cat on bed

Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Pillow?

If you're a cat owner, you might have noticed that your furry friend likes to sleep on your pillow at night. You might find this behavior cute and cuddly, or annoying and disruptive. But have you ever wondered why your cat does this? What are they trying to tell you? And is it good or bad for you and your cat?

In this blog post, I'm going to explore some of the reasons why cats sleep on their owners' pillows and what it means for their relationship. I'll also share some tips on how to make your cat more comfortable sleeping elsewhere or how to make your pillow more inviting for your cat. And I'll tell you some of my own stories about my cat sleeping on my pillow and how I feel about it.

So, if you're curious about why your cat sleeps on your pillow and how to deal with it, keep reading and find out!

Reasons Your Cat Sleep On Your Pillow

Cats are mysterious creatures and they often do things that puzzle us. One of these things is sleeping on our pillows. Why do they do that? Well, there are several possible reasons, and each one reveals something about your cat's personality and feelings.

  • Softness: Cats are known for seeking out comfortable and cozy sleeping spots, and pillows can provide just that. Also, cats have a unique way of kneading soft surfaces, also known as "making biscuits." When they knead, it helps them relax and release happy hormones. The softness of your pillow can provide the perfect surface for your cat to knead and get comfortable, making it a prime spot for them to sleep.
  • Scent: Cats have a highly developed sense of smell and use it to communicate and navigate their environment. Also, cats have scent glands on their paws and face, and they may leave their scent on your pillow as a way to mark their territory. This behavior is typical in cats and is a sign that they feel secure and comfortable in their environment.
  • Height:Cats are known to be curious creatures that enjoy observing their surroundings from an elevated position. Your pillow can provide an ideal height for your cat to keep an eye on their environment and feel safe and secure while they sleep. Also, the height of your pillow can also help your cat regulate their body temperature. As heat rises, your cat can enjoy the warmth of your pillow while also staying cool by being elevated above any heat sources, such as radiators or heated flooring.
  • Warmth: Cats have a higher body temperature than humans and they like to stay cozy and comfortable. Your pillow is one of the warmest places in the bed because it absorbs your body heat. Your cat might also enjoy the smell of your hair or shampoo, which makes them feel closer to you.
  • Safety and security: Cats are predators, but they are also prey animals. They have a natural instinct to find a safe place to sleep where they can avoid potential threats. Your pillow is a high and protected spot where your cat can keep an eye on their surroundings. Your cat might also feel safer sleeping next to you because you are their trusted companion and protector.
  • Affection and trust: Cats are very selective about who they bond with and how they express their love. Sleeping on your pillow is a sign that your cat considers you as part of their family and wants to be close to you. Your cat might also be trying to mark you as their territory by rubbing their scent on you and your pillow.
  • Dominance and control:Cats are territorial animals and they like to establish their hierarchy in the household. Sleeping on your pillow is a way of claiming it as their own and showing you who's the boss. Your cat might also be trying to get your attention or disturb your sleep if they feel neglected or bored.

As you can see, sleeping on your pillow can have different meanings for your cat, depending on their mood and personality. It can also have different effects on you and your cat, depending on how you feel about it.

Some of the benefits of this behavior are:

  • It can strengthen the bond between you and your cat by increasing physical contact and emotional closeness.
  • It can make you feel relaxed and happy by releasing oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress and promotes social bonding.
  • It can improve your sleep quality by providing warmth, comfort, and soothing sounds.

Some of the drawbacks of this behavior are:

  • It can disrupt your sleep cycle by causing allergies, snoring, or movement.
  • It can increase the risk of infections or parasites by exposing you to bacteria, fungi, or fleas.
  • It can create behavioral problems by reinforcing bad habits or encouraging aggression.

So, whether you enjoy or dislike having your cat sleep on your pillow, it's important to understand why they do it and how to deal with it. In the next section, I'll give you some tips on how to encourage or discourage your cat from sleeping on your pillow.

Drawbacks of Sharing a Pillow with Your Cat

  1. Allergies: Sharing a pillow with your cat can lead to allergies, particularly if you or someone in your household is allergic to cats. Cat allergies are caused by a protein called Fel d 1, which is present in a cat's saliva, urine, and skin glands. When a cat sleeps on your pillow, they leave behind dander, which is composed of tiny flakes of skin, and saliva, which can contain Fel d 1. These allergens can trigger an allergic reaction, causing symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and coughing.
  2. Sleep disruption: cats have different sleep patterns than humans. Cats are naturally nocturnal and may be more active at night, which can disturb your sleep. Cats may move around, meow, or even scratch during the night, which can wake you up or make it difficult to fall asleep. Additionally, cats may prefer to sleep in a different position than you do, which can lead to discomfort and further sleep disruption.
  3. Hygiene: Cats can carry bacteria and parasites that can be harmful to humans, and they may shed fur or leave drool on the pillow, which can be unhygienic. Cats can carry bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning, and parasites like fleas and ticks, which can transmit diseases. Additionally, cat saliva can contain bacteria that can lead to infections if it enters the bloodstream through an open wound or scratch.

How To Encourage Or Discourage Your Cat From Sleeping On Your Pillow?

If you're happy with your cat sleeping on your pillow, you might want to make it more comfortable and enjoyable for both of you. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Wash your pillowcase regularly to keep it clean and fresh. You can also spray some catnip or lavender on it to make it more appealing for your cat.
  • Provide enough space for your cat to stretch and move. You can use a large pillow or a couple of smaller ones to create a cozy nest for your cat.
  • Respect your cat's sleeping preferences. Some cats like to sleep under the covers, some like to sleep on top of them, and some like to sleep next to your head. Try to accommodate your cat's needs and avoid disturbing them while they sleep.

If you're not happy with your cat sleeping on your pillow, you might want to discourage them from doing that. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Provide an alternative sleeping spot for your cat. You can get a cozy cat bed, a heated mat, or a cardboard box and place it near your bed or in another room. You can also add some of your clothes or blankets to make it smell like you.
  • Reward your cat for using their own sleeping spot. You can give them treats, toys, or praise when they sleep in their own bed and ignore them when they sleep on your pillow.
  • Gently move your cat off your pillow when they try to sleep on it. You can use a gentle voice or a light touch to nudge them away and direct them to their own bed. Avoid yelling, pushing, or spraying them with water as this can make them scared or angry.

Whether you want to encourage or discourage your cat from sleeping on your pillow, remember to be patient and consistent. It might take some time for your cat to adjust to the new situation and learn what you want them to do. Don't force them or punish them for their natural behavior. Instead, try to understand their reasons and find a solution that works for both of you.


In conclusion, sleeping on your pillow is a common and natural behavior for cats. It can have different meanings and effects depending on your cat's personality and feelings. It can also be a source of joy or frustration for you and your cat.

The key is to understand why your cat does it and how to deal with it in a way that suits both of you. You can either make your pillow more comfortable and inviting for your cat or provide an alternative sleeping spot for them. You can also reward them for using their own bed or gently move them off your pillow.

Whatever you choose to do, remember to respect your cat's needs and preferences and show them love and affection. After all, they are your furry companions and they deserve the best. does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their pets; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.