Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Chest

Max sleeps on me like I’m a cat bed. He will patiently wait around the sofa if I’m up watching TV late and the second I put my head on the pillow, he’s in the bed and climbing on top of me for his midnight sleep. It’s basically a ritual that I’ve accepted at this point. I know many cats that sleep on their owners while they nap and even when they lay down. Here are some common reasons why cats sleep on your chest.

Body Heat

Who doesn’t love a nice warm place to cuddle up? Just because they have fur doesn’t mean that they don’t get cold. Cats are known to frequent warm places. This is why they lay in the sun for hours on end and you’ll find them by heating vents in the house. It’s also the same reason they love dark, cooler places when they want to cool down. Your chest is where most of your warm blood circulates so it represents a great place for your cat to keep warm while being close to you.

Cats Like Your Smell

I don’t think that your cat always needs a biological reason to sleep on your chest. They have a very keen sense of smell and it’s entirely possible that the familiar smell of their owners makes them feel comfortable.

It’s no different that babies that like their favorite blankets or significant others that wear each others sweatshirts. We all like to smell things that are familiar to us and what better way to get to the source than you actually sleep on your chest. That could be uncomfortable if they were an adult sized human. Thankfully they are smaller felines

People are pretty comfortable

Your cat spends upwards of 15 hours a day sleeping on various surfaces. Hard floors. Boxes. Pillows. Blankets. A soft chest is actually not that bad of a place to sleep for a 10lb cat. If babies love sleeping on their parents chests then it stands to reason that a cat would also enjoy it.

Safety

Your cat depends on you for food, shelter, attention, water and basically everything they need to be safe. While they are apex predators that are capable of hunting if it was necessary, they enjoy the comfort that living with people provides them. Cats are fully domesticated like dogs, but they don’t mind the trade-off of being a bit nicer and more friendly in exchange for consistent meals and freshwater.

If your cat doesn’t want to sleep in a hidden nook, they might choose your chest because it’s comfortable and it provides them with a feeling of safety. After all, you are their protector and as long as they are close to you, they know they are much safer.

Hearing you breathe and your heartbeat

Cats have extremely sensitive ears. My cat knows if I’ve woken up from sleep or if I’m just tossing and turning. I’ve even tried to fake him on a few occasions by keeping my eyes closed, but he knows better. He can hear me waking up. It makes sense that they must be able to hear our lungs and hearts beating like a doctor with a stethoscope. They could choose to sleep in a dozen other quieter places, but they choose your chest. I believe they like listening to our heart beats.

Bonding

Cats sleep on other cats all the time in order to build bonds. Sleeping together gives them warmth, safety and a feeling of security. Your cat is appreciative of the creature comforts that you provide them, even if they don’t always show it. Sleeping on you is a great way for them to show their affection towards you.

Your cat loves you

It’s not too far fetched to believe that your cat enjoys your company. They like being rubbed and they enjoy the attention that you give them. Part of that affection is reciprocated in the way they best understand. To lay on you and sleep. Max loves sleeping on me, next to me and even sprawled out between my legs. He has the option to sleep on virtually any number of comfortable surfaces in our house, but he consistently chooses to be by me as I sleep. 

I’m going to chalk that one up to good ol’ fashioned cat love.