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Why Does My Cat Lie on My Stomach? 7 Common Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

black and white long haired adult persian mix cat laying on top of a man's stomach

Chewing on toys, zooming across the room, and bumping their heads are just some of the cute things fur babies do. And when it comes to taking naps in the weirdest of places, cats are the undisputed champs. For example, have you ever wondered why the feline bud sleeps on your belly? Our experts know the answers!

For kitties, comfort and safety are the most important things in life. So, if you find the fuzzy family member catching 40 winks on your stomach, that means you’re warm, cozy, and secure. In other cases, cats do that to bond with their owners and show affection. Read on to learn about more hidden meanings behind cats lying on our tummies!

The 7 Reasons Why Your Cat Lies On Your Stomach

1. It’s a Comfy Spot for the Furry Bud

Cats are creatures of comfort—there’s no denying that. We might not fully understand why they find certain things to be cozy, but it is what it is. And, as it turns out, the belly of a human can often be a comfy “resting ground” for a cat. Are you the proud owner of a soft tummy? The feline might think of it as a comfy spot for some shut-eye.

Now, if your cat is a bit overweight and you can’t fall asleep with the hefty pet on your stomach, consider buying a heated bed for the cat. A bed that absorbs the pet’s natural heat and gives it back will work as well. These don’t cost much yet do a great job of keeping cats happy. It won’t be that easy to make the cat change its sleeping habits, though.

Cat laying on owner's chest
Photo Credit: Maliflower73, Shutterstock

2. Your Stomach Is a “Safety Zone”

Do our furry buds enjoy being domestic pets? The answer is yes: after all, we provide them with food, shelter, and safety. That said, cats haven’t lost their hunting and survival instincts. In the wilderness, kitties have to always sleep with one eye open, as there’s no telling where (or when) a threat might come from. That’s why they like to sleep on elevated grounds: to see predators and prey from afar.

So, why do our bellies look like a safe place to rest? Well, from a cat’s perspective, the tummy looks like a big, cushy, and warm bed that provides a great view of the surroundings. And if the pet finds you sleeping on your stomach, chances are, it will try to wake you up to get access to the stomach.


3. The Cat Is Attracted to the Belly’s Warmth

What’s the one thing cats like more than eating snacks or scratching furniture? It’s to stay warm, of course! Cats like it when the thermostat hovers well above the 70°F mark. They’re quite the tough little champs and can easily handle 50–60°F or even lower. But the normal room temperature is a bit chilly for a feline’s taste. Ideally, they prefer 85–100°F.

And, as luck would have it, our bodies are pretty warm. The average human’s temp ranges from 97–99°F, which is exactly what kitties want! So, that’s another common reason why the fluffy feline is fond of your stomach area. While it’s not our hottest part, it’s up there with the rest.


4. It’s a Way for the Feline to Bond With You

Even if the fluffy troublemaker doesn’t show it often, best believe it still loves you! Or, at least, it has learned to tolerate your presence. Jokes aside, cats are well capable of creating strong, meaningful bonds with their favorite humans. They rub their heads against our feet, purr in excitement, raise their tails, and roll on the floor to show affection.

And sometimes, cats like to have some “us time” with their owners while curled up atop their tummies. Different felines bond differently, but this could very well be a sign that it cares.

young woman holding her siberian cat
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

5. You’re Being Marked by the Fur Baby

Kitties practice head-bunting and like to wrap their tails around our legs for multiple reasons. Yes, it’s a sign of affection, but cats also use this opportunity to “mark” you with their scent. This is a territorial thing, and it mostly applies to wild cats: they let others know of their presence and sexual availability. Domestic cats do this to show other four-legged creatures in the area that you’re “taken”.

In the worst-case scenario, the feline might even urinate on the door and around the house!


6. The Cat Wants to Listen to Your Breathing

When we fall asleep, our breathing slows down, and that sounds like music to the ears of a cat. Well, maybe not quite that, but they do, indeed, enjoy these sounds. You do find your cat’s purring to be sweet and comforting, right? Well, if the bond between the two of you is strong, this could work both ways. Another thing to keep in mind: much like dogs, cats like sticking to a routine.

So, it could be that your pet tried sleeping on your stomach once or twice and liked it, and now it’s a habit. And the longer you let this go on, the harder it will be to get rid of the fluffy sleeping buddy. As mentioned, a heated bed or mattress is your best bet. Put it on a spot that towers above your bed to give the cat the right incentive.


7. Felines Can Sense That You’re Pregnant

When a woman becomes pregnant, the hormonal levels change; this is the body’s way of adjusting to the pregnancy. And certain hormones have a specific (yet very slight) odor. For a human, they’re almost impossible to detect; that’s not the case with cats, though. They have an amazing sense of smell that allows them to sniff out even the slightest fluctuations in your scent.

So, it might be that the cat is captivated by these new sensations and wants to get closer and investigate the source. Technically, it’s not the woman’s stomach that generates these hormones and smells; it’s the ovaries. But cats still like to hang around the belly to show love, support, and provide protection. Or it could be that the feline’s maternal instincts are coming forth.

Other behavioral changes in domestic cats during a woman’s pregnancy include:

  • The cat will vocalize more frequently without needing anything.
  • You’ll often catch the feline staring at you from a distance.
  • It will start following you around the house and even outside.
  • The cat will lay on your stomach not for a nap but for protection.
  • The pregnant woman will get more affection from the fur baby.

a tabby cat lying on pregnant woman's lap
Image Credit: Sunsetoned, Pexels

The Pros of Letting the Cat Sleep on Your Stomach

Did you know that a cat’s purring often has a soothing effect? Having your favorite ball of fur lying next to you will also help with stress and anxiety. Besides, cats are rather warm, too, and may end up keeping you warm and not the other way around. Add the element of bonding, and you’ll see why this behavior should be encouraged, not frowned upon.

By giving each other comfort, you can get closer to the cat, earn its trust, and show it that you can be trusted. A quick note: there’s nothing wrong with the cat wanting to sleep on your stomach every single day. However, if you notice that it’s spending way more time drowsing than ever before, get the pet fully checked at a vet’s clinic.

vet checking up a cat
Image Credit: brodtcast, Shutterstock

The Cons of Having a Feline Rest on Your Belly

If you’re a light sleeper, a cat lying on your stomach will make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. And then we have folks that suffer from allergies. The furry bud’s coat (or, rather, the dander) often causes severe allergies, especially when the cat is literally sitting on top of you. Next, felines that spend time outside every day tend to get the bed (especially those nice white sheets) dirty.

Even if it’s a domestic pet that rarely leaves the house, it could still soil the bed with litter. Scratching the linen, headrest, bedroom bench, and your own clothes can be part of the deal as well. More importantly, it’s not recommended to let cats sleep with little kids. Kids are restless, which may frustrate the cat and lead to unwanted consequences.

Why Does My Cat Sleep on Top of My Head?

For the cat, it’s all about finding a soft and warm spot for a quick nap. And, while a human’s head isn’t particularly cushy, the pillows that we rest on are. More than that, in contrast to the legs, hands, and torso, our heads don’t move much during sleep; that means the fur baby won’t be disturbed. Plus, again, felines like to rest next to their owners.

This way, you’re always within sight, and the cat can grab your attention when needed. But why not sleep on the actual bedding? Well, only the cats can answer that, and there’s little one can do to stop this bewildering behavior. After all, even the POTUS doesn’t know the answer to this question and just goes with it!

British shorthair cat sleeping near woman's head
Image Credit: Georgy Dzyura, Shutterstock

What About My Chest or Between My Legs?

The chest is like the golden middle between the stomach and the head. It’s flat, relatively soft, and, above all, warm. Also, if the kitty wants to feel extra comfy, it may choose the chest to be closer to your mouth (the voice of a human parent is soothing for felines). Lastly, much like with breathing, the monotone sound of a heartbeat is therapeutic for the fluffy pet.

As for the legs, they might not be as warm, but they’re still a part of your body and a relatively cozy sleeping spot. More than that, it takes a split second for a cat to zoom out of the room when necessary. The same goes for when the cat picks the area between your legs for napping. It’s not always comfy for the human, though.

Conclusion

Cats have been living by our side for thousands of years, yet we know so little about them. This is especially true for their sleeping habits. We often find our furry friends dozing off on the tallest shelves or cozied up in a pair of shoes. And sometimes, cats like to sleep while curled up on our stomachs.

When a kitty does that, it means you make the pet feel safe and comfortable. Or, maybe the cat is using this time to listen to your breathing, make sure you’re alright, and strengthen the bond. In any case, if you wake up one day and see the feline bud lounging on your belly, you’re one lucky human!


Featured Image Credit: Danielle Armstrong, Shutterstock

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