If you are a pet parent to a feline, you must have asked yourself one question;
Why do cats lay on your chest?
Of all the places your cat could take a snooze, your chest is always a favorite option for him. You are not alone if you find this habit odd. Other pet parents also have to contend with warmth and the rhythmic purring of a sleeping cat on their chests.
As you are about to discover, cats are independent but also crave some tender loving care. And we will tell you the best way to provide this care to your cat.
Before we get to that, we look at why cats love sleeping on our chests. Generally, it is because they;
Seek warmth and comfort
Want to feel protected
Want to be close to you
Find your heartbeat calming
Warmth and Comfort
Even with a thick coat that keeps them warm, cats still seek warmer places to sleep in. They will snuggle close to a fireplace, perch on the warmest windowsill, or take your spot on the bed when you go for a bathroom break.
Warm means everything to a cat because it guarantees the most comfortable snooze. Cats will lay on your chest to benefit from the warmth you are dissipating. He does not mind laying on your leg or arm. It is only that the chest has enough space for his tiny body to fit on. Your cat will even purr and blep to show his appreciation for your warm body.
💡 Fun Fact
If a cat snoozes and purrs on your chest, it likes and trusts you.
Other cats love snoozing on your lap which is equally warm and spacious. Whiskers would sleep on your back too if you let him.
Cats seek protection
Besides warmth, cats also seek protection. When they were kittens, they huddled around their mother for food and safety. Interestingly, cats carry this habit even when they grow up.
Your feline friend may look all tough when he is chasing after mice or birds. But at night time, all he wants is to cuddle somewhere safe, like the welcoming chest of his favorite human.
Cats also lay on our chests if they are looking for companionship. They want to strengthen the bond between them and their owners. Laying on your chest is a cat’s way of saying I love you.
You can always tell who the cat likes the most in a family. Immediately that person walks in the room, the cat will run to them and hop on their lap. Kittens will snuggle anywhere on their favorite human which includes your neck.
Whiskers may leave your chest and lap with cat hairs but at least you know he loves you the most.
Your heartbeat calms them
Kittens can sleep soundly thanks to the rhythmic heartbeat of their mom. When they grow up, they still seek these rhythmic sounds in other animals or people. If you own a cat and a dog, you have constantly seen your cat snuggling around the dog’s belly. In humans, cats will always go for the chest.
Humans and pets, like dogs, mimic the soothing heartbeats of a tabby cat. So when your cat climbs on your chest and falls asleep, it is because your heartbeat is the sweetest lullaby to him. The opposite is also true.
Science has discovered that a cat’s purr has a therapeutic effect on human health. Low-frequency waves have long been used to induce relaxation and sleep in humans. Our usual Calming Playlist contains songs that have a vibration rating of 400 to 500 Hz.
It’s likely that purring has communication, appeasement, and healing properties,
-Gary Weitzman, BBC
A cat’s purr has a vibration rating of 20 to 140Hz. This means a cat can send you to sleep within minutes of purring close to you. The purr rhythms resonate through your chest as your cat also feeds off your heart’s rhythm. This symbiotic relationship is profound and cannot be underrated.
So does it mean we should let cats lay on our chests as much as they want?
While we celebrate the benefits of cats sleeping on our chests, we also must look at the risks involved.
Cats cannot lay on your chest for long. This is why;
You risk getting parasites from your cat. Fleas like Pulex Irritans can transfer from a cat’s coat into your body. Other types of fleas will piggyback on you until they find another suitable host.
Cats shed a lot for fur and pet dander. When inhaled, the hair and dander travel to the lungs where they can cause irritation and blockage. If this dander builds up in the lungs, it leads to breathing problems.
Cats generate a lot of heat especially when sleeping. This heat is the cat absorbs your body heat too. Within minutes, it starts feeling like you have an iron box across your chest.
You risk getting your chest clawed while the cat is sleeping. A cat’s claws come out during stretching and they can easily graze your chest if you let them.
Mobility is reduced. You are afraid to move because you will wake the sleeping feline. Once Ginger hits the snooze button, you are grounded.
Your breathing suffers from the weight of the cat. Small cats are easy to carry on your chest or lap. But if you live with a Maine coon, the last thing you want is feeling their weight crushing your chest.
We know you want to give your cat the best treatment ever. Them sleeping on your chest is part of the pampering package.
But sometimes you are not always up for the slumber party. What do you do if your cat still seeks a warm place to sleep in.
A perfect alternative to your warm soothing chest is an equally warm soothing cat bed. Modern cat beds include a heating feature that your cat will like.
These beds come with heat-reflecting technology to prevent heat from escaping. This means that all the heat your cat generates is trapped within the bed. So it is goodbye to cold days and hello to more snooze time.
Modern cat beds also come with a heating cord. When plugged in, these electric beds convert 20-watt power into soothing warmth for any cat. Such cozy beds are ideal for cats that love to sleep outside.
A cheaper alternative to a cat bed is a pet sling carrier. This one is ideal for cats that love to snuggle next to their favorite humans. The sling carrier features a mesh on the inside to make it breathable. Also, this carrier has reflective walls to bounce back heat. It is easy to take off the sling and carry your cat to its bed.
If all the above fails, you could always try one more trick. That is directing your cat to another warmer and cozy place to sleep like your lap.
Cats will always seek a warm place to lay their bodies. You do not want it to be atop the heater.
Your lap is always a haven for a feline looking for a quick or deep snooze. There are also major advantages to your cat sleeping on your lap;
You do not risk burning your chest from the excess heat generated. You can place a lap mat on your legs before your cat comes to snooze. The lap mat is polyester-made which makes it soft and warm.
Say goodbye to pet hair. Any hair your cat sheds is captured by the mat. This means less cleaning time for you.
Have your cat sleep on your lap makes for perfect grooming time. Using a mitt, you can brush and massage his coat as he gently snoozes away.
Catch those dreaded parasites. As your cat snoozes, you can easily go through their coat to check for bites or dirt from fleas or mites. Most lap mats have a bright color like cream which helps you see parasites as they try to cross to your body.
When your cat is in deep slumber, you can easily carry them to their bed. The lap mat is still warm so they won’t notice the difference.
It is easier to move your body around when the cat is on your lap. Let your cat snooze away on your lap while you type away on your desk.
We hope we answered your question “Why do cats lay on your chest?”. While napping on your chest feels good for a cat, it can get uncomfortable for you after a while. Let your cat sleep on your lap where it is safer and you can pat or groom him.
When your legs are pressed together, it provides a wide surface for your cat to lay down and rest. Your cat is also getting them warmth he was getting from your chest. When a cat sleeps on your legs, it means they trust you and feel protected around you.
When you wake up in the morning, your body feels very warm from spending the night covered. Cats are drawn to this warm and want it because it helps them sleep too. Cats also tend to be friendly in the morning when they are hungry and need you to feed them.
Cats follow you out for companionship or curiosity. When cats grow fond of their humans, following you around is an act of love. Also, cats are, by nature, inquisitive animals. They are curious to know what is on the other side even if it is a closed bathroom door.
Cats are always seeking warm places to rest or sleep in. your chest is the warmest part of your body and also where they feel your heart’s rhythm better. Cats also take your place in bed or sofa because you warmed it up for them.