Why Do Cats Like To Sit On Laps?

Why Do Cats Like To Sit On Laps

Some cats may tend to be aloof, but most of them would willingly come up to their owner’s lap and relish the cuddles and snuggles. 

Why do cats like to sit on laps?

Cats like to sit on laps for the following reasons: 

1. It provides warmth and comfort. 

Cats like to sit on laps because it provides them with warmth, comfort and security.  You may have noticed that your cat becomes more affectionate than usual if the weather is cold outside. While your cat adores you, her ulterior motive for sitting on your lap may be to keep herself warm.  She may have discovered that your lap is a great place to warm her paws just as humans seek the comfort of being near a fireplace during chilly weather. 

2. It provides safety and security. 

Your cat may also be sitting on your lap because aside from the warmth she also feels secure there. Cats usually do this if they already trust the person. So, if your cat sits on your lap contentedly, lucky you! It means your cat completely entrusts her safety to you.

3. Because they crave connection. 

Cats are social animals and they crave connection and relationships with humans, especially with their favorite people. One way they can achieve this is by sitting on their human’s lap. Felines also favor petting that usually comes along with sitting on your lap since it reminds them of their mother’s grooming. Some cats may also knead while they sit on your lap as a way to remind themselves of their “kitten days” and as a form of self-comforting behavior. 

4. It may be because of the smells they detect. 

Cats are known as “scent experts” because of their superior sense of smell which may be one of the reasons why they sit on someone’s lap or, on the other hand, completely avoid it. Cat experts note that a cat will sit on clothes or a bathrobe that smell like their owner, regardless if their owner is wearing it or not. Similarly, cats may avoid you and will refuse to sit on your lap if you have been to an animal shelter or you held or petted another cat or dog. 

5. It may have something to do with the texture of your clothes. 

Cat experts also note that felines tend to sit willingly on a person’s lap if they like the texture of their clothes.  Cats tend to sit on a person’s lap if she is wearing a soft bathrobe but they are not eager to sit on someone’s lap if they are wearing a plastic raincoat or clothes that are not of a fuzzy texture. Similarly, cats are more likely to sit on a person’s lap if that person is wearing a fleece jacket which cats find comfortable. 

6. To express their trust to the person. 

Most of the time, you have to earn trust before cats agree to sit on your lap. Thus, you should not force your cat into sitting on your lap. Just give her time and be patient and ultimately she will willingly jump and sit on your lap. Give her the option to leave should she become restless while in your lap. 

Why are some cats lap cats but others are not?

There are some factors why some cats are lap cats and others are not:

  • breed 
  • their history 
  • their relationship with their owner

Cats that tend to be independent and rarely like to be touched are more likely those that are not lap cats. Each feline is unique and has its personality and some are just inherently aloof and do not like to be cuddled and petted too much. Cats with these personalities tend to love from a distance, so to say. 

Also, some cats do not like to hang out with other pets so if you have other pets at home like dogs, your cat may not feel comfortable sitting on your lap. This is because she can detect the scent of other pets which makes her uncomfortable. 

Inversely, some cats are cuddly and affectionate and breeds that tend to manifest these characteristics include the following:

  • Abyssinian
  • Ragdoll
  • Persian 
  • Burmese 
  • Chartreux 
  • Exotic Shorthair 
  • Maine Coon 
  • Scottish Fold 
  • Siamese 
  • Sphynx 

Why does my cat sit next to me but not on my lap?

If you are wondering why your cat is sitting next to you but does not come closer, it could be that she is not so sociable due to her background which likely happens if your kitty came from a pet shelter. It could be that your cat was not socialized properly or had abusive owners before. This may take some time to resolve and may entail training and a lot of patience on your part. 

Your cat may also be sitting beside you but not on your lap because she still has trust issues which usually happens when your cat is still new to your home and you just recently adopted her. Also, she may already be at an older age when you brought her in. Cat experts note that the ideal age to bring a cat home is when they are no more than 12 weeks old so you can devote more time to train and acclimatize her to become sociable. 

Your cat may also sit beside you but not on your lap because there are other pets in the house aside from her.  Your cat may not be comfortable around them and since she can detect their scents on you she will also try to avoid and distance herself from you. Finally, your cat may be avoiding your lap because you may not be cuddling and petting her correctly.  Cats tend to hang out and stay on a person’s lap if they are cuddled gently.

Why does my cat sit on my lap and then bite me?

If your cat sits on your lap but after a while bites you, do not harbor ill feelings toward her. It may simply mean that you petted her in a spot that she does not like. Cats vary in their preferences and the tendency to bite may not actually mean to hurt you but only to warn you not to pet her in a particular area of her body. Some cats may also be more sensitive in certain areas and some of them do not like to be stroked on the base of their tails or their back. 

Your cat may also tend to bite you as a result of static electricity when you repeatedly pet them.

Overstimulation may lead cats to bite so watch out for these signs:

  • her tail is beginning to twitch 
  • she is restless 
  • her ears are twitching, turning back or flicking back and forth 
  • her skin is rippling when you pet her 
  • she is moving her head toward your hand 

Nevertheless, your cat may just be biting you because she is in a playful mood since you are petting her. Try to give her some toys to play with while she is sitting on your lap to redirect the playful biting episodes. 


Cats tend to be aloof but they are actually social animals that crave affection from their humans. They like to sit on laps because it gives them warmth, comfort, safety and security.  

Image: istockphoto.com / vladans