As a cat owner, waking up to find your cat is sleeping above your head or even your chest is often a familiar scenario.
It is usually a warm moment of bonding and feeling connected. It often leads you to a common question “why does my cat sleep above my head.”
You most likely bought them a comfortable bed or fashioned one for them, and while they sleep in the provided beds, they have a habit of nodding off on tables, boxes, shelves, other seemingly random places, and you. Why do they do this?
Keep reading for possible reasons why your cat sleeps above your head and what your cat might be doing when choosing your head for their bed.
Why Does My Cat Sleep Above My Head?
Your Head Provides Warmth
You’ve probably noticed that your cat is drawn to sleeping in warm spots.
He decides to plop down on your laptop’s keyboard while using it; you find your seat occupied by your feline friend after you vacated it a few moments earlier.
Also, he burrows into your laundry, especially the fresh and still warm ones, and he usually curls up or loafs down beside windows with access to sunlight.
Humans lose an amount of heat through the skin, especially from their heads.
It makes us warmer than most spots in the room, and since cats are attracted to sources of warmth, they camp on or close to our heads- the part of our body usually exposed while we’re sleeping under blankets.
Your Head Smells Good
Cats sleep above your head because they are sensitive to scents, and your scalp has sebaceous glands that secrete oils. Your cat enjoys this scent, and they lay close to the source.
The shampoos and other hair products you use might also have attractive scents to your cat. Your face lotion and toothpaste also list the scent sources that might draw your cat close to your head.
The better you smell, the more your cat is attracted to you and the source of the scent.
It is also one of the major reasons they like burrowing in the fresh laundry- the smell of the detergent is constantly pleasant.
They Are Showing Affection
Sometimes your cat sleeps above your head to show affection; they like and trust you and consider you kind.
Contrary to the stereotype that cats are always aloof, they enjoy companionship, especially if they initiate it.
While they are very independent creatures, they sometimes get lonely and need quality time snuggling up to their favorite person.
Close contact allows the two of you to bond, and while you are in bed, the only part of you that’s exposed is your head, making it the only choice available to them.
They Feel Safe Sleeping Close To You
As kittens, they huddle up together when sleeping, creating a sense of kinship and trust.
Most cats carry this on into adulthood and only sleep around people they consider family and completely trust since they are most vulnerable while asleep.
They also “mark” you with their scent while doing this. In the wild, when cats leave the pack and return, they are recognized by their scent because the whole pack smells alike and are identified as trusted individuals.
When cats sleep above your head, it is a sign that they trust you fully and expect you to protect them from harm. While we might sometimes find it annoying, it is a good sign.
They Are Distressed
A sick or distressed cat, much like a human, might try to snuggle up with someone who they love and trust whenever they are feeling distressed.
If your cat suddenly starts clinging or sleeping above your head, it might signify being unwell or distressed by something.
They might also be trying to mark you as their own and off-limits if you just got a new cat.
When sleeping, you rest your head on a pillow. Your cat may also sleep above your head to share your pillow, especially if it’s warm and smells like you!
If your cat is draped across your head, it may not seem the most comfortable thing for both of you, but the cat has its reasons.
Benefits Of Your Cat Sleeping On The Same Bed As You
Allowing your cat to sleep above your head benefits you and the cat.
- Reduces stress – Petting a sleeping cat has reduced anxiety, depression, and stress.
- Strengthens your bond – Cats who sleep with their humans are closer to them. This comfortable cuddle helps them feel more trust and safety with their owners.
- Helps to keep both warm – For those having problems with cold, a cat in the bed is the perfect head warmer, and the cat keeps warm too. Win-win for both parties.
- Provides company – Having your cat as a cuddle buddy is a perfect fixer-upper whenever you are lonely.
If you don’t mind your cat sleeping above or on your head, there’s no cause for concern.
As long as the behavior isn’t new and they aren’t showing other signs of physical or emotional distress, it’s a perfectly regular and common cat habit and a sign that your furry pal enjoys your company.
Problems With Cats Sleeping Above Your Head
While adorable and comforting, it can pose a few problems when a cat sleeps above your head.
- Cats are nocturnal by nature, so they don’t spend extended periods sleeping at night. They take short naps and get active again.
- If you happen to be a light sleeper, jumping on and off the bed through the night will create problems when cats sleep above your head.
- If your cat is an outdoor cat, they can make an absolute mess of your bedsheets with dirty paws and fur, especially when wet outside.
- They might also pick up insects and parasites in their fur to unwittingly dump them on your bed.
- Your cat will probably leave hair on your bed if you suffer from allergies, triggering reactions. Make sure your sheets are changed and laundered frequently.
- They sometimes get extra comfortable and wrap their tails around our sleeping faces, blocking our noses and mouths. It is a very unpleasant way to be woken.
How can this behavior be discouraged? Try creating a safe, warm and comfortable space in another area of the bedroom or at the foot of your bed if they are insistent on sleeping above your head or beside you.
Heated cat beds, especially, can prove extra effective.
Cats are commonly entirely drawn to them, and they are a great way to make them utilize other areas of the house for sleeping, especially when you turn them on only at night.
Cats are pet animals with different and unpredictable behaviors, one of which is why they like to sleep above your head.
There are various reasons and phenomena why your cat will sleep above your head, and they are mostly good.
When a cat sleeps above your head, its actions are triggered by different reasons.
It should pose no problem and shouldn’t be a source of concern unless the cat is particularly loud and disturbing your sleep, exhibiting other signs of distress, or having allergies.
Zoey is a long-time pet owner and animal rights advocate, a vital part of Purrfect n’ Pawesome. She shares her unique experiences and learnings with her readers to enhance their understanding of pet behavior and nutrition. Along with being an active pet writer, she volunteers at multiple animal shelters, rescue centres with some bespokenly awesome pets.
Zoey has a lot to share when raising the pets and spending life being their true friends. She has a quite pampered Persian cat and a Ragdoll, whom she loves the most. Readout her blogs to know more about being a responsible parent to your beloved pets.
“I love to be around cats and dogs; that’s my passion and my trick to get away from all the negativity and soaking in unconditional love and affection. Being attached to this platform gives me the reason to be vocal about pet love, care, and nurturing. Although I am not an expert or veterinarian by any means, I have a lot of experience and learnings to share with my fellow readers.”