Cats are curious little creatures who like to curl up in a countless number of interesting places. Maybe you have a cat who enjoys squeezing into the corner of a cabinet for a snooze, or you have a cat who prefers to sleep under your bed as opposed to on top of it. Wherever a cat's unique sleeping spot may be, the one place that they seem most content is nestled right on their owner's clothing. It doesn't matter if it's an old pair of workout leggings or a newly worn cocktail dress — if it's yours and it's out in the open, chances are they'll lie on it.
As it turns out, there are some pretty good theories as to why our feline friends exhibit this behavior. To learn more, POPSUGAR enlisted two experts to explain this cute (and sometimes frustrating) cat habit.
Maureen Murithi, DVM, a veterinary spokesperson for Excited Cats, notes that cats view their owners as part of their family and use the power of scent as an important distinguishing tool. "Their [owner's] clothes often carry their scent, which in the cat world they use to recognize their owners," Dr. Murithi explains. "They would therefore prefer to lay on their clothes as they feel safe and comfortable, as they see the clothes as their own or part of their family."
Chris Roth, DVM, an in-house veterinarian for Pets Best, echoes this sentiment and shares that cats may find lying among their owner's clothing items comforting. "Especially when we're out of the house, items like a pile of our clothes can provide security and even reduce feelings of anxiety for our pets," Dr. Roth says.
Dr. Murithi adds that, in addition to seeking emotional and physical comfort, cats exhibit this behavior because they actually want to mark their territory. "Cats use pheromones to communicate, as well as mark their territory," Dr. Murithi says. "Them lying on their caregiver's clothes leaves their scent, therefore marking it as theirs."
OK, that last theory is a little less sweet than the first — but still! Maybe next time you leave the house, you'll purposely leave an old T-shirt or pair of leggings out for your cat to curl up on. Anything for our furry friends.