Ask A Vet: Why Does My Cat Like To Sleep In Weird Places?

| Published on November 30, 2016

Cats are so quirky and fun. It is interesting to learn why they do the things that they do. Cats seem to sleep a lot of the time when compared to humans. Indeed they are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. These times would be prime hunting times. Pretty much all the other times can be used for resting or playing, especially for our house cats, since they do not have to depend on hunting for food. When making choices of resting places, your cat must consider all the features of that choice as if he were in a wild environment.

So cats are master nappers and they love to sleep in places that seem unconventional to us boring humans. Think about living in the wild and coping with threats and risk every minute of every day and it will change how you see your cat’s habits. This is the genetic code that your cat is designed to follow.


Since their nature dictates that they sleep a lot, they have specific preferences of their resting places. Your cat may choose a napping spot that is high above everything. In nature, they need to be able to see all around themselves when they are at their most vulnerable (sleeping) and they may also choose a spot that is easily defended or to escape from. For example, it might have more than one way to get away in a hurry. Wild felines also can be seen lounging on high branches. Not all prey animals (or predators) always look up so cats know it is a safer place to relax.

Sometimes cats like to feel that they are hidden away. In this case, they will choose places with only one entrance (and exit) so that they can carefully watch and defend only one direction.  When they are enclosed, they know that they do not have to “watch their back”. This is part of the reason that cats like to hide in boxes or baskets.  The safety of being enclosed on three sides is appealing because it is defensible and low profile. Your cat can let her guard down and only think about danger coming from one spot in a good hiding place.

Some cats seem to literally plop down where ever they are for a snooze and that might be true since our cats are very secure in their own turf. But it might be that your cat has instinctively selected his spot in the sun beam strategically and you just can’t see it because you are not a cat!


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