Have you noticed that when you go to bed, your cat automatically heads to the foot of the bed and curls up by your feet? It’s no mistake, and it’s not your cat giving you the cold shoulder. This is a deliberate decision on your cat’s part, and there are a bunch of reasons why he might choose to sleep there, instead of curling up on your stomach or by your shoulder. In fact, if your cat sleeps by your feet, you should take it as a compliment and feel flattered. Factors like your cat’s affection for you, the fact that you make your cat feel safe, and even the body heat you generate probably all played into your cat’s choosing that spot to sleep.
Cats sleep at your feet for many reasons. Animal health and behavior consultant Erin Askeland told Martha Stewart that your cat might seek you out for extra security when he sleeps. Your cat is vulnerable when he sleeps, so he might sleep at the foot of the bed because he trusts you and feels secure by you. That location also gives him a quick escape in case anything threatening does happen, and his instincts will tell him to seek out a spot where he’ll have a clear escape route.
Your cat might also choose to sleep by you because of the connection you’ve created with him. Cats recognize people who feed and care for them, and while your cat can be independent, his social side might come out when he seeks you out at night. Your cat likely recognizes that you’re the one who gives him attention, and sleeping by you might be an effort to return that affection.
According to Vet Explains Pets, your cat might sleep at your feet in an effort to protect you. Cats are naturally protective of their home and belongings, and your cat might plan to wake you up in case of any danger. In a way, sleeping by your feet is your cat’s way of looking over you.
Your cat might also choose that sleeping spot as a way to mark his territory: you. Your cat may feel that he owns you, and his sleeping by you is a way to demonstrate that to other cats.
It’s also possible that your cat chooses to sleep at your feet because it’s a spot where he’s less likely to be disturbed. Most of the movement that humans do as we sleep takes place around our torsos. You might move your arms and rearrange the pillow, but your feet probably tend to stay pretty still. Your cat may have caught onto this and decided that the best way to get some quality sleep is to pick the location in the bed that’s the least disturbed. The foot of the bed may also be more appealing because it’s flatter. There’s less chance of blankets getting lumped up there, and your cat might find that there’s more room, too.
It’s one thing for your cat to sleep at your feet, but it’s another when he decides to sleep on your feet. Vet Explains Pets notes that if your cat sleeps on your feet and ankles, he might be seeking you out as his own personal heater. Cats might move to sleep on or next to you during the night, then return to your feet as the temperature in the room drops and they want more heat. While there are plenty of reasons why cats want to sleep close to you, sometimes it comes down to practicality and just staying warm.
Having your cat sleep at your feet can be pleasant and reassuring, especially during the winter when you have a warm, purring ball of fur by your toes as you doze off. However, depending on how well your cat sleeps through the night, having your cat in bed with you could be a distraction, waking you up. Some playful cats might find it tempting to pounce on your toes during the night, and trying to avoid accidentally kicking your cat can result in stiffness and discomfort. You might have better luck trying to convince your cat to sleep on a cat bed in your room or providing him with lots of playtime before bed to encourage him to sleep through the night.
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