Why Do Cats Sleep Together? (and what it means)

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Have you ever looked over at your couch and seen your feline friends all curled up in a cuddly heap? If you’re like many cat parents, you may wonder why your cats have such an affinity for sleeping together.

The Short Answer

Cats sleep together as a show of trust and mutual bonding. It’s a behavior deeply rooted in their ancestry and also provides warmth and security. In essence, it’s a vital part of their social and survival instinct.

In this blog post, we will be diving deeper into this intriguing feline sleep habit. By understanding their instincts, you might just discover another layer to your cats’ complex personalities.

two tabby cats sleeping together

Is It Normal for Cats to Sleep Together?

Absolutely! It is quite normal for cats, particularly those who share a close bond, to sleep together. 

This behavior dates back to their wild ancestors, who would huddle together for warmth and protection. So when you see your furry friends curled up together in a deep sleep, remember, it’s just them being cats.

This communal napping not only helps them stay cozy, but also strengthens their bond and establishes a sense of safety and security within the group.

However, every cat is an individual and might have its own sleeping preferences.

What Does It Mean When Cats Sleep on Top of Each Other?

Cats sleeping on top of each other might seem strange to us, but it is another way they demonstrate their trust and affection for each other.

It’s a prime example of their deep bond and is usually seen in cats that have been together since they were kittens. However, it is also quite common in cats who have developed a close relationship over time.

It’s important to note that this behavior is not about dominance but about comfort and warmth. Cats have a higher body temperature than humans, so they tend to seek out warm places for their snoozes. Having a buddy to sleep on is like having a personal, purring heated blanket.

If your cats seem content and relaxed in their sleeping arrangement, it’s all good. Just be sure to monitor to ensure one isn’t consistently being squashed or seems uncomfortable with the situation.

Related: Do Cats like Hot or Cold Weather?

Do Cats Sleep Together in the Wild Too?

Indeed they do! Wild cats, like their domestic counterparts, also display this communal sleeping behavior. It’s not uncommon to see lions, for instance, lounging and sleeping in close contact with each other.

This behavior is rooted in their instinct for survival. Sleeping together offers warmth during colder weather, which is crucial for maintaining their body temperature. Additionally, there’s safety in numbers. A group of resting cats is less vulnerable to predators than a lone sleeper.

Even though your home may be far from the dangers of the wild, these instincts still guide your cat’s behavior. Therefore, if your cats are sleeping together, they are displaying a deep-seated, natural behavior that links them with their wild cousins.

Are My Cats Bonded If They Sleep Together?

two gray tabby cats sleeping together

It’s a good question and the answer is typically, yes! Cats that sleep together are usually bonded. 

This shared behavior is a significant sign of trust and companionship. When they are asleep, cats are at their most vulnerable, so choosing to sleep with another cat indicates a high level of trust and affection.

But let’s not forget that cats can be as individual as people. For example, my male cat Smokey, despite being the most sociable cat on the block, often prefers to sleep alone, perched high on his favorite spot on the bookshelf. This doesn’t mean he isn’t bonded with his feline housemates. He displays other signs of bonding like grooming and playing with them.

So, while cats sleeping together is a strong indication of bonding, it’s important to consider the full range of their interactions.

Look for other signs of bonding, like grooming each other, playing together, and maintaining a peaceful coexistence. If your cats are displaying these behaviors, then congratulations, you have a bonded pair (or group) of kitties!

two white and orange sibling cats sleeping together

How to Foster a Bond Between Cats

Fostering a bond between cats can be a joyous journey, filled with moments of pure adorableness, and yes, sometimes, challenges too. Here are some tips based on my personal experience and research:

  1. Gradual Introduction. If you’re bringing a new cat into a home with an existing cat, introduce them slowly. Allow them to sniff each other’s items before they meet. This allows them to familiarize themselves with each other’s scents which is a big part of cat communication.
  2. Play Sessions. Engage them in joint play sessions using toys like feather wands or laser pointers. This fun and active interaction can foster positive associations with each other. My own cats, Smokey and Whiskers, grew significantly closer after shared playtimes.
  3. Shared Meals. Cats associate feeding times with positive feelings. Feeding your cats together (but with separate bowls) can create a positive association between them.
  4. Comfortable Spaces. Make sure there are plenty of comfy spots for your cats to relax. Cats value their personal space, so having their own special spots can reduce territorial disputes.
  5. Patient Observation. Every cat is unique, and it may take some time for a bond to form. Keep the environment stress-free and observe their behavior. It’s a beautiful moment when you finally see your cats sleeping together or grooming each other!

Reflecting on my own experience, the day I found my Smokey gently grooming the rescue kitten Bella, whom he’d initially regarded as an intruder, was an unforgettable moment. Their newfound bond didn’t happen overnight; it was the fruit of patience, shared meals, and play sessions.

Seeing their mutual trust and affection grow reminded me that love takes time, but it’s always worth the wait. The joy of witnessing such a bond between your pets is a truly unique experience, one that I believe every pet parent should cherish.


Do kittens sleep together more than adult cats?

Kittens tend to sleep together more than adult cats due to their innate need for warmth and security. As they grow older, individual preferences may influence their sleeping habits.

What does it mean if my cats stopped sleeping together?

If your cats have stopped sleeping together, it might indicate a change in their relationship or environment. It could be due to stress, illness, or a shift in dynamics. Monitoring their behavior and health will provide a clearer understanding.

Can introducing a new pet disrupt cats’ sleep bonding?

Introducing a new pet can temporarily disrupt cats’ sleep bonding due to changes in territory and group dynamics. Proper and slow introduction of the new pet can help alleviate this disruption.

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