For most pet parents there's nothing quite like the feeling we get when our beloved feline friend decides to curl up on us. The soft vibrations of a purring kitty can do wonders to soothe our jagged nerves or just reassure us that we are loved by a different living species. But what does all this furry attention really mean? Do our cats truly want to show their undying love and devotion to us, or are they just seeking out some warmth? Read on to discover the endearing (and not-so-endearing) reasons why our cats sleep on us.
1. The NEED for Warmth
We know that being warm to a cat is on par with a good bowl of tuna, so of course curling up on us is the ideal spot, especially at night after the sun has set. However, there is more to a cat's constant need to be toasty then meets the eye. According to Cat Ranch Rescue, the feline species has a higher body temperature than we humans do; cats are 102 degrees Fahrenheit while humans are 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit. To maintain this level of body warmth a cat must expend a great deal of energy or "fuel." What's the easiest and least resistant way to find that heat? By lying on top of a sleeping or resting human!
2. Creature Comforts
Did you know on average a cat will sleep up to 16 hours each day? That's a lot of resting, so your cat wants to do this in comfort and coziness. Cat beds, pillows or even a pile of laundry is nice, but knowing our cat's need to maintain a higher body temperature, it only makes sense that sleeping on top of a human that is snuggled under a pile of blankets is the nirvana of kitty comfort.
3. Safe and Sound
All animals have the need to be safe (it's hardwired into their genetic makeup) so what better place to have a long catnap then on their protector's lap or chest? Having your cat's trust and knowing it feels totally safe and secure on you is a wonderful feeling. Let kitty sleep away those hours in peace and comfort.
4. Kitty Love
Finally, we get to the part where we know our cat loves us! Yes! Our feline friends do miss us, especially after we've been gone at work or school all day. The minute we walk in the door our cats are there to greet us and get their tummies fed. Since our feline companions can't talk, curling up on us is just one of the ways they demonstrate their love and affection. Enjoy this time despite their need to be soaking up your warmth.
Now that we know why our cats want to sleep on us we are going to explore, what experts call, the "pitfalls" of letting our felines share our beds at night. You may or may not agree with their findings especially since, according to American Pet Products survey, 62% of cats sleep with their adult pet parents, while another 13% sleep with the family children. However, here are their findings;
1. Disturbance of Sleep. By nature cats are nocturnal. Sure they may settle down at night for a few hours, but most of the time a cat will pounce, play, jump on and off the bed and even bat at their sleeping human. All this can be very disruptive and in fact accounts for 41% of sleep-deprived pet parents (according to the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center).
2. Allergy Sufferers Suffer More. Anyone that has allergies to dander or the hair of a cat, should NEVER allow them into their sleeping quarters. Of course, doctors do not recommend having a cat at all if you are allergic to them; however, sometimes circumstance don't always work out that way. For those of you that can't resist owning a precious feline, invest in a good HEPA air purifier for your home and bedroom.
3. Cats Can Carry Infectious Diseases. This point would apply more to those folks that let their cats outside. Being outdoors (even for a short period-of-time each day) can expose your cat to parasites such as fleas, ticks, ringworm, roundworm and other diseases that can be transmitted to humans. If your cat goes outside be sure to protect it against parasites and don't let it sleep with you at night, just to be extra safe.
4. Intimacy With Your Mate. Some people are totally unnerved by the prospect of having their cat in the room when it comes time to being intimate with their mate. Of course, this is an individual preference, but according to experts it can put a damper on these physical encounters.
Let Sleeping Cats Lie
Whether it be scientific, nature or nurture that draws our cats to our laps and sleeping chests, we as pet parents should enjoy these restful and endearing gestures. After all, our cats are only on loan to us for a short while, so enjoy these moments of cuddly comfort and be thankful Kitty is a part of your life today.