Part of the reason cats are such amazing pets is the amount of cuddles they are ready to partake in on a daily basis.
(Unless you are a cat like my Sasha, who will only be pet when she wants to be, and at no other time. )
With the cuddles comes a cat’s uncanny habit of sleeping at the foot of the bed. Why do they do it though? Is it the smell of feet they like, or do they just want to feel semi-close to us?
Why Do Cats Sleep at the Foot of the Bed?
Cats like to sleep at the foot of the bed for protection: both yours and theirs. From there, they have a clear escape route, but are also on hand to lend a hand if something attacks you in the middle of the night. They also love the companionship.
Cats know they are at their most vulnerable while they are asleep, so they will join you in bed to feel safe, and make you feel safer. The foot of the bed is cooler, calmer, and provides a better overview of their territory, which is why they may spend most of the night there.
Let’s not forget that they also love to be around us, even while we are asleep.
A Clear Escape Route
No matter how safe the environment a cat lives in actually is, they are still in large part made of sheer instinct. Cats like to know they can escape to safety should they ever need to, and like a good special agent, they always want to know what the quickest escape route is.
Sleeping at the foot of the bed is much safer, in their mind, than sleeping under the blankets or near your middle. You may roll over onto them in the middle of the night, or they may be too late to run in case of an emergency.
The foot of the bed is thus the ideal location: easy to escape from should the need arise, but close enough to your warmth and smell. Plus, cats know that the hand that feeds and pets them will also protect them, so they are also using you as their personal bodyguard too. The same principle applies when they want you to watch them eat.
Our cats also feel protective towards us. While they want us to be there for them in the night, they are also more than ready to provide the same service.
In the wild, a cat is vulnerable when eating, doing its business or sleeping, when their senses are occupied elsewhere. They believe the same is true of us. When they watch us pee or sleep at the foot of the bed, they are there to alert us if any kind of danger should arise we need to be aware of.
More Temperature Control
Humans produce a lot of heat while they sleep, and most of it emanates from our cores and heads. Our feet and arms tend to be cooler during the night.
While cats love the feeling of warmth, they also most definitely don’t want to spend the entire night sleeping next to a furnace. The foot of the bed is the perfect compromise: they are close to us and get to enjoy all the warmth and softness of our blankets and bodies, without feeling too suffocated.
During the night however, your cat may move closer to you, and even end up sleeping on your head. This may be caused by an extra need for warmth, or they may just want their but to be the first thing you see when you open your eyes.
A Territorial Instinct
Let’s not forget that cats are also territorial beings. They like others (you included) to know they are the rulers of the realm, which is why they will mark their territory on a regular basis.
Sleeping at the foot of the bed is just one of the ways in which they achieve this goal. After all, for all we know, cats may be convinced they are our owners, and not the other way around, and may need to assert this ownership in numerous ways during the course of the day and night.
More Room and More Calm
Cats don’t like to be disturbed while they sleep. If you keep waking them up, they’ll pack up and look for a clamer place to snooze. Since they are light sleepers, even the slightest sound can wake them up
During the night, you most likely shift, roll and move around a fair bit, even if you are not always aware of it. You rearrange your pillow, move the blanket around, and generally wriggle. Your feet however remain the calmest body part, more often than not.
This is why your cat will choose to sleep at the foot of the bed: it’s calmer, and there is a lot more room. They will be able to stretch quite nicely, and they will probably adapt to your shifting sleeping position more easily.
Since you can’t stretch out your legs the way you do your arms, there will be plenty of cat-specific room at the foot of the bed. Plus, this is where your snores are the least loud.
Within Sight of the Bedroom Door
Being the spymasters they are, cats always want to have one eye on the nearest escape route. In your bedroom, this is the door. And the best place to see that door is from the foot of the bed.
No matter where the bed is located in relation to the door, it will always be within sight. It will also be fairly easy to reach: much easier than from the head of the bed, that is for certain.
Out of Consideration for You
We don’t always ascribe the friendliest of emotions to our cats. While they don’t hold grudges, they often seem to be doing certain things specifically to bug us. Just think of all the times your cat slowly but surely swiped all manner of items off the table with their paw.
However, cats still take us into consideration, and will do things to please us. For example, they will sleep at the foot of the bed, to give us plenty of room to stretch out and move around as we sleep.
Cats love a good catnap, and they don’t appreciate being woken up for one. They will afford you the same courtesy. Since they rarely sleep through the entire night and will likely leave the bedroom at one point or another, they don’t want to disturb you when they do so.
You are Good Company
Believe it or not, your cat also likes you. They like to be around you, will follow you around just to be near you, and they do want to be on hand for the potential cuddles. Or any other interesting action for that matter.
This is why your cat will choose to sleep close to you, ensuring that both of you are still comfortable enough and able to get plenty of rest.
It’s Tidier There
Cats tend to sleep at the foot of the bed because it is tidy there. As you sleep, the rest of the blanket or duvet is most likely shifted around and moved to fit your preferred sleeping position. At the foot of the bed, it will remain smooth, and there will be no bumps and creases that will bother a sensitive cat.
They can also knead and mold this area into the shape that perfectly suits them, and you are less likely to disturb it.
Just Another Routine
Finally, your cat may just have gotten into the habit of sleeping at the foot of the bed. If this is something you have encouraged, or if they have done it a couple of times and enjoyed it, they are likely to repeat the same action again and again.
Why Do Cats Sleep On Your Feet?
Cats will sleep on your feet because they want to be near you and feel safe and protected. While it may feel restrictive to you, it’s actually a sign of affection for them.
If a cat climbs onto your feet in bed, consider it a supreme honor, and try not to move. Just accept your fate and play the role of pillow and bed as well as you can.
Why Do Cats Move From the Foot of the Bed to the Top of Your Head?
Cats will move to the top of your head from the foot of the bed when they are looking for warmth. If the room gets cold in the night, they will seek out warmer climates nearer your mouth.
As we sleep, we emit heat from the top of our head. The rest of us will also be covered in a blanket more likely than not, so our faces may be the one place our cats can easily reach. While they will sleep under the covers for quite a long while, it will start to get too hot there at some point.
Cats like the warmth, and if they start to feel a bit lonely and chilly at the foot of the bed, they will climb up to keep you better company. And wake you up, more likely than not.
Why Does My Cat Sleep on the Floor Next to My Bed?
Your cat may sleep on the floor next to your bed because there is more room there, and it’s also likely cooler than in the bed itself.
If your cat feels a bit too suffocated in the bed, they will seek out a more comfortable sleeping arrangement. Since they still want to be near you and want the mutual protection you afford, they may simply shift to the next best spot: the floor.
If you don’t like your cat sleeping in your bed and if you keep asking it to move, they may also have formed the habit of sleeping next to the bed.
Finally, sleeping under the bed can also seem like a very tempting solution, as it provides plenty of cover and shade, and a cat can feel very safe and snuggly down there.
Wrapping It Up
Cats will sleep at the foot of the bed for companionship and protection. Don’t mind too much if they wake you up every once in a while.
If they are starting to interfere with your sleep quality though, look for another sleeping arrangement that will suit you both.