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Why does my cat sleep between my legs?

Cats are such independent animals that when they do almost anything we interpret as sweet, it becomes a magical moment, super unique, and nearly unrepeatable. We know that dogs always try to please their humans and live sharing love, but with cats, sometimes it can be very different. It’s only when and how they want. And why does my cat sleep between my legs?

What if, for us, a demonstration of love in cat language would translate into something very different? For example, when a cat blinks softly, we might think it is because it is sleepy; in reality, it is like a little kiss with which they transmit confidence and affection to its owner.

This led me to question many behaviors of my cat. For example, my cat often does not want to see me during the day, but it goes to my room late in the afternoon and lies down to sleep between my legs. This behavior makes me stay almost motionless, not to ruin the moment and prevent my cat from leaving because it’s super cute. But does my cat thinks the same?

Why does my cat sleep between my legs? 5 common reasons

If you’ve had the same doubt, I’ll share with you some interesting research I did on the reasons why a cat lies between a person’s legs.

1. Bonding time

Let’s start with the answer you were probably waiting to read, if your cat sleeps between your legs or on them, it’s because she loves you and wants to spend time with you.

why does my cat sleep between my legs - bonding

Have you heard of “pillowing“? It refers to when a group of cats with solid social bonds sleep together, using their bodies as a pillow and a source of warmth while continuing to strengthen their bond. Keep in mind that this is an activity that cats only do with their friends, not with just any cat. Likewise, when your cat sleeps with you, she is doing something similar, showing you that she trusts and feels very attached to you, and obviously, lots of love!

2. Warmth

Cats have a higher body temperature than humans, usually around 100 degrees F. That’s why these buddies love the sun, it won’t be uncommon to find them daily near the windows taking a nice sunbath, and if it’s cloudy, you can be sure you will find them looking for comfortable and cozy places to nap, for example, a cardboard box.

why does my cat sleep between my legs - warmth

At night, some cats’ favorite place to sleep is next to their humans, especially lying on their favorite person’s chest or legs, because even if we don’t notice it, our bodies radiate heat, which makes them a perfect source of warmth for a cold kitten.

3. Safety and security

Safety is also an adorable explanation. Your cat sleeps between your legs because, with you, she feels safe and secure from any danger that may attack her at her most vulnerable moment, which is when she sleeps.

Although indoors, your cat is unlikely to be in danger of being hunted by a large wild animal, cats retain the alert instinct inherited from the big cats living on the African steppe. If your cat lies down to sleep with you, you can be sure that your cat trusts you and knows that you will protect him at all times.

why does my cat sleep on my legs - security

4. Marking territory

What is one of the first things that come to mind when we think of a cat? Territorial, that’s what.

These furry little guys are so territorial that this behavior defines many aspects of their life, such as choosing where they will sleep or nap. Cats love to mark with their scent everything that is theirs, including your house and who lives in it. When your cat goes to sleep on your lap, it often seeks to transfer its scent to you so other cats know you already belong to another cat.

And suppose you’re wondering how your cute cat does this. In that case, I’ll tell you that cats have many sebaceous glands around their body, which release pheromones, a hormone that only cats can pick up and serve to receive information from their environment. Don’t worry, because we humans don’t detect any scent, but now you know that whenever your cat rubs against someone or something, it is to transfer its pheromones and claim it as its property.

5. Stress and anxiety

Unfortunately, cats are prone to get stressed and frightened quickly, as they have more developed senses than ours and often suffer from living in a world built almost exclusively for humans. If your cat doesn’t usually lie down between your legs and suddenly starts to do so, it may indicate that she is stressed or anxious. Now it’s up to you to see if any changes in her routine might bother her. It could be a new home pet, new furniture, or even a different air freshener.

Have you ever seen how cats run to hide in a high, inaccessible place when they get scared? They do something like that when they sleep between your legs. They hide to calm down in a safe place.

It’s cute, but what if I don’t want my cat sleeping on my legs?

Don’t worry. Sleeping with pets isn’t for everyone. It’s perfectly understandable if they get in the way of you moving freely, or if the cat moves around a lot during the night, it may constantly wake you up.

Some people hate feeling warm at night and don’t want the extra heat from their cat. Others may be allergic to animal hair. Whatever the reason, if you don’t want your cat to sleep on your legs, just gently push her away when she tries to do so. If you do it consistently, she’ll soon understand that she’s not welcome in that spot and will look for another place to sleep. But even if she doesn’t sleep between your legs anymore, know that you’re giving her a great show of love and affection by letting her do so when she wants.

If this is your case, here are some tips to help your cat prefer to sleep somewhere else, away from your bed.

Choose a good cat bed, those with slightly higher walls that hide the cat when lying down are ideal, and as a secret weapon, put a heating pad under the bed, so the cat will always feel warm. You can try adding another secret weapon if this doesn’t work for you. Place a piece of your clothes between the heating pad and the bed so your cat can smell your scent and feel calm.

Why does my cat sleep between my legs? Final words

There you have it, everything you need to know about why your cat loves to sleep between your legs. Remember that this behavior is usually a sign of affection and trust, but if you think your cat is doing it out of anxiety or stress, don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinarian. Do you have a cat that likes to sleep between your legs? Tell us in the comments!

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