Explained: Why Cats Enjoy Sleeping Together

black and white tabby cat sleeping on red textile

It’s nap time at your household, and your cats seem to enjoy each other so much that they sleep together. 

Maybe your cats nap in the same room, on the same couch, next to each other, or even on top of each other. In any case, they look outright cute curled up together.

Cuteness aside, cat parents often wonder why cats tend to sleep together.

Do they find it cozy and warm, or is there a deeper meaning to it?

In fact,…

Cats sleeping in groups is common and is seen in both wild cats and domesticated cats. They do this for various reasons. Apart from being a critical bonding factor, it helps them stay warm and offers protection (safety in numbers). Cats will not let their guard down and sleep together unless they know and trust each other explicitly. 

When in groups, cats often sleep tighter than when they sleep alone and have to keep an eye on their surroundings.

But why do cats sleep in groups if they have the chance? Aren’t cats solitary animals? Keep reading to find out why…

Cats form bonds sleeping together

Cats have a lot of things they love to do, and sleeping is most definitely one of them. Cats are also incredibly social creatures, despite their solitary reputation.

While cats don’t need each other to hunt, they sometimes form ‘cat colonies’, called a clowder. These are places where they socialize, play, groom each other, mate, and sleep together.

Although groups of cats in the wild can be quite large, domestic cats also feel comfortable together, even if it’s just in small groups or pairs.

Within their group, cats are actually very social with each other. This includes grooming each other, playing together, and yes, sleeping together as well.

These activities are essential in bonding for cats, and once they have created this bond of trust, they feel entirely safe sleeping together. Otherwise, a cat will never choose to sleep close to another cat with which it doesn’t have this bond.

So if you see two or more cats sleeping next to each other, you can bet they like each other.

Sleeping is also a way for cats to mingle their scents with other cats in their colony. Cats release scents and pheromones through glands on their bodies. When they sleep, they rub each other and mix those scents. This also helps cats become more familiar with each other.

cats sleeping together
picture courtesy of Quora user Jeff Guttenberger

Cats seek warmth

Like most of us, cats seek warm places to rest peacefully. But while we have a body temperature of around 98.6°F, cats have a body temperature that ranges from 99.5°F to 102.5°F. Maintaining such a high body temperature takes effort, especially for small creatures like cats. 

This is the reason why cats adore heat in any form, be it from sunbathing, sleeping on radiators or, sleeping rolled up against each other.

Cats will look for the company of each other, especially during cold months when it rains and snows frequently. So whether they’re sleeping or just slumbering, it’s normal to see a group of cats cuddled up to each other to preserve body heat.

Cats like comfort

Cats enjoy warmth and comfort. Any cat owner will know that cats choose their sleeping spot with care. 

Something may look like the ideal place for napping to us, but your cat may avoid it if it’s not meeting its standards. 

In any case, sleeping rolled up together or on top of each other is always soft and comfortable. So, if cats have a chance to seek each other’s comfort as a replacement (or addition) to pillows and blankets, they will do so.

Some cats find comfort in burrowing themselves under a pile of sheets or a blanket. Many of our readers have expressed concerns about this on whether or not this is safe for their cat.

In most cases, it is completely safe for cats to sleep under a blanket. We’ve explained this in our article: “Cats & Kittens Sleeping Under Blankets – Safe?

Sleeping together offers protection

We all know (and often praise) cats for their hunter’s instincts. Cats are avid hunters, and although they can be fierce, they know all too well that they themselves can be prey for other hunters. 

Cats know this, and throughout the ages, they have evolved several different sleeping methods to reduce being vulnerable when they’re napping. 

For starters, cats don’t sleep for long periods at a time. Although they sleep an average of 15 hours per day, these are mostly shorter periods of interrupted sleep.

Also, cats don’t sleep very tight and stay alert, even when getting some shut-eye. You will probably have noticed that cats can literally sleep, or rather snooze, with their eyes open, only responding to sudden moves.

This very light sleep allows their brain and body to rest while still being alert to the outside world.

Cats often sleep like this while in a loafing position.

cats hugging while napping
Picture courtesy of Quora user Royal Michaels

Research has found that only about 25% of the total sleeping time for cats is spent in deep sleep. Given a chance, cats prefer to spend this ‘deep-sleep-time’ with other cats they trust.

This gives them the perks as mentioned earlier, but another significant advantage is that cats are safer while sleeping in a group than they would be by themselves. 

Sleeping together will increase a cat’s chance of survival when attacked in the wild. This behavior is still firmly imprinted in your house kitty’s behavior.

How to create the best place for my cat to sleep

Now that you know why cats like to sleep together let’s look at how you can make your cat’s sleeping quarters as enjoyable as possible for them.

Understanding cat’s preferences for sleeping helps you create their perfect snoozing spot, and they will love you for it.

Where should cats sleep?

Deciding on the best location for your cat’s bed is vital, and it plays a massive role in whether or not cats will use even the softest of beds. Cat’s are very particular about where they put their head down.

Cats will prefer to sleep in quiet, undisturbed places. Placing their bed in locations like the kitchen, the children’s bedroom, a busy hallway, or near loud objects like the washing machine is not the best idea.

Cats like to sleep in isolated warm spots. A soft spot in the corner of your bedroom or a room no one enters will make your cat stay stress-free. 

They also like to be (somewhat) hidden when they sleep, a spot where she can’t be easily spotted but where she can see everyone will be preferred by your cat.

Having trouble getting your cat to sleep in its own bed? Have a look at our post right here.

Prepare different options

As you may know, cats don’t sleep throughout the night as humans do. They nap throughout the day while being more active between dusk and dawn. That means they often switch napping spots.

Creating several sleeping spots in your house will give them options and make them feel in control of their environment.

Place their bed away from their litterbox!

Avoid placing the cat’s bed next to the litterbox (and their food bowl.) 

Cats are very clean animals, and they don’t relieve themselves close to where they eat and sleep. A cat bed placed too close to their litterbox will probably see little use. 

If you have a scratching post (or something your cat likes to scratch on), placing it next to the bed is a great idea. Cats like to play and stretch themselves when they get sleepy.

Heated pet bed

Cats have a relatively high body temperature. For that reason, they seek warmth to keep their tiny bodies from cooling down. This is another reason cats like to sleep together, even with humans

Heated cat beds are a great option that most cats will adore.

Heated cat beds come in many shapes and sizes and it depends on what your cat prefers. Here are a couple of our favorites (click the pictures to check them out on Amazon (sponsored))

Elevated sleep

If you have the option to do so, place a cat bed in a (slightly) elevated space. Cats love being up high(er)! Keep in mind places like bookshelves, windows, or even vertical cat posts.

If you choose to do this, you have to make it easily accessible for the cat. You want to prevent any accidents from occurring.

Cat towers with dedicated sleeping areas are ideal.

The choice in cat tower entirely depends on your cat’s preferences, the available space in your house, and your budget. We recently got the Feandrea cat tree for our Max and he loves it.

Recommended for you on our website: Cat Sleeping Positions explained.

Tom Alexander is a life-long cat parent and enjoys sharing a home with his cat Max and his family. Being a devoted cat person, his passion for everything feline and blogging is the driving force behind catnfriends.com. As the founder and editor at Cat & Friends, Tom aims to provide an interesting and great resource for cat owners.

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