Why Does My Cat Sleep Between My Legs? 7 Top Reasons

Medically reviewed by: Rebecca MacMillan BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAM MRCVS
Cat Behavior February 12, 2022

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Why Does My Cat Sleep Between My Legs? 7 Top Reasons

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Just as you need your eight hours of sleep every night, your feline also  needs her beauty sleep.

The typical cat sleeps between 12 to 18 hours. Cats have several naps during the day and night to replenish their energy, unlike humans, who often have one long sleep.

Undoubtedly, a comfortable and peaceful spot for your kitty to enjoy their naps is a necessity.

But why would your furball choose to doze off between your legs, considering there’s plenty of space in their own bed or on the couch?

Read on as we have all the answers to your question – why does my cat sleep between my legs?

1. Safety And Security

Cats have short, frequent naps. During these naps, your cat often feels vulnerable and insecure and will depend on you for protection. This is why they choose to sleep between your legs, as the spot makes them feel safe.

As explained by cat behavior expert Dr. Mikel Delgado, your legs act as the perfect fortress for your cat during sleep as she is partially hidden. Your cat sleeping on your legs also gives them a good viewpoint of the surroundings, allowing them to watch out for any danger.

Further, as explained by Dr. Delgado, during kittenhood, cats sleep by pillowing on each other next to their mother. When they grow up, this becomes a habit, and your feline will often feel secure and comfortable sleeping next to or on you, their adoptive mother.

2. Your Kitty May Be Stressed

Just like humans, cats also experience stress.

Cats often get stressed if they’re sick or perhaps due to the presence of another pet in the house. Your cat may also be anxious if you just moved to a new home or if there is a change in her routine.

If your feline suddenly develops odd behaviors like soiling in the house, being aggressive, and excessive grooming, they may be stressed.

An increased dependency on you and other family members is another common sign of stress among cats. Your anxious cat may constantly want to be close to you, even choosing to sleep between your legs. Being close to you provides your feline with the reassurance they need during this stressful period.

The more anxious your cat is feeling, the more possessive she becomes. During such periods, you may notice that trying to remove her from her preferred sleeping spot is met with lots of hissing, biting, and scratching.

3. It’s Warm And Cozy

Simply put—cats like it warm.

Cats are descended from desert animals and love being warm. They will often sunbath on a hot day or lie next to the radiator during cold nights.

According to Merck Veterinary Manual, your cat’s average body temperature is around 100.5 – 102.50F. During sleep, your cat will try to keep warm to maintain this temperature. That’s why your cat has a few mapped out warm spots in the house, between your legs being one of them.

Your cat will prefer to sleep on the dip between your legs as it keeps them warm on both sides of their body. The major blood vessels in this part of your body also ensures there is plenty of heat in this area. This all makes it one of  the coziest places your cat can settle in and sleep comfortably.

4. Your Cat Is Attracted To Your Scent

Cats have a great sense of smell.

Your cat may find the scent of the soap, perfume, or cologne you’re using appealing.

If your scent is relaxing and pleasing, you’ll find your cat sleeping between your legs to be close to you for this reason.

5. To Mark Her Territory

Cats claim their turf by marking it with their scent. Your furball transfers her scent-marking pheremonesby rubbing against objects and humans that they want to claim as their own.

So, your cat will rub against your legs as a way of marking you. In addition, when your feline sleeps between your legs, she is also claiming this as their sleeping spot.

If you have multiple cats in the house, you may realize that one cat often pushes out other felines that choose to sleep between your legs.  The cat is doing this to claim her spot back and remind the other cat that this is her territory.

6. It’s Bonding Time

You give your cat an extra level of security during sleep, a time when they’re most vulnerable.

Mikel Delgardo, Ph.D., says that cats love to ‘pillow’ at night. You may have noticed one cat using another feline as a pillow at night, especially if you have multiple furballs in your house.

However, if you have only one cat in the house, she will use you as the pillow. This adorable behavior also points to the way cats bond with humans. Your cat falling asleep between your legs indicates that the two of you have a solid and special bond.

7. She Is A Lap Cat

A kitten who was often picked up or encouraged to sleep in between her owner’s legs when she was small will continue to adopt this habit as she gets older.

This may also be true for an adopted cat who loves to sleep between your legs. The furball probably remembers this behavior from her time with her previous owner.

Some cat breeds like Main Coons and Ragdolls are lovable lap cats who love to cuddle and curl next to their owners – it’s in their nature!

Conclusion

Cats are beautiful creatures. One of the adorable ways your feline may be trying to show you affection is by sleeping between your legs. If you are comfortable with your cat sleeping in this position, extend the love by giving them a gentle stroke on their head.

However, if you find this behavior uncomfortable, look for an alternative warm and secure spot for your feline friend. You can put a heating pad, a soft toy, or some of your clothes on your cat’s bed to make them feel more secure and comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do cats choose who to sleep with?

Cats are very sensitive to smell and sound. Your cat may find a particular person’s odour or snores a turn-off. If your scent is appealing and your breathing is soothing, your cat will choose to sleep next to you in preference.

What does it mean when your cat sleeps by your feet?

When your feline falls asleep, she becomes vulnerable to potential dangers. She will sleep by your feet to stay alert.Plus you are there to help guard and protect her.

What does it mean when your cat sleeps next to you?

Your cat may sleep next to you to protect their territory. You are her property, and she believes that she possesses you. Your furball may also sleep next to you because she misses you and wants companionship, especially when you’ve been away from her the whole day.

Why does my cat sleep in my bed when I’m not there?

Your bed has your scent spread all over it. Your puss will sleep on your bed when you aren’t there to breath in your scent, making him feel secure.

The bed is also cozy and comfortable, as well as being elevated, allowing your kitty to keep a watchful eye on the whole room in case of any emerging danger. Your cat has also marked his territory and claimed possession of both you and your bed with his pheromones.

Agnes is a freelance writer with big love for all fluffy creatures, especially her Maine Coon cat. She's written over 200 articles about animal care, ranging from how to raise kittens to the healthiest pet snacks on the market
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