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Why Your Cat Sits on Things You’re Using: 7 Common Reasons

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

Cat sitting on folded sweaters

It’s something cat owners probably experience frequently, if not daily. You pick up the book you’re reading or open your laptop, only to find your pet trying to—if not already—sit on it. We come to accept it as the bane of having a feline companion. Luckily, it’s not as often as it could be, seeing as cats sleep about 16 hours a day. However, it still doesn’t stop us from wondering why cats sleep on your stuff.

It’s essential to remember that felines are more in touch with their wild side than canines. Cats have only been domesticated for about 12,000 years2 versus the 40,000 years for dogs1. Therefore, their behavior is often instinctive and reflects a different life of hunting and survival. Here are some reasons why your cats can’t help but sit on your belongings:

The 7 Reasons Your Cat Sits on Things You’re Using

1. Attention Seeker

A pet sitting on your things might simply want attention. Cats form strong bonds with their owners. They learn their activity patterns and can even distinguish their names from whatever else we say. So, if you bury your head in the latest bestseller, your kitty probably feels left out and misses your attention. What better way for them to be on center stage than to plant their bottom’s on whatever thing you’re giving attention to?

cat with long whiskers looking up
Image Credit: NON, Unsplash

2. Looking for a Warm Place

Another seemingly obvious reason for this behavior is that it’s warm. You’ve been holding an item and transferring your body heat to the object. If your cat wants to get warm, it’s a no-brainer for them to sit or lay on your stuff.

3. Making It Theirs

Felines have a keen sense of smell that makes up for any shortcomings with their other senses. Undoubtedly, your pet has rubbed against your legs or given you a head-butt. Sure, they’re showing affection, but they’re also marking you as their own. When your cat does it to something you’re using, they’re marking that belonging as part of theirs as well.

Funny cat sitting on the robot in the living room
Image Credit: Sharomka, Shutterstock

4. Looking for Love

Cats show their attachment to their owners in many ways, such as purring and bringing us “gifts” of dead rodents. If you’re immersed in a TV show, your pet isn’t getting love from you. Felines are intelligent animals and have figured out how to get your attention, especially if they want some love. They may reach a paw out to you, or they may sit on the remote when they want some affection.

5. Seeking Security

Sometimes, it isn’t necessarily the object they’re interested in when your cat sits on your belongings; it’s because they want to be close to you. You’re your cat’s security blanket. If something is frightening your pet, they may just be trying to get as close to you as possible. Whatever you’re holding really doesn’t matter to them—sitting on it simply gives your cat a better advantage and makes them feel a bit safer.

sleepy cat laying on the lap of owner
Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock

6. The Allure of Something New

New things in the home are sure to catch the eye of intelligent breeds. There is something new to explore—how exciting! However, the main attraction is that you’ve changed something in your cat’s world. And, of course, it must get a closer look to see what’s going on in their territory.

7. The Curious Cat

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include the one reason that probably drives many of your cat’s behaviors: its insatiable curiosity. It never fails to surprise us how our pets can make a toy out of anything. If your book has a bookmark sticking out of it, the chances are your kitty will find it. If you’re writing something or using a stylus, your pet will probably pounce upon it the moment you set it down on the table. Curiosity just comes naturally to our furry friends!curious sphynx cat hepper nest bedroom

Taming Unwanted Behavior

We’ve mentioned many ways a cat learns from you. It figures out your schedule, the sound of your car, its name, and ways to get your attention. However, sometimes, your pet might become a pest. An excellent approach to curbing any unwanted behaviors is not to condition them to make the association in the first place.

Every time you pet your cat when it sits on your belongings, you’re signaling to them that their behavior is an effective way to get your attention. If you repeat the same response, you reinforce it in their brain. Instead of shooing your kitty away, just don’t reward the undesirable behavior.


Cats are excellent animal companions that bring us joy and entertainment. While some may think cats don’t care about humans, our pets defy that description by staying close to us and becoming a part of our daily lives, even if it means getting in the way of us enjoying a good book or watching TV. Many reasons why our cats sit on our things involve the instincts that are still influencing their behavior after thousands of years. However, we swear that they just enjoy demanding our attention most of the time!

Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

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