Why Is My Cat Sleeping Between My Legs? 7 Reasons


Last Updated on: September 5, 2023 by Crystal Uys

More than 50% of cats are believed to sleep for 12 to 18 hours out of each 24-hour day, and almost 40% of them sleep more than 18 hours! So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a cat would find all kinds of different ways to spend their time sleeping, since they do so much of it.

They might find a cardboard box to snooze in, they may sleep on the couch while sitting upright, and they could even decide to sleep in your bed. Sometimes, they sleep in funny positions just because! However, there are sometimes reasons that they sleep the way that they do, like when they snuggle between your legs. It’s primarily for warmth, but there are other interesting reasons that your cat might decide to sleep between your legs at any given time.


The 7 Reasons Cats Sleep Between Your Legs:

1. The Space Is Warm and Safe

The space between your legs has a nice balance of body heat that a cat is sure to enjoy in the middle of the night or during a chilly weekend afternoon. Cats tend to gravitate to warm places when they are ready for a nap or long sleep. Not only is the space between your legs nice and warm, but it can also provide a sense of safety and security for your cat when they’re lying there. They know that they can trust you, so they perceive that your legs are providing a barrier of protection against possible predators and other dangers.


2. It Helps Create a Deeper Bond

Sleeping between your legs may be a way for your kitty to create a deeper bond with you, especially if you lead a busy lifestyle and aren’t home much throughout the day. Being able to spend time close together can help build more trust and affection, which should make interacting during other times more enjoyable and personable overall.


3. It Offers an Opportunity for Deep Sleep

Snuggling up between your legs offers a great opportunity for your cat to get deep sleep. By instinct, cats tend to feel vulnerable when they sleep. Therefore, they try to find places to snooze where they will have a vantage point and easy escape if a predator were to get close. Many times, a cat won’t go into a deep sleep precisely so they can stay on alert—this is partly why they sleep so much throughout the day.

However, when they are sleeping in a place where they feel safe, cozy, and protected, they are more likely to fall into a deep sleep and re-energize themselves. You might find that your cat has a great deal of energy and acts quite frisky when they wake up from a deep, long nap between your legs.

cat sleeping in between a person's feet
Image Credit: Vova Shevchuk, Shutterstock

4. The Position Is Comfortable

Your cat might sleep between your legs for no other reason than the fact that they find it comfortable. If the space is as comfortable as any other to them and there is the benefit of spending time together, chances are that your kitty will choose to sleep between your legs over other options.


5. It Provides a Great Vantage Point

Cats like to sleep in places where they feel they have a good vantage point over their surroundings. Sleeping between your legs may not give them the best view of everything that is going on around them, but it does help them hide while they spy on their immediate environment. Your legs act like a shield, which helps make your cat feel like they are hidden from the world around them.


6. It’s a Way to Claim Territory

Another reason that your cat might sleep between your legs is to claim that you are their territory. In their mind, they are passing their scent to your body through touch while they sleep, which other cats and animals will smell and understand. It is a way for them to establish themselves as playing a dominant role in their environment, which is your household. If a new cat comes into your home, you may notice that your current kitty tries to lay claim by rubbing on you and sleeping on or near you as often as possible. This could continue until they get used to the new cat’s presence.


7. It Can Help Relieve Stress

Sleeping between your legs can help relieve your feline friend’s stress levels. Whether it’s due to a new pet or baby entering the home, a move to a new place, or an illness, stress can take hold of your cat just like it can for a human. Being able to snuggle up where they feel comfortable and cared for can help relieve that stress and enable them to enjoy more peace of mind overall.

grey cat sleeping in bed beside a person's foot
Image Credit: Zhuravlev Andrey, Shutterstock

How You Can Stop Your Cat From Sleeping Between Your Legs

If you are not comfortable with your feline sleeping between your legs, you should not feel obligated to let it happen. There are a few things that you can do to stop your cat from doing this behavior without sacrificing their comfort and sense of safety. Here are the options to consider:

  • Try placing a heating pad in a cat bed near where you sleep to mimic the warmth that your legs provide. Place your cat in the bed right before you hit the sack yourself, and lay in a way that they can’t get between your legs until they settle down elsewhere.
  • Put a t-shirt that you’ve recently worn in your bed near you, and encourage your cat to sleep there. Your scent on the shirt might help them feel like they’re being enveloped by you as they would if they were sleeping between your legs.
  • Use a clicker or treats to train your cat to sleep near you, not on you or between your legs. The process can cost you a bit of sleep at first, but the results should be worth your effort.

Summary

The most common reason that a cat would sleep between their human companion’s legs is for warmth and comfort. If you don’t enjoy the experience, though, you don’t have to worry about hurting your kitty’s feelings. If they have a safe and comfortable place to sleep elsewhere, they should be happy to do so with direction and encouragement from you.


Featured Image Credit: I.K.Media, Shutterstock

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