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Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Arm?

If you have noticed that your cat tends to sleep on your arm, then you may be wondering why this happens…

Why does my cat sleep on my arm?

When your cat is sleeping on or in the crook of your arm, it just means that your cat wants to be close to you. When you have your cat’s trust, it starts with them sleeping nearby, with their back vulnerable to you, and quickly turns into your cat wanting to sleep as close as you will let them.

Not all cats are this way as each cat has their own opinions about sleeping close and how much petting is expected or ‘allowed’, so consider yourself lucky if your cat likes a cuddle. It’s a warm and fuzzy way to strengthen the bond that you are building with your feline friend!

Should I let my cat sleep on my arm?

A person holding a white and orange cat in it's arms.

A person holding a white and orange cat in their arms.

As long as you don’t toss and turn in your sleep or have any mild allergies to your kitty’s fur, then allowing them to sleep close is encouraged.

Your cat feels safe and warm when they are close to you and let’s face it… it’s a nice feeling when your cat chooses to spend their time with you in this way.

What could happen if my cat sleeps on my arm?

As long as there is no danger of rolling onto your cat, you shouldn’t have to worry. Most cats sleep very lightly, in that Nature has provided them with the ability to wake up instantly alert when it’s needed, and their body weight isn’t enough to make your arm ‘fall asleep’ while they are there.

If you DO tend to move around in your sleep, however, then there is a possibility that your cat could come to minor harm if you roll over on them. If you are worried, you could always invest in a body-length, tubular pillow.

These allow you to put a plush barrier between you and your cat so that the two of you may sleep close and the chances of rolling on your cat (and possibly getting a nip for your troubles) will be minimized.

What are the benefits of my cat sleeping on my arm?

Allowing your cat to sleep on your arm is certainly good for bonding. Your cat loves the closeness and they get a good night’s sleep, as they feel much safer with you so close to them. This arrangement benefits you as well.

Scientists have studied human and feline interactions and simply petting your cat for 10 minutes is enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels, so that you relax a bit and your blood pressure is even lowered. Add in that cuddling will keep both you and your cat warmer on a cold, winter night and the tally of perks is complete.

Cuddling isn’t just cute, but practical, and we encourage you to do this with your cat whenever you can!

Should my cat have its bed?

A gray cat lying on a bed.

A gray cat lying on a bed.

It is good to have a bed for your cat. While they might like sleeping in bed with you, as predators cats have an instinctual urge to change where they sleep now and again.

This is a practical instinct to have, as it makes them harder to sneak up on in the wild, and cats will usually have an average of 5 spots like this around the house.

Watch your kitty during the week and you’ll spot a few of these and if you feel so inclined, get them a bed. If your cat finds it comfy, then you might just make their ‘top 5’ sleeping spots list!

What does it mean when your cat sleeps on you?

When your cat chooses to sleep with you, it’s not something that they do ‘just because you are warm’. When a cat makes this choice, they are showing you that they trust you completely, and it’s also a show of affection.

No predator would ever leave themselves vulnerable like this, after all, so this sort of behavior is coming from an enormous amount of love and trust!

Why does my cat cuddle my arm?

The crook of your arm is a soft, warm, and comfortable spot for your kitty to lay in, and it also makes it easy for them to play with you if they are feeling like it.

When a cat chooses to do this, they are showing you that they love and trust you, even when that cuddle turns into the occasional painful ‘cat hug’ when they get a bit excited. While the latter type of behavior is a bit painful, it comes from a good place.

It means that your cat considers you to be both cuddly and a playmate.

Do cats know how to hug you?

Cats probably don’t understand a hug, and some will not even tolerate this sort of thing, but they DO understand affection and closeness. The biggest problem with picking up a cat for a hug is that they feel imbalanced. Their feet are suddenly high above the ground and they are not the ones in control.

Some cats will react quite negatively to this and you might well get scratched and nipped. That said, most cats will learn that you aren’t going to drop them and may become quite used to being hugged and even learn to enjoy it.

Cats hug on their own, but it’s a different sort of thing. Think of it as more of a ‘predator hug’, as cats seek to pin their prey in place between two stiff arms with claw-tipped paws. Cats will do this to other cats, especially kittens, as a way of saying ‘calm down’ or more commonly, ‘hey, I’m in charge!’.

So ultimately, hugs are very different things for cats, though most of them will let you demonstrate your version of the hug and may learn to appreciate this.

How do cats choose who to sleep with?

Cats base their sleeping-arrangement decisions on several factors. They like the person they choose to be warm, for one thing, and they also like it when that person makes them feel safe. If you are the one feeding them, this can also go a long way, and how you smell is also very important to your cat.

This last one is something that you can easily leverage by spending lots of time with your cat. When your cat rubs against you, you might not notice it, but they are marking you with their scent. Scent glands in their faces and several spots all over their bodies leave scent markers on your skin and clothing.

These scents make your cat feel more comfortable and may ultimately tilt the scales in your favor when it comes to your cat’s choice about who it should sleep close to!

Do cats sleep with you to protect you?

In some cases, yes, your cat wants to sleep close to you to protect you, but just as often it is the other way around. Cats feel safer when you are close because they trust you completely and they know that you would defend them in a pinch if it was needed.

This is a warm and fuzzy sort of ‘defense alliance’ and you are on the right track!

Lindsey Browlingdon