Why Do Cats Sleep Between Your Legs?
Cats primarily sleep between your legs to stay warm because their body temperature drops a few degrees while they sleep. However, that’s not the only reason why.
We’re going to break down a list of reasons why cats sleep between your legs and when you need to worry about things becoming problematic.
Cats are amazing, they’re quirky, and they’re just so adorable. Sometimes we don’t quite understand why they do what they do, but in your cat’s mind they’ve got a logical reason for their actions.
Some cats will sleep between your legs every chance they get. Other cats sleep between your legs so rarely that when they do it’s almost as if you feel like you’re the Chosen One! With cats sleeping anywhere from 12-18 hours per day they’re bound to (hopefully) end up on your lap or between your legs sooner or later!
We’ve scoured the web for expert opinions on why cats sleep between your legs, which we’ve outlined below. Whenever you’re done learning why cats do this you should head on over to Why Do Cats Hide Their Faces When They Sleep!
To "Steal" Your Warmth
One of the primary (and most obvious) reasons cats sleep between your legs is because it’s warm. Whenever cats curl up and go to sleep their body temperature drops a few degrees. Cats like to ‘cancel out’ this drop in temperature by finding a warm place to curl up.
Our bodies radiate heat. Cats seek out warm places to sleep. As a result, cats will try and mooch off of your body’s warmth and oftentimes the best place to do this is between your legs.
Cats seeking out warmth is also one of the reasons cats cover their faces whenever they sleep as well!
It's Safe & Secure
Regardless of how lazy, goofy, or adorable your cat may be, they still have some wild instincts embedded into their genes. Your cat’s ancient ancestors were extremely vulnerable whenever they slept. This caused them to seek out very safe places to sleep.
Obviously nothing bad is going to happen to your cat while they’re asleep in your home, but something deep down in your cat’s instincts still tells it to find a safe spot to sleep sometimes.
You should feel lucky that your kitty has chosen you as their safe spot!
Scents & Pheromones
If we look back again at your cat’s ancestors you’ll see that they have evolved to be VERY territorial. One of the ways cats mark or claim their territory is through scents and pheromones.
Pheromones are special chemicals that your cat can mark you with simply by rubbing on you. Humans can’t smell these pheromones but other cats and certain other animals can absolutely smell them.
When you’re lying down in bed your cat sees it as a great opportunity for them to come mark their scent on you and claim you as their own. If you have more than one cat you may notice how one cat may lay on your legs much more than others, or how the others might just outright avoid your legs completely.
"Pillowing" or Bonding
In the wild cats will often sleep together, this is known as pillowing. It’s very common with big cats like Lions as well. Despite being extremely territorial, cats are still very social creatures and still require love and affection.
One of the ways cats bond together is during sleep. When cats sleep together they will sometimes purr in sync with one another. And though it may not sound like it, this helps strengthen their bond with one another.
Your cat may be trying to bond with you by “pillowing” with you. And your legs might just be the warmest and/or most convenient place for them to fall asleep at the time.
It's Time For Deep Sleep
You might see your cat taking a nap in random places all over the house. They might be on the back of the couch, on a bookshelf, or on a pile of clothes. More often than not these are just “refresher” naps.
When your cat truly needs to get some good, deep sleep then they will seek out somewhere safe and secure. What better place to feel secure than snuggled up next to the person who love them and takes care of them?
They're Stressed or Anxious
Unfortunately there won’t always be a happy or positive reason for your cat to come sleep between your legs. Cats have specific ways they like to sleep when they’re stressed or anxious and between your legs is one of those reasons.
Whenever cats start feeling worried about something they may become extra clingy with their owners. Has your cat been through any recent changes? Are they sleeping more than usual? Failing to properly use the litterbox? Panting?
If you’ve made any changes to your cat’s routine.. a recent move to a new place, added another animal, anything that can cause them discomfort.. then they may be stressed or anxious. Try and pinpoint the cause of this anxiety to help ease your cat’s mind.
If you feel your cat is overly stressed or anxious and you can’t pinpoint what’s going on, then you need to call your vet for guidance on what to do next in order to help your kitty get back to their normal selves.
Is It Okay For My Cat To Sleep Between My Legs?
It most certainly is safe for your cat to sleep between your legs providing they are not small kittens. In fact, between your legs (depending on how you sleep) can sometimes be the safest place for them to sleep with you.
If your cat sleeps up against your side, it can be easy to roll over on them. Sleeping between your legs gives cats a chance to move or adjust should there be any movement on your part.
There are two instances when cats probably shouldn’t sleep on your legs:
The first is if it is a kitten. It’s very easy for tiny kittens to get themselves into precarious situations. It’s fine for them to rest between your legs, just make sure you don’t fall asleep while they’re doing so.
The second reason is if your cat is causing you to lose sleep. When cats sleep on humans we will typically not want to move or adjust ourselves as we don’t want to disturb the kitty. If you’re losing sleep from discomfort because of your cat then you need to come up with a better game plan. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Make sure your cat has somewhere warm to sleep. Somewhere that makes them feel safe and secure.
- Put some of your old blankets or clothes or just anything that smells like you around where you want your cat to sleep.
- Consider setting up some kind of elevated platform that your cat can safely sleep on without falling off if they roll over or adjust themselves.
Kittens Should Not Sleep In The Bed With You!
I know we lightly touched on this topic above but I just wanted to issue one more final warning. It is a very bad idea to let kittens sleep in the bed with you, regardless of where they’re positioned.
Kittens are trying to take in everything around them as they grow and develop. A large bed can be extremely overwhelming for a kitten. When they’re young they want to feel safe and secure and a large bed isn’t the place for that.
On top of that, kittens are tiny and it can be easy for you to roll on top of them or kick them without even noticing you’ve done so.
Please always ensure your kittens have a safe and warm place to sleep!