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Why Do Cats Sleep at the Foot of the Bed?

Cats are known for taking cat naps and are notorious for sharing beds with their human counterparts, whether invited or not. But why do many of our feline friends chose to sleep in our beds and why do cats sleep at the foot of the bed? Dr. Jess explains it all below:

Your home, your bedroom, and even your bed are not off-limits to your little feline friend – your cat knows it the most!

Here are the most common reasons why your kitty will snuggle up with you at the foot of the bed at night:

Feline Survival Instincts: Escaping

Kitties of all sizes, shapes, and ages feel the desire to be close to the one who provides the most for them.

Felines tend to favor the person who feeds and waters them, cleans their litter box, and gives them the most affection and attention throughout their day.

Being near their caregiver at night gives them a feeling of security and safety.

But this only goes so far, as your cat’s survival instincts also kick in – they also do not want to be rolled on in the middle of the night or caught up in blankets that they could not escape from.

Because of this innate survival instinct, your cat will most likely curl up at the foot of the bed near your feet – the area with the greatest chance of escape in an emergency but still close enough to you to be a protective shadow…

…which leads to the next reason why your cat may be sleeping at the foot of your bed….

To Protect You

Because of a cat’s survival instincts, felines know they are the most vulnerable when they are sleeping. Being protective over their kingdom is also another aspect of that survival instinct.

By being close to you at night, your cat will not only feel safer and more secure, but they will know that they can wake you if they sense any threats of danger – little protectors at heart!

Therefore, having your kitten sleep at the foot of your bed is something that may show that your cat cares for you and is keeping watch over you.

Temperature Control:

Humans generate a lot of body heat, even when we sleep. Add soft fluffy sheets and blankets, and we just may feel like a snoring furnace to our kitty friends.

Just as most humans like to cuddle into comfy warm sheets and blankets at night, your cat may just be using you for the same reason.

Cats will most commonly sleep by their owner’s feet at night and by their heads in the morning.

This could very well be due to temperature changes and what temperature your cat can snooze the best at.

The further you move from your core, like your chest and abdomen, the cooler your arms and legs will be.

Most of your body heat is sitting toward the middle, or core, of your body where your important body processes are hard at work, like respiration (breathing), blood pumping via the heart, and digestion occuring in your abdomen.

While cats love a warm body to cuddle up to, they also don’t want to over heat, so snoozing near your feet helps them feel close to you without getting too hot, uncomfortable, and waking up. 

Also – don’t be surprised if your cat ends up by your head during the night or by morning – they may just need a little extra warmth!

Cats are Territorial

Cats can be territorial, possessive animals.

Many times, when cats tend to prefer to sleep near their owners is so that they can mark their territory.

The home is their territory. From the time your kitten steps foot into your home for the first time, they will dedicate themselves to investigating every inch of the home – including rooms, furniture, people, and other animals.

Who owns who? Your cat may think that they own you!

This is a way that your pet is showing you affection. They love you and want you to feel loved – so think of this as a positive thing!

More Room to Stretch:

Cats aren’t known for an innate tolerance of being disrupted as they snooze, so settling down for the night at your feet might be their best option that will cause them the least amount of disturbance. Why is this???

As you toss and turn and flip and snore at night, your upper body tends to take up a lot more space and make a lot more noise than your extremities (arms and legs), especially your feet.

Moving your arms, snoring and drooling, and rearranging blankets and pillows happens mostly around the top half of the bed for most individuals.

I can’t blame them for moving down to the bottom of the bed where they know that there is more room to stretch out than the other option at the top!

Tidier Environment:

For most households, the foot of the bed has a lot more tidy and neat flat surfaces and spaces of soft bedding to lie on – there is plenty of lumpy, messy sheets and blankets next to our human heads, arms, and cores.

Lumpy balls of sheets that can be uncomfortable for kitties or a danger if they were to get caught up in them.

Many cats tend to avoid big balled up or lumpy areas of bedding. If they want it balled up, cats will knead their bedding and mold it to their perfect shape – made just for them!

Visible Bedroom Door:

Cats have a liking to sleeping in places where they feel secure and safe, part of their survival instincts mentioned in a previous section of this article.

So when your cat is able to see the door to and from the bedroom, they tend to feel more secure.

If the only in or out of the bedroom is the bedroom door and the foot of the bed is closest to this door, then the foot of the bed probably also provides the best vantage point to keep that door in sight at all times. Security check!

Fewer Disturbances:

You don’t like being disturbed while you sleep and neither does your cat.

Cats are pretty light sleepers where there isn’t much “wiggle room” to disturb them from their sleep.

Most cats aren’t big fans of being woken up either – their patience typically runs thin in this area.

Cats can quickly gauge the sleeping arrangements and make adjustments.

Many cats find that when they sleep at the bottom of the bed, they will be less disturbed than at the top of the bed.

Why do they tend to feel that the bottom of the bed is their best bet when it comes to disturbances?

Well, for most of us humans, There’s a lot less movement going on down at the foot of the bed then there is at the head.

Night Vision:

Cats and kittens have a keen night vision and are quite active at dawn and dusk.

They do doze off when their humans sleep, however many cats do not sleep through the entire night.

Many cats are fairly active during parts of the night – sometimes even waking up family members during their night activities.

Sleeping at the foot of the bed allows your kitty to get up and move around without waking or disturbing you while you sleep.

It also allows them to keep watch over you throughout the night.

Routine, Routine, Routine!

Cats like routine and you help them build a stronger routine when you sleep and they sleep alongside you.

You might notice that if you’re ever sleeping in late, your cat will likely stay with you and keep you company!

What Does It Mean When a Cat Sleeps ON Your Feet?

Great question!

It can be pretty annoying when your cat doesn’t just insist on sleeping AT the foot of your bed but they also insist on sleeping right ON your feet, as it feels restrictive to a lot of cat owners.

Your feline friend is simply trying to show you their affection and trust, so try to take it positively and as a compliment.

Why Do Cats Move from the Foot of the Bed to the Top of Your Head?

Cats will look for the warmest place in the home to sleep, and that may just be your head!

You release a lot of heat from the top of your head and you also release warm air from your mouth when you breath out during sleep.

If your cat becomes a bit chilly during the night, you may notice them crawl up your body toward your core which is warmer than your feet, and crawl even further up to your head if needing even more warmth!


Cats like to allow their human companions the opportunity to share their beds at night.

There are many reasons why cats choose to sleep at the foot of the bed versus other parts.

Each cat is different and will have different ways and methods of feeling secure, comfortable, and safe while they sleep with you at night.

And, as always, if you have any concerns about your sweet feline’s sleeping habits, contact your vet for more information!

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