Your cat prefers to sleep between your legs because it is a safe, secure, and protected environment for her. It also provides comfort and warmth while attempting to signal to you that she absolutely trusts you.
While it’s true that cats can be finicky and sensitive about where they sleep, they may also seek out a unique and secure location where they can sleep in solitude. Surprisingly, that specific location is right between your legs. This may seem strange to first-time pet owners, but rest assured that it is only part of a cat’s normal activity. The act of a cat lying on a person is designed as a sign of affection, according to John Bradshaw, author of “The Behavior of a Domestic Cat.”
The following are some of the most prevalent reasons your cat sleeps between your legs:
Why Does My Cat Sleep Between My Legs?
You help keep them warm and cozy
Warmth is often the primary factor for many cats when deciding where to sleep. Cats enjoy being warm, thus they will go to great lengths to locate a spot that is as warm as possible. During the day, this might be a window or over the radiator. But what will be the hottest location in the house at night, when the heating is normally turned off and the sun has set? Yes, you are! Sleeping between your legs offers your cat the optimal spot, since your legs can keep them toasty on both sides! Cats will frequently pick a sleeping area that appears to humans to be unpleasant, but if it’s warm, they’ll make themselves comfy in whatever spot they’ve chosen!
They’re marking you as their territory
If you have numerous cats, you may notice that some prefer to lie between your legs while others do not. Because cats are territorial, one of your cats may claim this location as their territory, and the other of your cats will know to keep away unless they want to get into a fight over it.
You could even discover that one of your cats settles in between your legs for a nap, only to be pushed out by one of your other cats when they decide that’s where they want to sleep. Pheromones are left by cats all around your house, including on you! They scent-mark their preferred locations to indicate to other cats in the house that it is theirs. So, if your cat rubs its cheeks or face on your legs before settling down, it’s a sign that they’re marking you!
You make them feel secure
Cats are predators, yet they are also prey for larger creatures in the wild. Even if your domestic cats don’t have to worry about being pounced on when sleeping, it’s still in their nature to seek out a secure haven. When they sleep, all creatures are vulnerable, yet there is protection in numbers. Kittens sleep in a cute bundle, close to their mother for protection and security. When your adult cat curls up between your legs to sleep, you’re giving them with a secure haven where they can sleep soundly while knowing you’re watching out for them. Isn’t that adorable?
They’re bonding with you
If you have more than one cat, you may find that they enjoy sleeping snuggled up together. This helps them bond with one another while also keeping them warm! This is referred to as “pillowing.” You could see your cats cuddling up for a snooze, using each other’s bodies as cushions. If you just have one cat, they may try to bond with you in the same way. Even if you have numerous cats, some of them may not get along well enough to cushion each other, so they’ll most likely try it on you!
They want a deep sleep
From the arm of the sofa to the top of the bookcase, our kitties can take a little catnap just about anyplace! The majority of the time, cats replenish themselves in this manner. However, if they require a deep slumber, they will seek out a safe location where they may completely relax. Where could be a better place for a dog to fall asleep than between his or her owner’s legs?
Safety & Security
The main purpose is for the sake of safety and security. When nothing awful will likely happen to your cat while they sleep, this is not the case in the outdoors. When wild cats are sleeping, they are at their weakest, unable to fight or flee if a predator pounces.
Although there are no predators in your house, domestic cats inherit these inherent sense of vulnerability when resting. As a result, cats seek for the safest possible sleeping spot. Their safe area is with you, as their owner whom they love and trust! Isn’t it wonderful that they know you’ll protect them if something horrible happens?
It’s frequently best to sleep between your legs rather than next to you since it provides greater protection. Your cat will be able to cuddle up to your legs on all sides. This is similar to how cats enjoy sitting in cardboard boxes because it is warm and comfortable, and it keeps them safe from predators while they sleep.
Cats are territorial creatures which use smell to establish ownership of their territory. They disseminate their fragrance by rubbing pheromones, which are specific compounds, on locations and items they want to claim as their own. Humans are unable to detect these pheromones, but other cats will recognize the location or item as belonging to another cat and will be warned to keep away.
When you’re laying in bed, your cat has the perfect chance to rub these pheromones all over you. Cats accomplish this by sleeping in your face, but they also lie between your legs to transfer their smell to you and brand you as your own. They’re taking ownership of you by doing so.
This “claiming ownership” may seem unusual to humans, but it’s your cat’s method of ensuring that you give them your full love and attention. They want you all to themselves, and one method to do this is through smell communication and territorial marking.
Additionally, if you have many cats, you may discover that just one of them sleeps on your legs. This is because they’ve designated your lap as their preferred napping location. The pheromones they left behind have signaled your other cats to look for a new place to sleep.
Warmth & Comfort
Cats prefer to be warm and have a little higher core body temperature than humans, so when it’s time to sleep, they’ll seek out the warmest location in the house. When the sun sets, the hottest area is almost always on you!
When we sleep on our legs or snuggle up between them, we emit body heat, which cats can detect. This helps individuals feel warm and comfortable, increasing their chances of a good night’s sleep. For the night, we serve as their own hot water bottle.
A cat may seek warmth in a variety of places, not just between your legs. For the same sense of warmth and comfort, my cat sleeps on my chest. If your cat doesn’t feel at ease lying on you, they may decide to try napping somewhere else. In these instances, cats sleep with their faces covered and cuddle up tight to keep warm and secure.
Good Vantage Point
My cat doesn’t always lie between my legs; sometimes she sleeps on top of them! Many of the same benefits apply here, including warmth, safety, and comfort. It does, however, have the added bonus of giving your cat an excellent vantage position from which to survey the room.
The propensity of a cat for sleeping on an elevated platform is innate. In the wild, cats who perch on elevated platforms have the finest views of what’s going on below, allowing them to keep an eye on their prey and predators. Even though domestic cats aren’t on the alert for predators, they experience the same emotions of comfort and happiness while resting high up.
In your room, your legs may not appear to be a very high surface. However, because they are higher than the floor and your bed, they may be the most comfortable alternative. Your cat can view what’s happening on around them on the bed and on the floor below from this posture.
Stress & Anxiety
Unfortunately, a cat lying between your legs isn’t necessarily a positive indication; this is one of the cat sleeping postures while unwell that has been associated to tension and worry. An worried cat will become territorial and attached to its owners, sleeping as near to them as possible. This might be between your knees, on your chest, or somewhere else in your vicinity.
There are additional indicators you might check for if your cat is worried or anxious. Are you seeing that your cat is napping more than usual? Is it possible that they aren’t using their litter box? Have you seen any additional changes in your conduct or increased vocalizations? All of these are signs of cat anxiety!
If your cat is resting between your legs as a result of stress, you should try to figure out what’s causing it so you can eradicate it. Perhaps a new person or animal has entered your home. Even minor modifications in the sort of litter or cat food you use might make your cat nervous and uneasy. Cats are creatures of habit, and even minor changes can be difficult to deal with.
Remove the stressor from your cat’s environment as much as possible to make them feel more at peace. It’s also a good idea to provide numerous high and enclosed areas for your cat to hide when they’re feeling threatened. Furthermore, having a variety of interesting toys and puzzles might assist cats with separation anxiety avoid boredom while they are alone at home.
A Bonding Exercise
Cats are known for their independence and aloofness, yet they are still social creatures who require love and compassion. They’re utilizing sleep as a bonding activity in order to develop a stronger bond with you.
Sleeping between your legs may seem like an unusual method to make friends, but it’s very typical in the feline world. It’s normal to see lions and other big cats wrap up together to sleep in prides and other groupings. If you have many cats, you may discover that they like to sleep together as well. “Pillowing” is the term for this type of activity.
Cats frequently purr while they sleep in unison while pillowing to enhance the family bond even more. This refers to the use of purring by kittens and their moms as a form of communication and mother-child affection. Many mature cats that live together, however, still engage in this activity.
If you just have one cat, your cat may be using you as a substitute for cuddling with other feline companions. Consider it a compliment! It’s a clear show of trust and devotion, as well as their desire to become your greatest buddy. If they aren’t already, that is.
For Deep Sleep
Cats require a lot of sleep. Their bodies may repair, grow, and develop during this stage of sleep. It allows people to reclaim their energy and promotes physical recuperation, allowing them to wake up feeling energized and aware.
Your lap is equipped with everything a cat requires to fall asleep quickly. Furthermore, if your cat sleeps between your legs on a frequent basis, your bed will smell like her, making her feel even more at peace.
If you look closely, you may detect evidence that your cat is sleeping deeply. Their body posture will be loose, and they will appear to be entirely oblivious to their surroundings. They may also use their paw to shield their face from light and noise while becoming extra warm.
Cats will cycle between this and another stage of sleep known as REM sleep once they are in a deep slumber. Memory and learning are supposed to benefit from this sort of sleep. Do your cat’s paws twitch while she’s sleeping? If this is the case, your cat is most likely in REM sleep, which is the period of the sleep cycle during which dreams occur.
A Safer Option
When you sleep on your chest, your kitten will be woken up and compelled to move away if you roll over. When a cat sleeps close to you, on the other hand, they risk being rolled over in the night.
With all things considered, lying between your legs seems like a secure and desirable alternative for a cat that is focused on sharing your bed. You can turn from side to side without waking up your kitten, enabling them to get some much-needed rest. They could be gently moved out of the way, but that’s about it!
What to do if you don’t want your cat sleeping between your legs
If you don’t mind your cat sleeping between your legs as often as they like, that’s excellent! However, for some owners, this might mean having trouble falling asleep, experiencing leg cramps, or waking up when you need to roll over and discovering that you can’t get back asleep.
Finding a strategy to gently urge your cat to locate a new napping location is the solution in this scenario. Consider purchasing them a new cat bed with a heating pad instead, so they can stay warm and snug. Alternatively, lay down a t-shirt with your smell on it to let them feel at ease without having to sleep on you!
If you’re satisfied with your cat sleeping on your bed but don’t want them lying between your legs, use clicker training to encourage them to sleep next to you. They’ll quickly understand that being near you is almost as wonderful as being with you, and they’ll get goodies for it!
Many cats have a favorite napping area, and understanding why might help you better understand your feline companion.