Lap time, nap time: Why your cat chooses to sit on you

If you’re anything like me, you love it when your cat decides to lie on you. Even though it can be annoying when you’re trying to do other things (like writing articles so you can afford to buy them cat food), you still let them stay. They chose you, after all, so how could you disturb them (even if you have had to go to the bathroom for hours)? But why do cats decide to bestow this honor on their owners? Why do cats like laps? Keep reading to discover a few of the surprising reasons why your cat may choose to sit on you.

They seek connection and attention

Despite their reputation for being aloof, most cats crave attention (especially from their favorite people). Cats get lonely when you’re not around and will beg for attention when you are. One way they do this is by sitting on your lap; it’s hard to ignore them when they’re right on top of you! They also come to you for connection and love. Usually, a cat on the lap gets affection, so your cat may come to you when she wants to be petted and feel loved.

You’re warm

Whether it’s by the radiator or in a sunbeam, kitties love napping in warm spots. One of the coziest places in your home happens to be wherever you are because of the heat your body emits! This could be why your cat likes sitting with you. They may choose to sit on your lap because they want to soak up all your body heat. Luckily, it’s not a one-way street; your cat’s body heat and fur can help keep you warm, too. With your cat on your lap, you’ll both stay nice and cozy.

They trust you

Cat sitting on someone's lap while they're reading
Impact Photography/Shutterstock

Sitting on top of you is the ultimate sign of trust. Cats only sit in the laps of people they really feel safe with. This is especially true if they nap on you. Your cat is essentially saying she trusts you to protect her against any predators while she’s napping. To build even more trust with your pet, make sure you’re not forcing her to sit on your lap, and you’re giving her the option to walk away when she wants. By acknowledging her freedom and leaving your lap open to her, you’re encouraging your cat to trust you even more.

They like the way you smell and sound

Your body is like a white-noise machine for cats. They find the noises human beings naturally make, like breathing and heartbeats, to be very soothing. It helps them relax into an easy slumber. Your cat may also be attracted to your unique scent. Smelling you may make your cat feel safer, making it easier for her to fall asleep. This can also explain why your cat always seems to love sleeping on your clothes, bed, and other possessions.

Your clothes feel nice

Have you noticed that your cat sleeps on your lap only when you’re wearing certain things? Cats love to nap in warm, comfy spots. They’re also sensitive to certain textures, favoring soft, fuzzy materials over scratchy ones. If you’re wearing a fluffy fleece sweatshirt or a soft bathrobe, your cat may be more likely to cozy up to you. But if you’re wearing a vinyl raincoat, she may not be as interested.

They like you

In addition to trusting you and wanting your attention, a cat sitting on your lap usually means that they like you! Lots of cats choose a favorite human. Cats have many ways of showing their affection, like purring, nudging you, and sitting in your lap. It’s high praise coming from a cat. They’re more likely to rest next to their favorite person than anyone else in the room.

There are many reasons why a cat may decide to sit on your lap. They might want to bask in your warmth, gain your attention, show how much they care about you, or some combination of aims. But one thing is for sure, a cat on your lap is a sign of trust and love. So, the next time your cat decides to get cozy in your lap, just remember what a compliment it is!

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