Why Does My Cat Walk on Me?

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After living with cats for a while, most pet parents no longer question many of the more common weird behaviours that our pets exhibit (chirping at birds, anyone?). But what about actions like walking all over you? Or standing on you right when you're trying to get some sleep? Read on to learn why this cat behaviour means you're more than just part of the furniture.

Why Does My Cat Walk on Me?

Cat snuggled up on human's chest.

You may think that the number one reason your cat likes to walk on you is because they can, and you wouldn't be too far off the mark. Most often, standing or walking on you is a precursor to the ultimate goal: staying warm.

This especially is true for kittens who are searching for a substitute for their mother. Young kitties need to stay warm to stay healthy, and they instinctively search for the comfort of a trusted caretaker who will keep them safe. Domestic cats retain many of their kitten instincts, and that means they seek the safest spot in the house: with their cat parent. Your body heat gives your cat the security they crave.

Basically, your feline friend sees you as one big cushion they can relax on. Just as they do with a pile of blankets, a pillow or the couch, your kitty needs to make sure they have chosen the perfect napping spot, and walking all over you fulfills this goal.

The act of walking all over you is closely related to the need to knead. Cats knead instinctively, often from kittenhood to adulthood. Although no one can say with absolute certainty why, many experts believe cats "make biscuits" because they are replicating the attention of their cat mum.

"Because the pads of cat's paws contain scent glands, kneading emits a distinctive scent, discernible by other cats or pets but not by the human nose," explain Animal Planet. "In a subtle manner, this signals that this is their own spot, and that other cats can just go knead somewhere else." In other words, when your cat tramples you, not only are they looking for a comfy sleeping spot, they’re claiming their territory too.

Why Does My Cat Stand on Me While I'm in Bed?

You may notice that your cat tends to stand on you at specific times of the day, such as when you've just settled down on the couch after a big dinner, or when you've just got under the bed covers after a long day, or when it's 3 o'clock in the morning. Basically, your cat wants your attention, and they want it now.

Recognising that you'll be distracted by other things, such as the TV, another person or sleep, your fur baby knows that you can't ignore them if they are stood on your torso and, in many cases, staring directly into your eyes. (You know the look — as if they’re trying to put you into a trance.) They are probably hoping that this manoeuver will lead to a bedtime snack, a few extra pets, a snuggle, or all of the above.

How Can I Stop My Cat from Standing on Me?

If you aren't comfortable with being a human cat bed, there are a few ways you can gently encourage your cat to stop, or at least cut down on how often it happens.

One way you can reduce this behaviour is to gently remove your kitty from the undesired spot and place them next to you, or even on the ground. You should never yell at your cat or discipline them; rather, be patient, kind and persistent.

You also can divert their attention from you and toward their very own sleeping nook. Creating a DIY cat bed that appeals to your kitty's love of soft textures and security is a terrific way to get them off your abdomen and into a cozy, cat-approved space.

Keep this important mantra in mind whenever your kitty displays this kind of behaviour: "Why does my cat walk on me? Why does my cat stand on me? Because they love me."


Christine O'Brien