Why Do Cats Sleep on Your Neck & Face?

"You're my own personal heating pad."
i Janie Airey/Lifesize/Getty Images

Every night, as soon as your head hits the pillow, Scruffy comes over and somehow nestles himself right against your chin. Your feline pal curls up on your neck and face for many reasons. He wants to stay warm, but most important he longs to be close to you. Take it as a compliment.

Marking His Turf

Your cuddly companion adores you and he always wants to touch you, lick your hand and just be next to you. His signs of affection are not solely for sharing his love; he's also sharing his scent. When Scruffy licks and head-butts you, he's putting his special "perfume" all over you, even though you can't smell it.

At night you probably snuggle up under all of your covers. The only parts that are exposed are your face and neck. When Scruffy curls up with your head, he's marking you. This way, if any other kitties come around, they'll know you already belong to another cat.


Cats crave warmth when they head to bed. You'll see your cat sprawl out in the afternoon sun or nuzzle his way under a pile of warm laundry when he needs a nap. Not only is your pillow the softest place in the house, it comes with a heater -- your head. When Scruffy's ready for bedtime, he'll curl his body into a tight knot, resting comfortably between your pillow and your neck.

Feeling Safe

Odds are that Scruffy catches some Z's in the exact same spots every day. These are places where he feels completely safe so he can zone out for a while without worrying about predators or any other danger.

Clearly, the absolutely safest place in the house is right next to you. And if something startles you overnight, you'll move your head, waking him instantly.

Being Dominant

If you have several cats, the most dominant one probably sleeps at higher levels, while the lowest-ranking cat sleeps closer to the ground. Sleeping on your face puts the top cat at the highest point on the bed, the primo location for keeping watch over everyone. Your more submissive kitty will probably sleep at the foot of the bed or in her own kitty bed in the corner of the room.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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