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Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Head?

Cats have all sorts of odd (and sometimes annoying behaviors), which sometimes includes sleeping on “their” people’s heads. Some cats that are very affectionate sleep on their owner’s heads, while some aren’t affectionate and sleep on their owners’ heads. This question isn’t a matter of some cats begin more affectionate than others.

So why do some cats sleep near people’s heads and some not? Whether you find this behavior cute or annoying, we’ll help you figure out the why in this article.cat face divider 2

Why Does My Cat Sleep on My Head?

1. Heat

sleeping cat
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

People lose a lot of heat through their heads. This is especially true if you’re under the blanket everywhere else. If you’re covered up to your neck, your cat obviously can’t lay next to any other heat-emitting body part.

Cats will often find warm places to sleep. This is why they may sleep awkwardly anywhere the sun comes in the window – or why they may sleep on top of your air duct in the winter. They may be using your head for the same reason; it’s the warmest thing they can find at night.

Even cats that aren’t otherwise affectionate may sleep near your head for this reason. They aren’t necessarily sleeping there to be close to you. You’re just warm.

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2. Smell

cat sleeping
Image Credit: Mammiya, Pixabay

They may like the way you smell. This is most common for women, who tend to use lots of products in their hair. If you’re using something the cat particularly likes, they may decide to sleep next to your smelling-good hair.

Once again, this may not necessarily have anything to do with affection. Your can may not be lying there because they want to be close to you. They may think your hair and your pillow smell nice.

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3. Affection

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Image Credit: 12019, Pixabay

In some cases, cats may decide to sleep on your head for affectionate purposes. They may merely like sleeping near you, which can be precisely why they decide to sleep near your head. Of course, we may never know why they choose not to sleep next to your head instead of your feet, for example.

It may be that your cat doesn’t see sleeping next to your cover-up limbs the same as sleeping next to you since they’re under the blanket. Your head may be the only thing your cat can see, hence why they decide to sleep next to your head.

Alternatively, your feline may sleep next to you for affection but pick your head precisely because of the heat it gives off. Or, they may also like the smell of your hair.

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4. Avoiding Your Restlessness

white cat sleep
Image Credit: Shanon, Pixabay

Alternatively, your cat may be avoiding your restless movements at night. If you move a lot at night, your cat probably knows this. Since your feline doesn’t want to get rolled over on, they may sleep somewhere safe that is still next to you – your pillow.

They don’t have to worry about you rolling over on them if they’re next to your head. They also don’t have to worry about your arms or legs moving around and accidentally bumping into them as you sleep.

You may not be aware of how much you move in your sleep. Even if you don’t move that much, one bad experience may make your cat decide that sleeping on your pillow is the safest solution.

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5. Comfort

cat sleep
Image Credit: DarkmoonArt_de, Pixabay

Your cat may like sleeping on your pillow more than other parts of the bed. It may be more comfortable. If your cat likes squishy sleeping places in other situations, then this is probably even more likely to be true.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your feline isn’t being affectionate at all. They may want to sleep near you and find that your pillow is the most comfortable place near you. Plus, it’s probably the warmest as well!3 cat face divider

Which One is It?

With so many possible reasons, you may be wondering how to figure out which reason is behind your cat’s behavior. Sadly, it isn’t always possible to determine exactly why your cat is acting a certain way. Your cat can’t talk, and there aren’t any behaviors that will make one reason more likely than the other.

Plus, there may not be a single reason your feline decides to sleep on your pillow. They may decide that they want to sleep near you and find that your pillow is the most suitable solution. Or, they may want to sleep somewhere warm and find that your pillow helps them avoid your restless movements as you sleep. In most cases, there is probably a list of reasons behind your cat’s behavior.

What if you can’t sleep?

In many cases, your cat may not disturb your sleeping situation all that much. In this situation, there may be little reason to make your cat sleep somewhere else. However, sometimes cats are just as restless as us, which may keep us awake. Furthermore, some cats try to sleep on their owner’s heads, which can be uncomfortable for us.

If you find yourself unable to sleep with your cat’s current insistence on sleeping near your head, there are a few things you can do.

There are several reasons for this:
  • Remove your feline. Sometimes, simply removing your feline from your pillow a few times will make your cat think twice about trying again. Some cats don’t require a lot of pushing before changing their ways and sleeping somewhere else. However, some are a bit more insistent, so you’ll need to use a different method.
  • Provide your cat with their own bed. You’ll also need to give your cat their own bed. Pay attention to their sleeping habits so that you can choose a bed that matches their preferences. Sometimes, cats like to snuggle into their bed. In this case, you should purchase a bed with a top or one with very high sides that they can snuggle in. Some cats may not like feeling contained, however. In these cases, you’ll need to purchase a flatter bed so that your cat doesn’t feel trapped.
  • Train her to sleep somewhere else. In some cases, you may need to train your feline to sleep somewhere else. This may be as easy as closing your door at night, so your feline can’t get in. Many cats will meow and whine at your door, though. Luckily, this should only last a few nights, and then your feline will get used to the new routine. If you absolutely cannot stand the scratching, put a baby gate down the hall so your cat can’t get to your door. Ensure your feline has everything she may need in her new sleeping area, including a comfortable bed.
  • Use catnip. Many cats love the smell of catnip. If your rub this catnip somewhere you want your feline to sleep, they may decide to sleep in that new spot based on the wonderful smell. Do this a few times, and it’ll become a habit. After your cat sleeps there the majority of the time, you can stop using the catnip.

cat paw dividerWhat if your feline is restless?

Sometimes, it that your cat is sleeping on your head that is the issue. Occasionally, your cat may be particularly restless at night. If they insist on sleeping on your head but always get up and down, it may be hard for you to sleep. Luckily, you can quickly wear your cat out before bed so that they sleep all night soundly – even if that is by your head.

Cats do not have the same day-night cycle as we do. They aren’t made to sleep all night and stay awake all night. Instead, your cat is programmed to continually be on the prowl for potential meals, including a night. This means that they will sleep and wake up regularly throughout the day, playing and “looking” for their meal in between each sleeping session.

In the wild, cats will find a safe place to sleep between hunts. In your home, your cat may see the safest place as being next to you, which may be precisely why they decide to sleep on your head. To meet their caloric needs, cats will need to hunt as many as 20 small prey items a day, which means they’re always going from hunting to resting.

While domestic cats don’t eat this way, their internal clock still functions in this manner. Though they are predisposed to sleep off-and-on all the time, they are flexible in their sleeping, unlike us. Cats don’t necessarily get sleepy based on the time of day, but on their activity level and when they ate last.

To encourage your cat to sleep at night, play with them right before bed. Get a cat wand and wave it around, or throw a play mouse a few times. Different cats will like different playing methods. What matters is that your cat gets a decent amount of exercise and is worn out by the end of the playtime.

Then, give your cat a bowl of food. Your cat will likely eat and then settle down and start grooming their selves. When they’re done grooming, they’ll likely start feeling sleepy and head for bed. If they usually sleep next to you, it may be best if you’re already in bed at this point.

Modifying their sleep pattern like this may take some time. You may have to play with them every night for a week. Eventually, though, they may start adhering to this routine on their own, which will make them go to sleep at about the same time every night. Eventually, you’ll both be on a similar schedule.

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Featured Image Credit: masik0553, Shutterstock

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