cute orange tabby lying on a bed

Why Do Cats Sleep At The Foot Of The Bed?

Why do cats sleep at the foot of the bed? 

It’s one of those funny elements of cat behavior that most owners will report their cats do, but the majority of owners will also tell you they have no idea why. 

Cats choosing to sleep at the foot of the bed is just one of those things about our cats that we accept as they are. It happens, because they’re cats. Cats seem to do what they like at times, and that’s one of the things some cats happen to love doing.

Cats love catnip. Cats spend hours grooming. Cats love boxes. And cats love sleeping at the foot of the bed. They’re cats, and it’s what they do!

But why? 

 Here’s why some cats prefer to claim the foot of the bed as their own – and why some cats just don’t care, and why they do some of the weird stuff they do when they are at the end of your bed!

a long haired tabby cat lying on their side at the foot of a bed

Why Do Cats Sleep At The Foot Of The Bed? 

Many cats prefer to sleep at the foot of their owners’ bed. There might be several different reasons for this behavior. Here are some of the most common reasons:

For Warmth

At night and during the earlier morning hours, air temperatures can drop. Our natural body temperature also tends to reduce, with the coolest areas being the extremities like the hands and feet.

Your cat might be sleeping at the foot of the bed on your feet for warmth or they may be near your feet during a cool part of the night because your body, even if your feet seem cold, offers some additional heat compared to sleeping a distance away from you.

For Protection.

Cats view themselves as part of a larger family, usually the household. Their owners are the first natural extension of this family – and for any cat, it can evoke their protective instincts. 

A cat wants to keep their owner under guard and safe. This is especially true during times where your cat might think you are vulnerable or unprotected. Cats choose to sleep with their owners as part of the family protection routine. Interestingly, this is also why most cats will follow their owners to the bathroom. It’s to keep watch for potential predators – and no kidding!

Just Because It Is The Routine!

Even though cats might seem like they don’t really care about much, owners should know that cats appreciate and value their routine. Once a routine has been set, cats won’t like it being disrupted at the best of times – and in this way, an owner going to bed is a constant part of their routine.

When you go to bed, so do they.

Cats appreciate this part of your day, and will usually attempt to share it with you as part of their family.

Just For Comfort.

Cats find being close to their owners comforting. Some cats are more independent than others, and some breeds are less inclined to want to spend large amounts of time with their owners. 

It can be breed-dependent, but most cats are social animals and like being as close to their owners as possible.

Sleeping by the foot of the bed allows your cat to be near, but not near enough to be flipped off the pillows every time you turn around in your sleep.


There’s a fifth reason why some cats prefer sleeping by the foot of the bed with their owners or insist on claiming the nearest couch. 

That reason is territory.

Even though cats are domesticated, there are still some behavioral remnants of when they were living closer to nature. Today, cats will still decide what their territory is (and they will try to keep other animals and sometimes human inhabitants) out of this space.

From the time they are kittens, cats realize that beds must be pretty important things for owners. As a bonus, beds are comfortable, too. Cats will often decide on the bed as their demarcated “territory” – and thus, join their owners! 

For A Better Vantage Point

Lying up on top of a bed with a view to a doorway can be a better bet from a predator’s point of view than lying down on the ground or under the bed. The combination of height and eye-line could be a winner – along with the fact that anything coming through the door may struggle to spot your cat lying low on the bed! A winning spot if a strong vantage point is needed.

Alternatively, the foot of the bed can be a good vantage point for your cat to watch you sleep! Watching you sleep may give them comfort and assurance.

young woman lying on a bed with a tabby cat lying at the foot of the bed in sphinx pose

Why Do Some Cats Choose The Other End Of The Bed? 

Not all cats instinctively choose the foot of the bed. Some cats prefer to sleep on the pillow, while others will claim the middle of the bed as their territory.

It might depend on a couple of things. 

Comfort is a huge part of this choice for cats. It also has something to do with how an owner sleeps. If your feet move around too much at night, your cat is likely to be more inclined to move to another spot. 

Cats might also prefer to sleep close to their owners’ hair or pillow. Usually, this is an attempt at self-soothing.

Why Does My Cat Attack My Partner At Bedtime? 

Cats are protective animals by nature and guard territory fiercely. This means that some cats have an overwhelming and instinctive urge to protect their owners or favorite human. They probably view them as territory! 

It can mean that your cat sees your partner as someone attempting an incursion into territory and tries to attack them when they approach the bed.

Be as reassuring to your cat as possible. Sometimes, snacks or catnip offered by the partner under attack can help to swing a cat’s opinion of them. Alternatively, you might need to mix your partner’s scent around the house more effectively so your cat realizes the territory is to be shared and your partner is part of the territory! Try mixing laundry and leaving scented clothing on the bed and around your cat…

Why Do Some Cats Knead The Bedding? 

Cats knead bedding, hair, or other “soft” things in their sleep for comfort. 

Not all cats do this, but cats who do can cause interesting situations for their owners.

If your cat kneads bedding to the point of destruction (or catches skin in the process), tone down their habit by giving them a specific blanket to knead instead of your regular bedding. It can take the edge of this common cat sleeping habit.

silhoulette of a cat at dusk with orange red sky background

Help! My Cats Keep Me Awake At Night

Cats are night animals by nature, but their owners are naturally not. This leads to a natural routine clash that is common between cats and their human owners – especially when nighttime comes around. 

Sometimes, cats might appear to be at the peak of activity at night.

It’s normal, even though it can be frustrating. 

What can owners do when it gets too much? 

Change their routine. Feed them at night so they are encouraged to settle. 

Cats’ natural behavior during a day is to hunt, eat, groom, and sleep in that order. They usually hunt at dusk and dawn which is why they disturb you. 

Shift their activity by feeding just before your bedtime so they groom and sleep as you are dropping off.

How Can I Stop My Cat Biting My Feet At Night? 

Sometimes, cats who sleep at the foot of the bed might swipe or bite at their owners’ moving feet during the night. Often, cats view this as a game – even though it’s not funny at four in the morning. 

Cats are naturally crepuscular and foot swiping and biting is usually nothing more than their hunting instincts kicking in exactly at the time of day they are evolved to use such instincts!

Allow cats a blanket or toy at night as a distraction. If you’re able to keep them busy, they’re far more likely to stay away from your feet.

If the same behavior continues and your cat still attacks your feet at night it might be wise to feed them closer to your bedtime as discussed. This way their natural instinct to eat, groom, sleep will be initiated and they should drop off with you rather than being in hunting mode!

Why Do My Cats Fight Over Who Gets The Bed?

If you have several cats in the household, it’s normal for them to have disagreements over who gets the bed – or who gets to share the closest spot to their owners. Again, it goes back to cats and their territorial urges.

Give cats individual attention, and make sure that each of them feels like they have their own demarcated spot or time for being closer to you. 

Catnip might also help cats to get along better during nighttime. Spray on opposite sides of the bed for the best effect. It can take the edge off cats who appear like they aren’t getting along.

Have you managed harmony? Do your cats prefer the edge of the bed, or another spot in your room or house?