While cats are wonderful pets, they exhibit some behaviors that can baffle humans.
One such behavior is their tendency to lie on your chest. Although this can be comforting to some owners, it’s also annoying at times.
So, why do cats enjoy lying on your chest?
Yes, one reason is their love for you, but there are several other theories that may surprise you.
Why Cats Lay On Your Chest?
Although cats may lie on your chest as a symbol of affection, they also find your chest comfortable to lay on. It’s also believed that the human scent makes cats feel safe, making them stake their claim on you. Some experts claim that cats are attracted to the sound of your heartbeat and the rhythmic feeling of your breathing.
Cats May Lay on Your Chest as A Way of Expressing Love and Affection
This is the most simplified reason for cats to lie on your chest. It’s also the explanation that most cat owners are hoping for.
Cats tend to be very independent pets and they may even act very aloof at times, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t feel affection towards their owners.
Sure, they don’t jump up on you and start licking you as a dog would do.
Instead, they may simply curl up on your chest to take a nap, or even lay down on the couch’s headrest directly above the place where you are seated.
Cats May Lay On Your Chest for a Sense of Safety
Do you know how baby kittens curl up and sleep with their mothers?
If you are a parent, you may have even experienced your own child crawling into bed with you after a nightmare.
Adult cats are no longer dependent upon their mothers, but they may have established the habit of curling up on your chest like a kitten, and this continued behavior provides them with a sense of security.
Additionally, cats have the capacity to detect your personal scent and this may further contribute to your cat’s sense of safety when they lie on your chest.
Cats May Lay On Your Chest as a Way of Staking Their Claim to You
Yes, you own your cat, not the other way around, but it is said by many that cats actually pick their owners.
It’s an instinctual behavior for animals to stake their claim to their property and food source.
It’s similar to dogs urinating on trees to mark their territory. Cats are also territorial, but they stake their claims differently than dogs.
You provide your cat with food, shelter, and love, so it is only natural for your cat to claim you as their own.
Cats May Lay On Your Chest Because They Are Drawn to Your Breathing and Heartbeat
Although this theory is debatable, some veterinarians believe that cats are drawn to the rhythm of humans’ breathing patterns and heartbeat.
Did you ever notice how your cat prefers you to be still?
When your cat lies on your chest, they typically jump off the second you start to move or shift your body weight.
However, when you are asleep, you’re in your most peaceful state.
Just as you may feel relaxed when you lay your head on your partner’s chest and listen to their heartbeat, the same may be true of cats.
The steady rhythm of your heartbeat and breath can produce a calming effect.
Cats May Lay on Your Chest Because It Is Warm and Comfortable
Sometimes the most simplistic reasoning is actually correct. Another reason for your cat lying on your chest is the warmth that your body produces.
Cats tend to seek warmth. That is why they are known for curling up on windowsills.
Felines are also known to enjoy basking in the sun’s warm rays. The same goes for their tendency to sleep on your chest. Your body is warm.
Although you may not consider your chest to be a comfortable spot, chances are your cat does, especially if you are wearing a cozy flannel or sweater.
Your chest also offers a somewhat flat surface for your cat to lay on.
Of course, throughout the day, you may not remain as still as your cat would like you to be, but lying on your chest or lap still increases the likelihood that they will be petted.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Cats Lay On Your Chest
Where Should My Cat Sleep at Night?
If you are not keen on your cat sleeping in your bed and lying on your chest all night, you can provide your cat with its own bed in a spare bedroom or in a section of the living room. You can use catnip to attract your cat to his or her own bed. Since cats are nocturnal, this may not prevent them from disturbing your sleep unless you keep your bedroom door shut and provide sufficient food and water prior to bedtime.
Do Felines Hold a Favorite Sleeping Place?
Even domesticated cats remain on high alert while sleeping as part of their instinctual behaviors. This makes cats very selective as to where they sleep. Ideally, cats prefer to sleep where they feel safe and comfortable, which is a large part of the reason that they may choose to sleep in bed with you.
Is It Okay For My Feline To Sleep All Day?
Cats are naturally more active during the night or in the early part of the morning, which is why they may sleep throughout a good portion of the day. Although this may result in them keeping you up at night, it is unlikely that you will be able to change their biological clock. However, altering the feeding schedule and increasing your cat’s level of daytime activities may decrease their nocturnal behaviors.
Cats may choose to sleep on your chest for several reasons.
Whether they are doing it out of love, to stake their claim, or simply to be warm, comfortable, and safe, this adorable cat behavior contributes to cats being excellent pets- as long as they are not disturbing your sleep.