Why Does My Cat Sleep Between My Legs?

Why Does My Cat Sleep Between My Legs

Why does my cat sleep between my legs?

Your cat likes to sleep between your legs because it is one place where she feels warm, secure, and protected. It also provides comfort and warmth while trying to convey to you the message that she trusts you completely. 

While it may be true that cats can be so picky and sensitive with their sleeping spaces, they may also tend to seek out a unique and secure place where they can sleep in utter peace. Surprisingly, that certain place just happens to be between your legs.  For first-time pet parents this may be quite weird but rest assured that this is just part of a cat’s usual. behavior. John Bradshaw, the author of the book, “The Behavior of a Domestic Cat”, also noted that the cat’s act of sleeping upon a person is meant as a mark of affection. 

These are the common reasons why your cat sleeps between your legs:

It’s your cat’s way of claiming ownership over you. 

Your cat’s peculiar sleeping space choice speaks a lot about your relationship with her. From her point of view, she is claiming ownership of you by choosing to sleep between your legs. For her, it’s you that’s given the privilege of sleeping next to her and not the other way around. 

It gives her a sense of protection. 

Your cat chooses your legs as the perfect sleeping spot because it doesn’t only radiate warmth but it also gives her a sense of protection and security.  Just as it is when she sleeps inside a cardboard box or underneath a bundle of sheets, sleeping between your legs makes her feel secure. Moreover, it’s an elevated area which is a perfect spot so she can keep an eye for probable danger and “prey”. 

She feels safe while sleeping there.

One reason why she sleeps on or between your legs is that she feels safe there. This means she trusts you a lot she finds it safe enough to sleep on or between your legs, especially during nighttime.  For her, it’s also a suitable position because she won’t get squished should you roll over during the night. 

She feels safe while sleeping there.
Image: istockphoto.com / taniche

It’s her way of marking you as her human. 

Just as it is with rubbing your legs to transfer their scent, sleeping on or between your legs is your cat’s way of marking her territory.  She’s not only marking you as her human but also your bed as hers.  

It’s a good vantage point so she can keep an eye on things.

A cat’s preference to sleep in an elevated area comes from its instinct as a predator in the wild.  Being in a high spot allows a cat to have a good vantage point of her surroundings and she can keep a good eye for danger. Similarly, sleeping between or on your legs is a good spot so she can survey the whole room. It’s also interesting to note that cats are nocturnal and they tend to be active during the dawn, thus, sleeping between your legs allows her to snooze while also being able to stay a step ahead from probable danger. 

She likes the warmth. 

Cats are lovers of warmth and could very well qualify as the original sunbathers as evidenced by their love for snoozing in sunny windows or some spot at home where it’s directly hit by sunlight. According to PetMD, a cat’s normal temperature falls at around 102 degrees Fahrenheit so they try to maintain that temperature and warmth as they sleep by snuggling between their legs. Your leg area generates a lot of heat as it has major blood vessels so the next time your cat snuggles up on your legs don’t be surprised and just think of yourself as a heated cat bed of sorts.

She may be stressed. 

Another reason why your cat prefers to sleep between your legs is that she may be feeling stressed and anxious lately. If a cat suffers from stress she tends to become more territorial and possessive and one way of manifesting it is by sleeping between or on your legs. She may tend to hiss and even scratch you should you decide to remove her from that certain space.

What to do if your cat sleeps between your legs?

Having your pet cat sleeping next to you or between your legs may seem such a sweet gesture but oftentimes it can become troublesome on your part.  It doesn’t only restrict your movement but it may also harm your cat especially if she’s of a small breed.  What you can do is provide an alternative sleeping area for her that’s still secured and warm except that it’s not between or on your legs. All you have to do is place a heating pad in a specific part of your bed and add some more bedding or your clothes so your cat can still detect your scent on it. 

It should ideally be a little higher than the bed so that it’ll still give the illusion of height for the cat. Don’t expect your cat to agree on this just as easily but with a little patience she’ll gradually adapt to the said alternative sleeping spot.

Pros and cons of sleeping with your cat 

Pros and cons of sleeping with your cat 
Image: istockphoto.com / taniche

There are benefits as well as disadvantages when your cat sleeps next to you or between your legs. Here are just some of them:


1. It provides stress relief both for you and your cat.

Studies reveal that cats tend to release a feel-good hormone called oxytocin while our cortisol and stress level significantly drops each time you and your pet cat snuggle and sleep together.

2. It’s  a great bonding time for you and your pet cat

Sleeping time with your cat is a good time to catch up with snuggles and a little playtime especially if you’re out of your home most of the time. 

3. There’s a sense of coziness and warmth both for you and your cat

It’s not only your cat that will benefit from the warmth and comfort but it also does the same for you.


1. It disturbs your sleep. 

Cats are known to be nocturnal animals so they’ll usually be awake during the wee hours of the morning. This can disrupt your sleep if your cat sleeps on or between your legs. 

2. It poses some hygienic problems. 

Even if your pet cat is an indoor cat there may still be times when she may track dirt, dust, or worse, kitty litter to your bedroom. If your pet cat freely roams the outdoors then it poses bigger problems as she may be a potential carrier of diseases. 

3. It becomes uncomfortable for you. 

As much as we love our cats, we have to admit that our beds are our sacred sanctuaries, and sleeping time is a luxury. If your cat sleeps on or between your legs it can be very uncomfortable especially if she’s a bit chubby. 


Be glad of yourself if your pet cat likes to sleep between your legs because it’s a sure sign that she trusts and loves you. She feels secure, warm, and protected with you, and most of all, she’s marking you as her human. However, you may also provide her with an alternative sleeping area within your bed where she may still feel warm and secure while still being assured that you’re nearby.