why do cats sit on your lap

Why Do Cats Sit On Your Lap? 6 Reasons Why They Love It

Cats are known for being quite aloof with their owners but sometimes they’ll make our hearts melt by sitting on our laps.

It’s a special moment to be “chosen” for such cuddles and you may be wondering why cats do it.

There are a few reasons your cat may enjoy sitting on your lap including warmth, safety, comfort and attention.

Cuddly cats love laps and ultimately, it is because they are getting something they need at that moment. 

6 Reasons Cats Like Sitting On Laps:

Here are the six main reasons that your cat enjoys sitting on your lap:

1. It’s A Safe Place & Offers A Good Vantage Point 

Being on your lap helps your cat feel both safe and comfortable. They know they can relax and snooze when they are with you.

lap cat

At the same time, they have a good viewpoint for seeing what’s going on around them.

If your cat comes to sit on your lap it is a good sign that they feel safe with you. 

2. Warmth & Comfort

To a cat, your lap makes a very comfortable bed. Cats like to be warm, their normal body temperature ranges between 38-39 degrees C.

Their thermoneutral zone is between 30 – 36 degrees C, this means within this temperature range they don’t need to use energy to warm up or cool down.

cat laying on back on lap

With this in mind, sitting on your lap will help them keep warm and save energy.

Cats will often lay in the warmer spots of the house such as in sunny spots, on top of laptops or near radiators and your lap offers a great alternative.

It offers the best of both worlds as your cat can keep warm while also spending time with you. 

3. Showing Affection 

Sitting with you is a way to show affection and getting attention.

Cats can be quite subtle when showing affection but sitting on your lap is an upfront way of letting you know they want to be near you. 

cat sitting on lap

This kind of quality time can help build a stronger bond between you and your cat.

You can think of them sitting on your lap as a way of them letting their guard down and letting you know they enjoy your company.  

4. A Way Of Being Social 

Not all cats like sitting on peoples laps but some see it as a way of being social.

Cats that particularly enjoy sitting on people’s lap are ideal for use as a service animal.

It can be your cats way of getting involved everyone is sitting watching TV or relaxing, it allows them to be part of the family.

old cat sat on lap

Your cat may just feel that they haven’t had enough attention and are demanding more by sitting on you.

If your cat likes to keep to themselves they might not spend much (if any) time sitting on you.

If they like to be the centre of attention you’ll probably see them more often. Individual cats like different things and express themselves in different ways. 

5. To Be Close To You 

If your cat hasn’t been able to spend much time with you they could come and rest on your lap as a way of simply being close to you.

Some cats need this reassurance and affection more than others. 

cat relaxing on lap

Sitting on your lap is a sign that your cat trusts you.

Although they might not make it obvious at times, your cat does feel safe around you and likes being around you. 

6. To Mark Their Spot 

Finally, your cat may be letting everyone else knows that you are theirs.

Cats are very territorial and they like to make sure any other cats in the area know what’s theirs.

cat sat in owners arms looking through a window

By sitting on you they are also transferring their pheromones onto you so you have their smell on you.

If you have other pets, your cat may be sitting on you to let the rest of the family know that your lap is their spot. 

Why Won’t My Cat Sit On My Lap?

Don’t take it personally if your cat doesn’t tend to sit on your lap.

Each cat is individual and some are more likely to be a “lap cat” than others.

A lot of cats aren’t that comfortable with a lot of contact so prefer not to snuggle up on someones lap (or choose to only do it for a very short period of time). 

If your cat has chosen to sit on someone else’s lap instead of yours it’s probably just because that person was the last to feed them, is wearing a comfier clothing material, is sitting in a place with a better view point or that was simply where your cat chose to sit at that moment.

Don’t think too much into it.

It doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t like you or wont sit on your lap in the future – don’t worry!

Can I Encourage My Cat To Sit On My Lap? 

You can try to encourage this behaviour by using petting, cat treats and attention to provide some positive association when your cat is sitting on or near you.

With positive experiences with you sitting nearby they may eventually feel comfortable enough to climb onto your lap for a cuddle. 

Don’t force your cat into your lap, if you pick them up and try to sit with them they won’t be happy and will quickly move away from you.

If anything, this will make your cat less likely to want to sit with you in the future.

Summary: Lap Cats 

Let’s face it, we always knew cats wouldn’t sit on our laps unless they were getting something from it.

Our laps are warm, comfortable and offer a safe space with a great vantage point that lets your cat keep an eye on their surroundings.

While cats do show affection and sitting in your lap can be a way of being close to you, the primary reasons for sitting on your lap are safety and warmth.

Enjoy the cuddles and don’t take it personally if they choose to snuggle elsewhere. 

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