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How do cats decide where to sleep?


One week, kitty naps in the cat tree, the next it’s on the couch, and this week it’s on your neck! Have you ever noticed that cats change their sleeping areas often? What exactly is their criteria for picking a sleeping spot?

Blame it on the weather

Cats are experts at regulating body temperature. In colder weather, you’re more likely to find them curled up and snuggling up on top of the radiator cover. When the weather is warm, you might see them stretched out, commonly someplace cool like in a tiled bathroom. As TJ Banks, a long time cat parent remarks, “Here, summertime marks the great migration downstairs to the cellar or, at the very least, to the breezeway.”

The safety factor

The fact remains that sometimes, no matter how creative your cat bed is, cats simply prefer to sleep in a box. John Bradshaw, the author of Cat Sense, had this to say about it in an interview with Catser: “Cats in the wild are always looking for nooks and crannies to rest in because what they want is to basically have five sides out of six protected. . . . So a cardboard box is a great place to be ’cause for five sides out of six nobody can get at you and you can keep an eye on the sixth one.”

Cleanliness is next to “catly-ness”

As for why cats change the sleeping locations after a while, Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant, also tells Catser, “Cats are extremely clean, and if something becomes soiled they don’t want to spend time on it.” Meaning that after a while, the cat’s scent and bodily oils may spoil the location. After all, staying fairly low-odor is how cats elude predators and sneak up on prey in the wild.

Where is your cat’s favorite place to sleep? Show us by tagging us in a photo on Istagram or Facebook!


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

Photo by t_Stewart on flickr

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