Why Do Cats Sit On Your Lap?

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There are few things more relaxing than sitting with your cat curled up in your lap. Your cat may be thinking the same thing as they will sit on you for warmth, comfort and security. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why cats like to sit on you or even on your stuff.

Why do cats sit on your lap?

Just like humans, cats have needs and when they come to sit on you, or even to sleep on you, you can be sure that they are fulfilling one of their basic needs.

Warmth and comfort

Cats, like the rest of us, like to be warm. This is why you will find them curled up in front of the fire, next to the radiator, or even sitting in the window when the sun is shining. They are simply trying to keep warm. If you are a nice warm alternative then where better to share the warmth than the lap of their owner?

They like you

One very simple explanation, of course, is that your cat quite simply likes you. Cats spend a lot of their time sleeping and if they’re looking for a comfortable place for a small nap or even to curl up for the night, then cuddled up next to you can be the nicest place for them.


Cats are often portrayed as somewhat aloof and it’s suggested that they only pay attention to their owners when they feed them. The opposite of this is often the case. If they come and sit in your lap it generally means they feel safe and secure with you. When they are curled up with you, they know that you will look after them and protect them. If your cat is relaxed enough to sleep in your lap, you can be sure that they really trust you.

Why do cats sit on your stuff?

Have you ever walked in to find your cat sitting on your clothes on the floor or on your bed? This is not just about comfort. Like all animals, cats have a very highly developed sense of smell and the truth is whatever they are sitting on, they can smell you on it. This is their way of feeling comfortable and secure when you are not around.

You may also find that cats simply won’t sit on certain things such as plastic items. Like us they want some comfort when they sit, so something soft, like a lap, is ideal.

Why do cats knead your lap?

It can be pleasant when a cat kneads your lap, but not if they have their claws out.

If your cat is sitting on your lap because they want your company, then they could be trying to form a connection with you.

  • When they sit in your lap you often pet them which they not only enjoy but it often reminds them of how their mother used to groom them when they were born.
  • If they start kneading your lap, they are trying to recreate the family connection, as this is what they used to do to their mother when they needed milk.

Why would a cat avoid you?

If your cat comes up to you and walks away, there’s usually an explanation for this too. It’s not that they just don’t like you.

  • If you have been around other animals, particularly dogs, they will be able to smell this on you. If you’ve been petting other animals, always wash your hands before you try to pet your cat.
  • Trust is another issue. If you’ve not had your cat long, they will need to get used to your moods. If you are still trying to gain their trust and appear angry or snappy, they may walk away until they know they can rely on you.
  • If your cat is sitting with its back to you, you’ve not done anything wrong. It simply means they feel secure knowing you are there.

Not all cats like to sit in your lap so if they don’t do this it is nothing to worry about. As long as your cat is healthy and seems happy around you then it may simply be that they do not feel the need for human contact.