busy and have to go and do the shopping, working, gymming and all those other things that humans have to do day in and day out! But what about me? I’m only a poor little cat and there’s only so much fun to be had out of a catnip mouse! Let me come and cozy up to you since I haven’t seen you since this morning! Sometimes the cat will show other manifestations of separation anxiety by defecating outside the litter box or even on the owner’s clothes. Make sure you make time for your cat when you come in, and some intensive play sessions are a good idea too, but not when he’s anxious. Don’t reward him when he’s showing signs of anxiety; this will only reinforce the negative behavior. Do it when he’s calm and contented, and repeat it often so that he understands what you want.
Why Does My Cat Like To Sleep On My Chest?
You are your cat’s whole world, and just as a human baby relies on his mother for his nutrition, shelter, and warmth, your cat needs you in the same way and wants to be near you. He finds the sight, smells and sounds of your body reassuring and comforting, and there are bits of you that are much more comfortable than others. For example, he doesn’t try to get any rest on your knee!
Why does my cat like to sleep on my chest? Your chest is a noisy place, actually, with that great big thumping heartbeat in there, but it may remind your cat of the rhythm of his mother’s heartbeat while he was nursing. The slow up and down movement of your chest and the noise of your breathing are very comforting sounds. I don’t know about snoring; I asked my cat and he gave me a funny look, so the jury is still out on that one. Even the noises your stomach makes may be pleasant for them since they are all associated with you, their human parent.
Cats are not the aloof, solitary creatures they are portrayed as. Maybe they don’t hurl themselves at you as you come in the door like dogs do – but they sure as heaven love you – in their own inimitable feline style!