Why Does Your Cat Like Sleeping on Your Head?

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

super cute and cuddly. When their mischievous and inquisitive side comes into play, kitties are more than capable of making trouble in a ton of different ways. You may also notice some odd sleeping habits as well, just to top everything off. And, after all, there is hardly any cat that won’t adore to sneak in beneath the sheets and share the bed with you, their favorite person. If this is the case with you, then you certainly spotted the weird habit of your cat sleeping on your head. Sounds weird – but cats often do it. Now this is the best “night cap” there is! So, have you ever wondered why your cat chooses to sleep on top of your head at night? Let’s try to learn more about this odd kitty behavior. 

When the lights are out and sleeping time comes, your cat will be quick to snuggle up near you. You could spot your cat prefer sleeping on your pillow at night, above your head or maybe even on your head. It’s cute, isn’t it? But you gotta admit that it can also be a bit annoying sometimes.  After all, with the rest of the bed to lie on, why would your cat choose to sleep—and maybe even snore—above your head? There has to be an underlying cause, right?

You can’t just ask your cats why they sleep on or near your head, so the next best thing is to theorize about the reasons why. Below is some of the information that we gathered when we went in search of what experts have to say about this strange kitty behavior.

The Goal Might Be to Stay Warm and Cozy

As a cat owner, you have probably noticed that your companion likes to find some of the warmest spots in the house to lounge and take a nap. She might even make her way under the covers of your bed or wait for you to cover her with a blanket. Like people, some kitties might feel most comfortable when they can be nice and warm, so it’s their goal to get cozy, and the ideal spot might be near your head throughout the night. To be fair, there is hardly a cat in the world that doesn’t like to snooze in the coziest spot possible. But why near your head, in particular, and not, say, near your feet or at your side?

Some feline experts think that this behavior has something to do with the fact that humans lose heat through their heads. Makes sense, right? Your body is tucked in, staying warm under the blankets throughout the night. But it is the head that remains uncovered. By staying near your head, your cat can remain comfortable throughout the night. So, basically, your kitty might choose your pillow as a warm and cozy place to sleep because other areas of the bed might be too cool for her. Seems like a sensible decision, doesn’t it?

It’s Just Love!

Your adorable kitty is able to show that she cares about you in a variety of ways, and the more you get to know your pet, the easier it will be to spot those signs of affection. For example, some cats prefer spending time purring in their owner’s lap, while others make it a point to be near their owners as often as possible, even if it means just being in the same room together.

When your kitty rubs her face on you, responds when you call her, meows at you to get your attention, or interacts with you in ways that prove she likes being around you, you probably feel pretty special, right? Well, in the case of your cat wanting to share your pillow at night, it might be her way of showing love. Being under the blankets near your leg just won’t be as affectionate or loving to your cat as being directly near your face. 

Perhaps your cat isn’t merely using you to stay warm while she sleeps. Maybe she chooses to sleep near your head because she wants to be close to you. So the next time your cat snuggles up over your head, starts grooming your hair, and places a paw on your face, try not to get agitated, as this could just be her way of telling you that she loves you. Aww!

Staying Safe from Kicks

Another reason why your cat might choose to sleep near your head at night is simply because it may provide her with a more secure spot than other parts of the bed. Makes perfect sense and is kind of brilliant when you look at it, showing that cat’s are as smart as everyone says. In the past, she might have tried sleeping near your hips or feet, only to discover that it isn’t as comfortable or as safe to be next to you or at the foot of the bed. Maybe you turned around quickly, scaring her and tossing her about, or you nearly squashed her when changing your sleeping position. As a result, she might have tested out sleeping by your head instead, and if that worked out, it might have become her new habit and sleeping preference. Your head, after all, does not move all that much during night, guaranteeing undisturbed sleep for your feline friend. 

If you toss and turn a lot at night, whether or not you are conscious of it, your cat might be disturbed by all of the movement. Nobody likes that! To avoid getting accidentally hit by one of your feet or your legs, and to prevent you from accidentally pushing her off the bed, your pet has figured out that the head of the bed is a safer place to rest throughout the night. Smart kitty!

The Better to Smell You

Another possible reason why your kitty insists on sleeping near your head: she may like the way your hair smells, and that could make her feel secure while she dozes. Cats make it a point to seek out the safest places to rest, so by curling up next to you, your furry friend is letting you know that she equates you with safety. Plus, by snuggling with you, your kitty could also be leaving her scent on your head, basically marking you as her property and solidifying her bond to you. It is interesting to note that people release different pheromones through the hair follicles on their head. It might be that the way your hair smells simply attracts your cat in one way or another, sending a subliminal message that simply states – this is a cozy place to rest. 

Fun fact: When a cat points her butt in your direction, whether she is sitting in your lap or lying near your head or face, try not to take offense to it. What you perceive as gross behavior is actually a positive sign that she trusts you enough to turn her back toward you.

Sweet Dreams for You and Your Kitty

If you don’t mind having your cat sleeping near you, that’s great! To make things more comfortable for both of you, though, you might try getting a larger pillow so you can have more room for your head even if your furry friend likes to take up a good amount of space on it. Or, if your cat is getting older or has mobility issues that make it hard for her to get on the bed, you might opt to get some pet stairs or a pet ramp that you can set up next to the bed to make it easier for her to get up there and settle onto your pillow. Do what works for you and your cat so you’ll both be totally content.

Whether your feline friend decides to sleep near your head or not, the goal is to get a good night’s sleep. If your cat is keeping you up at night, there are several easy steps you can take to help her rest until the morning. But if you’re both cozy and comfortable when sharing a pillow throughout the night, and you love having your furbaby near you all the time, you might find that you’re able to relax and sleep soundly more easily, so go ahead and welcome the snuggles from your feline friend.

However, if you happen to dislike your cat snuggling all over your face and head, that’s fine too. After all, it’s not nice having a mouthful of hairs, or waking up covered in them. Perhaps your kitty is a bit smelly, or you dislike it for hygienic reasons. All that’s fine. Just try to use some positive reinforcement and light training until you send your cat the message that you simply can’t accept her sleeping on your head. We’re sure that in time, she’ll get the message. Or, if all else fails, you can simply shut the door to your bedroom and cross your fingers that your pet won’t spend the night meowing in front of the doors all night.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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