Why Do Cats Lie on Uncomfortable Things?

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Curious cat comfortably lying on the dirt ground, embracing the simple pleasures of nature and exploration.

Some common cat behavior doesn’t seem logical when seen through human eyes. For example, sometimes cats roll onto their backs to show you their stomach as if inviting you to stroke them, then bam! The moment you touch their tummy, they tell you off with claws and teeth!

Quick Overview


Cats choose to lie in uncomfortable places for many reasons, including warmth, coolness, safety, and easy access.


Many cats choose to rest in places that are quiet, hidden, or out of the way.


Some cats hide or withdraw when they’re feeling unwell. If you're worried this is the case, seek the advice of a vet.

Cats do other nonsensical things, like taking their food out of the bowl only to eat it off the floor or choosing to snooze on the bare floorboards instead of their cozy bed. So, why do cats choose to lie on uncomfortable things?

What Makes a Good Place for a Cat To Lie?

To understand why cats choose some weird places to nap or relax, we have to know what factors create the perfect spot for a catnap. Here are some ideas:

1. It’s Warm

Even though cats have fur, they still feel the cold. Cats might choose to lie somewhere warm, especially in the cooler months, or if they’re a bit stiff or arthritic. They might favor one particular patch of wood flooring because there are hot water pipes underneath.

Equally, they might lie on the windowsill above the radiator to get a bit of warmth. These aren’t stereotypically comfortable places to lie, but the warmth might outweigh the discomfort.

2. It’s Cool

Warmth isn’t the only temperature cats can favor. If the weather’s really hot, you might find your cat is on the lookout for cool places to relax to keep their body temperature stable. You might find them sprawled on the tile floor in the kitchen, or perched on a chair that happens to be lined up perfectly with an electric fan.

3. It’s High

Cats love to be as high as possible. By being at a high vantage point, they can safely assess any threats or predators from a distance. This helps them feel protected, which means they’re far more likely to relax. Even if the good lookout spots in your home aren’t particularly comfy, your cat might still gravitate there to be the king or queen of the castle.

4. It’s Safe

Serene cat peacefully asleep on a roof, basking in the warmth and tranquility of its elevated perch.

Cats sometimes choose favorite spots because it makes them feel hidden and safe.

As well as high places, cats also like places where they’re hidden and feel safe. In an ideal world, a cat’s safe space would be a cozy hidey hole or bed that you’ve made especially for them. However, your cat might find their own places where they feel the most secure and safe.

This could be the bathroom sink or even their litter box. So, don’t be offended if your cat chooses to lie in the dark of the closet under the stairs rather than make use of the brand-new bed you bought them.

5. It’s Private

Cats like their own space where they know they can retreat if they want to be left alone. They might choose a wardrobe in a room that isn’t used much, or they might decide the garage is a better option.

Wherever they choose, it’s best to give them some space rather than following them around. Of course, some cats hide or withdraw when they’re feeling unwell. If you’re worried this is the case, seek the advice of a vet.

6. It’s Quiet

As a rule, cats don’t like noise. So, they might choose their resting spot based on proximity to loud noises. This might mean lying on the patio rather than coming inside, or it might mean that they choose the airing cupboard or another room that’s not frequently used.

7. It’s Theirs

Content cat resting on a roof tile, enjoying a cozy and elevated spot for a peaceful nap.

Cats scent-mark the spots where they spend a lot of time, which makes them even more inviting.

Cats have scent glands on their face, ears, paws, and flanks, as well as the base of their tail. These scent glands transfer their unique pheromones onto anything they come into contact with. Cats like to relax in a place that smells like them. Their scent makes them feel safe, but it’s also reassuringly familiar, which makes them feel calm and relaxed.

Also Read: Understanding Your Cat’s Five Senses

Why Else Might a Cat Choose Somewhere Uncomfortable To Lie?

1. No One Else Will Compete for It

If you think about it, when a cat chooses an uncomfortable spot to lie down, they’re unlikely to face an uproar from other cats in the house or neighborhood. Although some cats enjoy defending their territory, some might prefer an easier life and choose a place that won’t be in high demand.

2. The Best Places Are Taken

If the comfiest and coziest catnapping places are already occupied by cats, humans, or other pets, your cat will probably go looking for an alternative. If there are slim pickings, they might end up lying somewhere uncomfortable.

3. They Can’t Get Anywhere Else

If your cat has mobility problems due to age or arthritis, and struggles to jump, they might not be able to reach the comfort of your spare bed or the couch. In that case, they’ll probably just lie down wherever they can.

4. They Want Your Attention

Ginger cat enjoying a cozy nap on a warm radiator, finding comfort in the soothing heat.

Some cats use playful ways of getting your attention.

If you pass your cat in the hall and they’re lying on their hammock bed, you probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid. After all, it’s a cat bed and they’re a cat. However, if you pass the toilet door and spot them lying in the sink, you’ll probably take more notice of them!

Your cat might use this to their advantage to secure plenty of fuss, cuddles, and sweet talk! If you think your cat is clingier than normal, though, speak to your veterinarian about stress and separation anxiety in cats.

5. It’s Near To You

If you’re your kitty’s favorite person, they love being around you and want to be as close to you as possible. To achieve the ultimate closeness, they might sacrifice their cuddly, cozy cat bed and choose to lie on your laptop or computer keyboard, your desk, or even your feet!

6. It Smells Like You

We already mentioned how cats like places that smell like their individual kitty scent. But they might also like the comfort of being surrounded by their owner’s scent. So, even if your cat looks uncomfortable, they could be feeling super safe and comforted by your smell.

Final Thoughts

Curious cat exploring the bathroom, intrigued by the new environment and surroundings.

Cats might lie in the sink because it’s cool.

On the face of it, if you see your cat lying in the sink, the bathtub, or another uncomfortable place, it probably seems a bit strange. This is especially true if you’ve invested in some lovely cat beds or luxury cat cushions to keep your kitty comfy. However, hopefully, this article has helped you realize there are many reasons cats choose strange resting places, and many of them make a lot of sense.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Follow Me To The Bathroom?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat lie down on my stuff?

Cats might lie on their owner’s stuff to get their attention. Even if you sigh and tell them to get off your work bag, you’re still acknowledging them and giving them some of that attention that they crave. They might also lie on their owner’s possessions because they find their owner’s smell comforting and reassuring.

Does a cat trust you if it sleeps next to you?

Cats are at their most vulnerable when they’re asleep. In fact, cat sleep tends to be quite light. They remain alert so that they can react quickly if there is a threat. If they can fully relax and reach a deep sleep next to you, it means that they are trusting you to keep them safe. They're sleeping position might also let you know that they trust you, especially if they face you and turn their back on the world!

Do cats protect you when you sleep?

We’ve all heard of guard dogs, but occasionally cats can also be protective of their owners. They’re naturally territorial, so if they’re bonded and loyal to their owner they might lie nearby and keep watch while they sleep.

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About Dr. Hannah Godfrey BVETMED MRCVS

Hannah graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, UK in 2011 and began work straight away at a busy mixed practice. Initially, she treated all species, but as the small animal hospital became busier, she focussed on small animals. Hannah is an expert on cat behavior and nutrition.

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