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Why Do Cats Sleep at the Foot of the Bed? 5 Reasons for This Behavior

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By Nicole Cosgrove

cat sleeping under the sheets

As cat lovers, we love to have our pets on our beds while we’re taking a nap or turning in for the night. In general, it seems as though cats prefer the foot of the bed rather than anywhere else, and it’s natural to wonder why this is. Cats sleep an average of 15 hours per day, and they choose surprising spots to take their catnaps, but most favor being close to their humans, which is frequently on the bed.

Since you are the primary caretaker of your cat and provide them with food and a safe home, it’s natural that they want to stay as close to you as possible, and at night, that means on the bed. But why the foot of the bed, specifically? There are several potential reasons for this, which we take a look at here.

The 5 Most Common Reasons Why Cats Sleep at the Foot of the Bed

1. Security

Your cat’s natural survival instinct is to be close to food and shelter, and since you are the one providing them with this, it makes sense that they want to stay as close to you as possible. As you are their primary caregiver, they feel a sense of safety and security around you, especially at night. Cats are most vulnerable when they are asleep, so they will naturally look for the safest place in the house. Curled up at the foot of the best with their owners is an ideal choice!

cat at the foot of the bed
Image Credit: Cintya Marisa, Unsplash

2. Warmth

Humans generate a great deal of heat even while sleeping, and this makes the perfect warm and cozy place for your cat to cuddle into. Of course, they do not want to be too hot, and cuddling near to your abdomen or head may be too warm for them, making the foot of the bed near your feet the ideal choice. It’s not uncommon for your cat to come closer to your head during the night or early morning for extra warmth, though, and they may keep alternating their position during the night to regulate.

cat under the blanket
Image Credit: Vinicius de Moraes, Unsplash

3. Space

While it’s true that cats love to cuddle their owners at night, they also like their space. Sleeping near your head or arms may be too cramped or you may move too much for them, so nearer to your feet is far calmer. Being near to your feet will give them enough space to stretch out comfortably, but they can still keep warm and stay close to you.

orange cat sleepin at the food of the bed
Image Credit: Lauren Kay, Unsplash

4. Territory

Cats are highly territorial animals, especially when it comes to their home. You are their most prized possession, and as much as you offer them protection while they’re sleeping, they are protecting their source of food and comfort in their own way! This is also your cat’s way of showing affection and bonding, so it is certainly a good thing!

The foot of the bed also provides a quick escape route and a great vantage point for your cat to observe from. It’s your cat’s natural instinct to sleep in a place with good visibility for safety, specifically a good view of the door or an open window. Cats have incredible night vision, and the foot of the bed makes an ideal lookout point where they can still feel relaxed and safe.

cat in the bed
Image Credit: Andrew Brandy, Unsplash

5. Comfort

Cats may sleep in rather strange places at times, but just like us, they want to be comfortable too! A human’s bed is the perfect spot, especially when there’s a warm human to snuggle up into, and the best spot is the flat, spacious part near your feet. There is plenty of space to stretch out while still being close to their precious owner. They may also like to come and go as they please during the night without disturbing you.

Final Thoughts

For most people, sharing the bed with their furry friend is a wonderful experience, but if they are causing you to lose some sleep, it may be better to keep them in their own beds.

Cats instinctively like to be close to their primary caregivers, and this is the most likely reason that they tend to sleep close to you at night. They are also trying to keep warm, show affection, and keep comfortable, and the foot of the bed is the ideal spot!

Featured Image Credit: Kate Stone Matheson, Unsplash

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