There is no better feeling for a cat parent than a warm and soft cat sitting on your feet or in your lap. But why do cats sit on you in the first place?
Cats do this for several reasons. Maybe they’re trying to bond with you. They could want the support and emotional reassurance you’re there for them. Or maybe it’s something as simple as your lap is warm and comfortable!
Read on to learn why your cat might like to spend so much time in your lap. Including the 10 most common reasons why cats sit on you and your possessions:
- They’re seeking love and affection
- You’re warm
- Your cat is socializing
- Your lap is comfortable
- It’s a sign of a strong connection, bonding, and trust
- Emotional reassurance and a sense of security
- They like the way you smell
- They want your attention
- To mark their territory
- Why does your cat like to sit on your laptop?
Table of Contents
They seek love and affection
Despite their reputation for being aloof and preferring a solitary life, cats actually feel affectionate towards their beloved humans and owners. Many cats like to seek out an emotional connection with their human friends and caregivers. If you’ve been gone all day, or recently went away on a long trip, a cat seeking love and affection will most likely follow you around and eagerly cuddle up with you by pouncing onto your lap! Read more in our “Complete Guide to Cat Behavior and Body Language.”
You are warm
Cats love warmth. This is one reason why you’ll often see your cat soaking up all the sun rays on the windowsill. And why they’re often thrilled to settle into your warm lap. A cat’s body temperature can range anywhere between 101℉ to 102.5℉
Because of their high body temperature, they’re often looking for alternative heat sources so their bodies can work less to maintain a core temperature. In a very Goldilocks turn of events, your warm lap might be just right.
Your cat is socializing
You’ve probably heard that cats are less interested in socializing with humans than dogs, which might be accurate as many cats often like to have their personal space. But socializing with their favorite human is still important to them! If your cat jumps into your lap after they’ve been alone at home all day might simply mean they just want to be with you because they missed you.
Your lap is comfortable
Cats sleep between 12 to 16 hours a day, with senior cats sleeping as much as 20 hours a day. So finding a comfortable spot to sleep on is important for your feline friend. They especially love soft and cuddly places to snuggle up and relax. With that in mind, your lap quickly becomes the most appealing space to settle in for a snooze.
They want to bond with you
If you’re away from home all day, you might find your cat waiting for you at the door. Or they follow you around, bump you with their heads, and meow for cuddles. This is your cat’s way of showing they want to bond with you.
It’s not unusual if you have more than one cat to see them snuggling with each other before sleep. In contrast to their stereotyped loner personality, plenty of cats bond with other cats, especially with a good initial introduction, and quickly become grooming, playing, and snoozing buddies!
They love to cuddle or lay on each other, as this is their way of bonding. That same need for connection often translates to a cat’s humans as well.
If they’re the only cat in your home, you may notice them showing this bonding behavior often. It’s their way of expressing that they love you and want to spend time with you.
They trust you
Sitting on your lap or on top of you is one of the ultimate signs that your cat trusts you. Cats will only sit on the laps of people they trust and feel safe with. This is especially true if they sleep on your lap, as this is their way of saying they trust you to protect them against any predators while sleeping.
Emotional reassurance and security
Everyone wants to feel safe and secure– the same goes for cats! When your cat is looking for somewhere to sleep, they look for a place of security, comfort, and warmth.
Because cats are vulnerable when they sleep, sitting on your lap or taking a nap on you is their way of showing you that they feel secure and emotionally supported with you. This is one of the highest compliments you can get from your kitty as it indicates that your cat believes nothing bad can happen to them while they’re with you. Even when they’re sleeping and unaware of their surroundings and potential dangers.
They like how you smell
Cats are known for their keen sense of smell. It’s part of the reason why pheromones can play such an important role in cat behavior. In this case, your cat may sit on you because they’re attracted to your unique smell. Smelling your scent may give them reassurance and feelings of safety This is also why some cats like to sleep on your bed, clothing, blankets, and other possessions since they have your scent all over them. Or conversely, why they avoid areas with certain smells cats dislike.
Your cat wants your attention
As a cat parent, you’ve likely experienced your cat jumping on you while you’re reading your favorite book, working on your laptop, or otherwise occupied with something else.
If your cat jumps on your lap, stares at you, and starts meowing, this might simply mean they crave your attention because they want affection, they’re bored, or hungry.
Pay attention to them to see what they need at that moment to keep your feline happy and loved.
To mark their territory
Cats are territorial and mark their territory with their smell from their scent glands. These scent glands are on their cheeks, chins, ears, and neck. This is why it’s common to see your cat bumping, or bunting, their head against your legs or face. As well as rubbing their cheeks and chins on their cat furniture or their favorite toys.
This is the way your cat deposits their own unique pheromones and claims ownership over their possessions. Including you!
While this might not sound good, you should take it as a compliment. Scent marking is a key way cats communicate. It’s also another way of knowing your cat is content, feels safe, and is comfortable.
Why does my cat sit on my laptop?
If you’re a cat owner, then you know that your cat parking their furry bum directly onto your laptop or keyboard is a normal occurrence. They’ll launch themselves onto your computer or your keyboard right as you’re in the middle of a conference call, drafting up email newsletters, or trying to meet your article deadline.
Why do cats do this?
Simply put, they like to be near their favorite person. Jumping on your laptop or sitting on your keyboard makes them the center of your attention. It may also be because your computer is a warm place to be.
Cat parents often unknowingly reinforce this behavior when they pet, kiss, cuddle and talk to their cat after they sprung a ninja attack on the keyboard or laptop. By doing that your cat will quickly learn that is what they need to do to get attention.
To break this habit and discourage your cat from sitting on the keyboard, give them a comfortable place to settle in next to you while you work. Reward them with their favorite treats, toys, or chin or cheek scratches when they stay in that place.
Why does my cat not sit on me?
Not all cats are lap cats. Cats have different personalities, and yours might not like as much closeness and touching— but would rather sit beside you and love you from a distance.
If your feline friend doesn’t want to cuddle up in your lap, don’t take it as they don’t love you.
If you want to build more trust with your cat don’t force them into your lap. Let them engage with you how they want to and when they want to. Acknowledge your cat’s freedom and respect their boundaries. By doing this, you’ll encourage your cat to develop a healthy bond with you.
Takeaways on why cats sit on you
From seeking love and affection to bonding and socializing with you, to mark their territory there are many reasons why your cat likes to sit on you!
Either way, this closeness is their way of showing you they love you and want to spend time with you. Cats are not known for being comfortable and sitting on people they don’t trust and know.
Take it as a compliment and cherish all the kitty cuddle time!