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8 Reasons Why Does Your Cat Sleep On Your Pillow

8 Reasons Why Does Your Cat Sleep On Your Pillow

All cat owners are aware of how much these furry pets love to sleep. 

Many cats like to sleep in all sorts of places, such as curled up next to your feet or near a window with sunlight. But lately, you have noticed that your cat especially prefers to sleep on your pillow.

Why does my cat sleep on my pillow? Is this her randomly chosen place, or does it indicate that maybe something is bothering my kitty?

Let’s take a look at the 8 most common reasons why your kitty chooses your pillow as her favorite place to sleep.

1. Comfort

small kitten sleeping on a pillow

Cats are always seeking comfort, and they especially want to be as comfortable as possible while sleeping. For example, some of them will sleep curled up in a ball, since this is the most comfortable sleeping position for them!

I mean – you get such a nice rest on your pillow, and your smart little kitten figured out why she shouldn’t try it herself!

So, there isn’t any kind of problem with your cat. She just wants to have a nice sleep on your fluffy pillow.

2. Seeking Warmth

Besides comfort, cats are also always seeking warmth. They especially like to be warm and cuddled in while sleeping.

This is why you see your cat sleeping on your pillow, and you might also see her sunbathing on your terrace, or how she often curls up near the fireplace or heater in winter.

VCA Animal Hospitals explain how a normal human body temperature is around 98.6°F, while cats have a higher temperature, ranging from 101.0 to 102.5°F.

This is the reason why your cat is still seeking warmth even when you feel like it’s pretty hot inside your home.

3. Showing Love And Affection Towards You

cat and woman cuddling and sleeping in bed

I have heard so many people saying how cats are totally aloof and uninterested in humans. Well, my experience shows me this isn’t true.

I believe cats know their humans love them, and they also love them back. 

Choosing your pillow as her place to sleep means your cat wants to be close to you even when you’re not awake.

When you think of it, it’s such an adorable way for our kittens to show how important we are to them.

4. Wants To Protect You

Another potential reason for this behavior in your cat is her attempt to protect you.

Felines have retained some of their basic behaviors from their wildlife, such as territorial marking, and prey instinct. But, since they have been living as domesticated animals for years, their relationship with humans has changed a lot.

Angelo Quaranta and his associates [1] explain how felines have developed social skills that allow them to understand human emotional signals.

So, if you have been experiencing some emotional burden or sadness lately, your cat is likely to recognize this. 

To comfort and protect you – she chooses to sleep close to you, on your pillow.

5. Liking The Smell

close-up of a cat sleeping on a pillow

Your cat might also recognize your smell on the pillow, and this is why she likes to sleep so much on it.

Another potential explanation is that you’ve just changed your bed sheets. Nothing better than the smell of fresh bed sheets, right?

Well, it seems that our pets like this nice smell, too! As Animal Wellness Magazine explains, while humans have five million odor sensors, felines have 200 million of them!

So, we can only imagine with what intensity our pets smell things in their surroundings. 

6. Feels Safe

You’re the person your cat trusts the most – the one that provides her with love, attention, food, and toys.

You’re also the person your kitten feels safer with. So, if she chooses to sleep this close to you, she probably just wants to feel safe.

7. Territorial Behavior

cat peacefully sleeping on a pillow

Cats are super cute and everything, but, let’s not forget that they are also little territorial monsters. 

If you have recently welcomed a new pet into your home, this is why your cat might suddenly like to sleep on your pillow.

She’s marking this place as her own territory, letting the other pet know that he’s not allowed to get anywhere close to it.

8. Stress And Anxiety

The last reason why your cat would sleep on your pillow is stress and anxiety.

Many stressors can trigger these negative emotions in cats, such as new people or pets in the home, any change in daily life, and even loud noises such as vacuum cleaners or fireworks. Sometimes your kitty will even be afraid of something you can’t even see.

If you think that your cat might be under stress, it would be best to consult a veterinarian to discover the exact stressor, and to help her as soon as possible.

Should You Stop Your Cat From Sleeping On Your Pillow?

Of all the places in the house, your cat chooses your pillow as its favorite place to sleep. This can be very nice at first, but I believe that most owners will eventually realize that this is not a very good option.

You probably won’t get the best night’s sleep while your furry friend snuggles up all night or rubs his paws on your back. Needless to say, your bed will always be full of hair, especially if you have a cat that sheds a lot!

So, it would still be better to set boundaries and let your cat know that your bed is a place where only you sleep. 

Buy your kitty her own bed and put a soft pillow and blanket in it. If she has her own warm bed – there are significantly fewer chances that your cat will still prefer yours!

If, even after all this, the cat still insists on sleeping near you, and meows behind the closed door, it is very possible that something is causing her fear and anxiety. In this case, I recommend that you consult a veterinarian.


ginger cat sleeping in cat bed

From seeking comfort to stress and anxiety – there are various reasons why your cat would sleep on your pillow.

It’s cute to know your cat feels safe and warm sleeping next to you. It’s even cuter imagining she might be protecting you and showing you how much she loves and cares about you.

But, it’s still a better idea not to let her get too comfortable sleeping on your pillow. This way – you’ll probably not get any good sleep in a while. 

Was this article helpful in finding your answer to the question: Why does my cat sleep on my pillow? Share your thoughts with us!


[1] Quaranta A, d’Ingeo S, Amoruso R, Siniscalchi M. Emotion Recognition in Cats. Animals (Basel). 2020 June 28;10(7):1107. DOI, Retrieved June 22, 2023.

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