As it turns out, your beloved felines are actually trying to protect you.

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Whether you're dozing off for a quick nap or settling in to get a full night's rest, your pets aren't too far away. But how do your pets decide where they'll sleep in proximity to you? During the daytime, cats prefer to snuggle up by your side since it "allows a cat to enjoy the attention and proximity with less vulnerability," Erin Askeland, an animal health and behavior consultant for Camp Bow Wow, told POPSUGAR. When it comes to nighttime rest, though, you may have noticed that your cat likes to make his or her way to your feet. Have you ever wondered why? "When a cat goes to sleep, their guard is lowered and they're aware that they're more vulnerable, so often cats may choose to sleep at the foot of the bed for security and safety, to alert you if they sense a threat, and to protect you," Askeland explained.

Not only do cats want to keep you safe by sleeping near your feet, but the bottom part of your bed also helps them map out how they could leave your room in a snap. "The foot of the bed also provides a quicker escape, which is part of a cat's instincts, whereas at the head of the bed or even within the blankets, that escape route is not as clear," Askeland shared. "Often the foot of a bed is semi-centered in a room, so it not only gives the cat a perch and view from higher up, [and a] comfy place to sprawl, but also the ability to move in any direction quickly as needed."

cat laying on person feet in bed
Credit: Linda Raymond / getty images

Another reason why your feline sticks close to you while sleeping? Because they notice and appreciate what you do for them on a daily basis. "While cats may be independent creatures, they are keen on who provides for them and are still quite social," the animal behaviorist explained. "They are aware of who puts down their food, water, and treats, who plays with them, and who gives them attention, so they will seek out that person (or persons) to be near and offer affection in return, or appease you so you continue providing for them."

In the end, your pets still rely on their "survival of the fittest" mindsets to make sure they are taken care of, too. "Cats may also use you simply for your heat! This may be why some cats will move to your head or body during the night and then return to the foot of the bed," said Askeland. "As your own body's temperature changes, your cat may move to warmer (or cooler) spots depending on their own needs."

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
February 25, 2021
Cats like to sleep by your feet, because. You got toe jam
Martha Stewart Member
February 25, 2021
I insist that it is to have a better look at me! Miss my little cat, Pressey. My one true love.