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Why Does My Cat Touch Me When He Sleeps?

If your cat seems to touch you when it sleeps it may seem cute but may leave you wondering why its happening…

Why does my cat touch me when he sleeps?

When your cat is sleeping and touches you, then this is a sign of affection. Think of it as a sort of ‘kitty hug’, but there is also a little more to it than that. Your cat has scent glands located in its paws and by touching you, this scent is also lightly transferred.

So, now you know. But, are some cats doing this to make sure you won’t leave them? Why does my cat reach its paw out to me while it lays near me? Does this behavior mean it loves me? Keep reading to get these answers, and so much more…

Do cats touch you in their sleep to “own” you?

A cat sleeping.

A cat sleeping.

This makes your cat feel safer and more comfortable and is also their way of saying ‘you are mine’.

Finally, cats sometimes stick their arm or paw on you as a way to signal that you should keep still. Moving at this time can confirm this, as it’s often answered with a light, but quick nip before your cat starts moving around to get comfortable again.

Do cats touch you when they sleep to make sure you won’t go?

Yes, cats also touch for holding you in place so that you won’t go anywhere. To test out if they are touching you to show their affection or to simply get you to stay still, try moving slightly and see what happens.

 If you get a glare, a quick nip, or even an irritated swap then your cat was just trying to hold you in place and make sure that you don’t go away.

Why does my cat lay next to me and reach its paw out to me?

When your cat comes up to you, lays down, and then reaches out to touch you lightly with their paw then this is their way of initiating affection. The touch means that your kitty wants you to pet them a little as they relax and prepare for sleep.

Keep the petting light and minimal because your cat may get a little grumpy as they start to relax and drift off.

If my cat touches me in its sleep, does it love me?

Yes. If your cat finds the need to touch you, even when they are in the depths of sleep and kitty-dreaming, then this is an enormous sign of affection and of trust. Cats are predators, even if they are small, cute ones and predators simply aren’t going to sleep comfortably near anyone or anything which they do not trust.

By sleeping next to you and reaching out to touch you, in the absence of conscious thought, what you are seeing is an honest indication that your cat loves you very much.

Should you let your cat sleep with you?

Provided that you are not easily disturbed in your sleep, you don’t have a tendency to roll around, and that you haven’t even the slightest allergy to cat dander or fur, then letting your cat sleep with you has some definite perks for everyone involved.

Petting your cat and snuggling close can promote the release of oxytocin, a chemical also produced when human mothers bond with their own children, so this is really going to help you to de-stress.

Your cat also feels warm and safely next to you, so it’s a good way to de-stress for your kitty as well. Closeness like this also speeds up bonding, so if you aren’t allergic or easily woken up then allowing your cat to sleep with you is both fun and an excellent idea.

 Are cats better off in their own cat bed?

Orange cat sleeping.

Orange cat sleeping.

Getting a cat bed is a good idea so that your cat has somewhere to go when they don’t feel like sleeping in bed with you or for simply napping during the day when you are otherwise occupied. With new cats, having a bed can help them to feel safe while they are still getting used to you and to other animals in the house.

Beyond this, it’s just a comfy place to sleep and as it gives your cat options, a bed of their own is never a bad idea.

Do cats like being touched when sleeping?

This depends on the cat, actually. Some cats will respond with purring when you give them a light petting while the cat is asleep. Other cats, however, may get annoyed with you or even give you a nip to show you that they are displeased!

As predators, cats are basically ‘wired’ to be capable of instantly waking up and springing into action, so if your cat is sleeping peacefully then it’s probably best to let them lie undisturbed unless you know for a fact that your cat will be receptive to it.

Why has my cat suddenly started to sleep next to me?

If your cat is new and they’ve suddenly started sleeping next to you, then this is simply a sign of growing affection and quite natural behavior for your cat. That said, when a cat that you have had for a while suddenly starts sleeping with you all of the time then this may be a warning flag and a vet visit is recommended.

When cats fall ill, they tend to be quite good at hiding it, so behavioral changes like suddenly sleeping with you when they were previously quite independent should be noted and investigated. Now, if you’ve recently brought a new animal in the house, then this is a different scenario.  

Cats are quite territorial and by hopping up to where you are to sleep on you, your cat is making a claim on your attention while also getting their scents on you at the same time. This behavior should relax over time unless of course your cat gets addicted to the warmth and the petting that comes when they choose to spend more time with you!

Why does my cat sleep on me & purr loudly when I touch it?

While some cats will purr when they are feeling aggressive, in this case you’ve got to consider the context. The fact that your cat is making an effort to hop into your lap or snuggle close, next to you, is a sign that your cat loves you and wants to be close.

In this case, the purr makes it unmistakable – your cat is happy as can be to be sleeping on or next to you and trusts you completely.

Why does my cat only let me touch it when it’s sleepy?

This is a sign that your cat doesn’t fully trust you yet and this goes doubly so if you get a nip for your troubles. Oftentimes this occurs when another family member is the cat’s primary caregiver and in a case like this, you can get your cat more comfortable with you petting them with a simple, sneaky trick.

Get the primary caregiver to take a few nights off from feeding, so that you can be the one feeding the cat. Make a show of filling your cat’s bowl gently stroke the cat and push lightly to get them to sit. If your cat resists, don’t keep pushing, or things could get worse.

Once the cat sits, give them a light pat on the head and set the food down to let them eat and try an additional stroke or two if it doesn’t seem to upset your kitty. Repeat this a few times if it goes well and your cat should mellow out a little in regards to being touched.

Alternately (or additionally), you can invest in some cat treats and start feeding them to the cat on occasion and sneaking in a light touch from time to time. As your cat starts to associate happy thoughts with you, they will slowly relax their guard and should be more receptive to your affections.

Lindsey Browlingdon