It never fails – you sit down in your easy chair, prop your feet up, and all of a sudden, this furry creature jumps up and makes itself comfortable on your lap. Of course, you can’t say no, and you let it stay there while you give it all the affection you can, but why do cats always sit on your lap and purr?
Cats sit on your lap because they need a lot of warmth, as it takes a lot to keep them warm. They crave attention, but they show you that they trust and love you by sitting on you. They need security when they are sleeping, and if they are on you, that means you give them that much-needed security.
Cats are very social and lovable creatures, despite popular stereotypes. If you want to know why your cat sits on your lap all the time, wonder no more and dig in!
They Need a Lot of Warmth
Cats have a higher basal temperature than humans do. At 100-102 degrees, cats seek spots where their bodies don’t have to work so hard to keep them warm. A spot in the sun, a warm blanket, or your lap will do very nicely—thank you. Outdoor cats on the farm will sleep on a cow, especially in the winter, as cows put out a lot of heat.
One thing that you can do to make sure your cat has a warm spot to sleep, especially if you don’t always want it on your lap, is to place a pet bed with a blanket in the sun somewhere in your house. Chances are, your cat will spend most of the day in that bed.
Kittens especially need a lot of warmth. When her cat was small, one woman put her cat in the pocket of her oversized sweatshirt to keep her warm. The kitten fell asleep in the pocket, and they walked around the house together like that. Her cat, Stripey, absolutely loved sleeping in the pocket. Sometimes, she would stick her little head out and watch the world go by.
When Stripey got older, she stopped sleeping in her pocket because she was too big. But, she never left her human’s side after that. That event bonded Stripey and the woman in a way that she never had with the rest of the family.
They Need Security and Love
Just like humans, cats need to feel secure and loved. When they sleep, cats don’t want to worry about predators assaulting them. So they go to the safest place they know, which is your lap or next to you in bed. They also want your love and attention when they sit on your lap, which they know you will do when they sit on you.
It also shows they feel safe with you. They know that you won’t hurt them and that you’re going to chase away any predators that might come along. They also know that they are in a good place with you, which calms your cat as well.
Cats need love just like you do, and when you pet them and cuddle them, they feel loved. So to get close to you so you can give them love, they jump up on your lap and start purring.
The purring encourages you to pet them. But the purring has been shown to relieve your stress and calm your emotions. So it’s a win-win for both you and your cat!
They Show Their Love for You
One of the ways that cats show they love you is by sleeping on your lap. Just as they want love from you, they want to show you love, and the only way they know how to do that is by sitting on you.
A stray kitten found its way into a family home, and she was a complete mess. She had fleas and refused to groom herself. She was thin and scrawny and was afraid to eat any food that was offered to her. The dad took matters into his own hands. He washed her in the sink with a little soap to get the fleas off her. It worked, and she started grooming herself.
Then, once the fleas stopped bothering her, she began eating as her appetite came back. No one else in the family took it upon themselves to care for her like the dad, and she didn’t forget that. Now, she lies on top of him every time he is in bed. She shows him all the time how much she loves him and how safe she feels with him.
They Crave for Attention
Stripey doesn’t like to be picked up, but she will beg to climb up on her human’s lap quite often. She wants the attention, but on her terms—not anyone else’s. But that is why all cats climb up on their humans’ laps. They want and crave attention.
Just because it seems that cats are antisocial doesn’t mean that they are. They want attention on their terms and in their own time. That is why, when they climb on your lap or your computer, they will not leave until you give them attention.
If you pet them before putting them on the floor, you reinforce this behavior, and they will keep doing it. To keep cats from climbing on your laptop, put them down on the floor immediately when they jump up there. Otherwise, they will think they can do that all the time.
They Show Their Trust in You
If your cat didn’t trust you, they wouldn’t sit on you. Cats need to know that they can sit on your lap and leave when they need to. So holding them down against their will can take away their trust in you pretty quickly.
Cats can be skittish at times. Stripey, from the examples above, refuses to be held. But, when she feels like it, she will climb up only on her favorite human’s lap, which shows that she trusts her human. But she is very skittish.
Trust is earned for cats just as much as it is for humans. When a cat sits on your lap, it shows they trust you.
What Will Cats Do if They Can’t Sit on You?
There are times when cats know it’s not the right time to sit on your lap. But they still crave the attention and love that being close to you gives them. If you put a small chair or footstool next to you, your cat will jump up and sleep there. They need the connection and security that you bring to their lives.
Cats are social creatures who need you for love, attention, warmth, and security. If they are not sitting on you, they want to lay next to you. Any cat lover will understand this and will set up furniture near them to have their cats next to them.
The stereotype that cats are antisocial comes from people who don’t understand cats or have never had them. It comes from dog people who are used to a dog’s way of showing affection.
But cats show their love in subtle ways that only a cat person will understand. When they sit on you, they tell you that you are loved, trusted, and needed in their lives.
When you create a space for them to be near you all the time, you tell them that you love them and you want them in your life. They then respond in kind, and you have a friend for life.
- Daily Sabah: Love of Cats Comes From Their soothing Influence and Purr
- Katie’s Kitty: Why Does My Cat Always Sit On Me?
- Catster: Why Do Cats Sit On You? 6 Reasons
- The Spruce Pets: How Cats Show They Love You
- Cuteness: What Does It Mean When a Cat Sits On You?
- Pet Central: 8 Unmistakable Ways Your Cat Says ‘I Love You’
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.