02 Apr Why Do Cats Lay On Your Chest?
We all love cuddling with our cats, even though they often jump out of our grasp after just a few minutes of cuddle time. Why is it, though, that cats prefer to lay on our chest versus anywhere else?
Surprisingly, there are many reasons why your kitty would choose this spot. These include:
- Wanting to get warmer
- Listening to your heartbeat
- Claiming you or being protective
- Feeling stressed or anxious
Despite how they can be portrayed, cats are a social animal, and often seek a companion. Believe it or not, they usually snuggle up to you because they love you and it makes them feel safe and secure.
In addition, they are predators so they are always ready to attack or defend themselves. So it makes sense that they would seek your protection as their owner. Finally, cats become calmer and at ease when they smell the scent of familiar things, like you!
Your Cat is Trying to Get Warmer
One of the most common reasons for this behavior is simply that your cat is trying to get warmer. Cats’ normal body temperatures can range from 99.5°F to 102.5°F, and maintaining that temperature takes work. This is why they so often seek sunny places, window sills, and warm vents (including your laptop).
Unsurprisingly, you are also warm! But did you know that your face and chest are the warmest parts of your body? Your cat sure does! Which is why if your cat is cold, they are more likely to lay on you for extra warmth and comfort.
This is more common at night and in the winter. In addition, if you are running a fever, your cat will most likely draw near to you because of your high body heat.
While sometimes bothersome and uncomfortable, there are actually surprising benefits to letting your cat sleep on your chest. A cat’s purr has been shown to reduce stress and be medically therapeutic for illnesses in humans.
Your Cat is Listening to Your Heartbeat
Some veterinarians believe cats are drawn to the rhythm and sound of our heartbeat. As a kitten, they would snuggle up to their mothers’ belly, and now that they are apart, they do the same with you. It serves as a sense of familiar comfort and reassurance.
Your Cat is Claiming You or Being Protective
Cats are very territorial creatures. They like to mark people, places, and things with their scent. Have you ever noticed your cat rubbing their cheek against you? That’s also your cat trying to mark you with their scent. Your cat’s pheromones not only establish ownership but also familiarity for future encounters. By sitting on your chest, it may be a subtle signal to others in your environment that you belong to them.
Your Cat Feels Stressed or Anxious
If it is unusual for your cat to lay on your chest and they suddenly start doing it, it could indicate they are feeling stressed or anxious. When cats feel stressed, their behavior changes in one of two ways. Either they become very withdrawn and hide, or they seek constant reassurance and attention.
Thankfully, there are other symptoms of a stressed or anxious cat, making it easy for you to recognize if there’s a problem.
Common signs include:
- Failure to use their litter box
- Increased vocalization
- Sleeping more than usual
- An increase or decrease in appetite
- An increase or decrease in grooming
If your kitty is exhibiting any of these signs, bring them into PetWellClinic for a physical exam. We will assess your cat’s health and walk you through the best next steps to keep them happy and healthy.
How to Stop Your Cat From Sleeping on You
As lovely as it is to have your cat with you when you’re sleeping, there is also a plethora of annoyances that occur. Sharp claws digging into you, constant mewing, toe biting and nose licking. So, how can you stop this from happening and disturbing your sleep?
Buy them their own bed
The best way to encourage your cat to sleep elsewhere is to buy them a cozy bed. We know that kitties prefer to sleep where it’s warm, so make sure to place their bed in a warm, preferably heightened, corner of your house. Your cat will want to feel secure in their bed as well.
Reward positive behavior by making sure your cat gets lots of positive attention and treats when they’re in their bed, especially when they stay in it.
Finally, help your cat feel secure by placing something of yours in their bed. Perhaps a t-shirt or their favorite toy. The familiar scent will ease them and help them feel comfortable and safe at night.
Keep your door closed
One of the most obvious ways to keep your cat off of you while you sleep is to keep your door closed. Your kitty won’t like this change, but no matter how much they scratch and fuss, you can’t let them in. If you give in, they’ll know it works so they will continue scratching at your door every night.
PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. Find your local PetWellClinic today and bring your pet in for their first appointment!
PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.