Why Do Cats Sleep in Unusual Places?

kitten in the sink

Cats can sleep in a lot of unusual places. Sometimes it looks like they are sitting or lying down, and if they like it, they decide to take a nap. I have seen cats sleeping in the sink, under a pillow, in a closet, or the bath. You can think of many unusual places where most cats can sleep. You might say a cat sleeps everywhere.

Cats sleep in unusual places because they like to feel hidden. Also, they prefer a comfortable and safe spot with only one entrance. In that way, they only have to keep an eye on one opening.

In this blog post, you can read more about the unusual places cats sleep, why they choose these places and whether every cat can sleep somewhere. Even my cats are sometimes sleeping in crazy places. I took pictures of them and placed them in this blog post. Also, at the end of this blog post, you can see a YouTube movie about Simon’s cat.

Cats Sleep in Unusual Places

Cats can choose to sleep in a lot of interesting places around the house. Cats can sleep anywhere they want. Usually, cats prefer a safe spot and the most comfortable place they can find. This spot often matches with the same hot spots that people enjoy.

Cats like it to feel that they are hiding away. Some cats sleep on or in washing machines, in cupboards, a sink, baskets, or on top of the computer. It does not look comfortable or safe, but it provides a great vantage point for your cat.

Sometimes, cats like to feel hidden. In this case, they will choose a place with only one entrance. Sometimes, cats want to feel hidden. In this case, they will choose a place with only one entrance. Many places cats prefer to sleep are designing to replicate cats’ environments in the wild. For example, this can be a box replacing a cave or a bookshelf that takes over a tree. These locations naturally bring safety to your cat when it’s most vulnerable.

Cats Are Master Nappers

Cats are fun and quirky. People often find it interesting to learn why cats do things they do. Cats sleep more than people do. Cats are most active at dawn and dusk. These times are the most important hunting times for cats. All other moments are used to play or to rest, especially for the house cats. They are not dependent on the hunt for food. When making choices for sleeping places, your cat must consider all the characteristics of that choice as to if it were still living in a wild environment.

Cats are very good nappers and love to sleep in uncomfortable places. If you observe your cat and see where it rests, you should think about living in the wild and how your cat deals with threats. Think about living in the wild, coping with risks, and it will change how you see your cat’s habits. It is a genetic code that your cat must follow.

Cats naturally sleep a lot, and because of this, they have specific preferences for resting places. Your cat can choose a resting place located high up, for example, on top of a cupboard.

In nature, cats should see everything around them when they are most vulnerable, such as when they are asleep. Cats can also choose a spot that is easy to defend or to be able to escape easily. For example, a sleeping place can have more than one way to get away quickly.

cat is sleeping in a basket

Hidden Away

Cats like it that they can sometimes feel that they are hiding. When cats hide, they choose places with only one entrance and one exit. Then they have only to keep an eye on one direction and defend it.
Cats do not have to be on their guard when they know they are enclosed. It is one of the reasons that cats like to hide in baskets or boxes. The safety of being surrounded on three sides is okay because it has a defensible and low profile. Your cat can sleep peacefully and only have to think about the danger from that one corner.

Some cats seem to fall asleep on the spot where they feel comfortable at that moment. Sometimes, as human beings, we do not find it a convenient place. But your cat may have strategically selected his spot instinctively. Also, we as humans cannot judge that place properly because we are not cats.

Temperature Control

Cats like to sit in small spaces such as in a closet, sink, or on the toilet seat. One of the reasons cats do it is to regulate body temperature. On a cold day, a cat often likes to lie in a warm place and then sleep. It is not surprising to find cats under blankets, on high sticking cupboards, or in cupboards near the heating. Beds and blankets are special warm places. Cats love to sleep in a place surrounded by the smell of their favorite people. Soft cushions, together with the smell of the owners, are extra motivating to go to sleep.

A box is a favorite spot of your cat. Boxes, most made of cardboard, hold heat the best. It does matter how big the box is and where it is positioning. Boxes protect cats from cold winds, but this depends on the direction in which they are placing. Small boxes are comfortable, warm, and cozy. Cats like to stay warm, and that’s why they curl up.

My cat Mylas is often in the sink in the bathroom. I always wondered why he lay down there. However, sinks are ideal places to stay cool during hot summer days. Also, most sinks have a comfortable fit for the cat. They are kept cool by the porcelain. Another advantage is the view. Cats can look over the edge; they see what happens around them, while they almost go unnoticed by the other people in the house.

Safety and Security

Cats choose where they want to hang out because they follow their basic survival instincts. Every cat is an individual. The personality and history, together with the environment, make that they make certain choices to choose a safe environment.

It may just be that you find a cat in a closet, under a bed, or on the couch. Cats also want to lie on bookshelves, refrigerators, high scratching posts, and cabinets. These places are not near other animals, babies, and household activities. Because cats are in one of these safe places, they feel that they are not easily found, while at the same time, they can see what is happening around them.

For a couple of reasons, tightly confined spaces promote secure feelings. They help some cats to feel untouchable, protected by the strong sides of the space. The sides can act as armor, shielding them from predators and adversaries. Usually, cats will position themselves.

Boxes can also help kittens and cats to reduce stress. They feel safe in a box and can hide in stressful situations. A few years ago, there has been a study on cats that have stayed in the Netherlands. The research showed that cats that could hide in a box were not so stressed. They were getting used to the environment more quickly and were more interested in dealing with people than cats that did not have boxes to hide.

cat with paw on keyboard


Cats are also very good attention-grabbers. They can hang around strategically for the sole purpose of attracting the attention of their favorite people.

Cats who demand attention are very good at finding places to spend time that annoy and inconvenience their people. Cats often relax on magazines and books. As you try to read, they lie on top of the pages. Alternatively, when working on the computer, your cat is standing in front of the screen. Keyboards are also popular. It is not comfortable but is the perfect place to attract attention and get attention. Because a cat on your keyboard, while typing a post, is not very nice, hello attention and goodbye typed texts. Computing and a cat that demands attention are not always nice, I say from experience.

It happens quite often that owners unintentionally reinforce the irritating behavior by giving the cats what they are looking for: attention. Attention is given in many forms, including petting, kissing, talking to, picking up, and putting on the floor. It does not take long for the cats to find out that they get what they are looking for: attention from their favorite people.

It is important to keep in mind that cats looking for warmth and safety sometimes find places to sleep that are not safe. Tragic accidents can happen. Keep your cats out of the danger zone by checking dryers before turning them on, look under adjustable and motorized furniture and check other areas that could pose a hazard.

A Few Examples of Crazy Sleep Spots

  • sink
  • washing machine
  • in the dryer
  • in a box or basket
  • on top of another cat
  • the kitchen countertop
  • on bed
  • under the duvet
  • shower cabin
  • bath
  • heating
  • a locker
  • on top of the computer / laptop
  • keyboard
  • under a pillow
  • clean laundry
  • the owner’s shoulder
  • on a shoe
  • the door of the dishwasher

And, of course, there are a lot of unusual sleeping spots for cats. Each cat has its preference. Sometimes you think you know all the spots of your cat, and then it finds a new, unusual place.

My Cats and Their Unusual Sleeping Places

cat is sleeping on pillows
cat is half sleeping on the couch
Cat is sleeping on pillows
Sleeping on the table
the cat is on top of the heating
kitten in the sink
kitten in the sink
cat is sleeping under the duvet

Youtube Video Simons Cat

In this video, they explain in six minutes why cats sleep in unusual places. With drawings, it is easy to understand, and as a cat owner, and as a cat owner, you see familiar things. Enjoy watching.


Cats sleep in unusual places for various reasons. Usually, cats prefer a safe spot and the most comfortable place they can find. Cats like to feel sometimes that they are hiding. Also, cats choose where they want to hang out because they follow their basic survival instincts. They are also very good attention-grabbers. They can hang around strategically for the sole purpose of attracting attention to their favorite people.

Maybe if your cat likes to sleep on a sofa, then I have found 20 sofas for cats that are perfect for your cat.

I hope your cat has nice places where it can hide and feel safe. If you know someone that maybe wants to know why cats sleep in unusual places, feel free to share this post.

By Marleen

Marleen van der Leest is a truly madly deeply cat lover and founder of That Is for My Cat. She wants to share her knowledge about cats with other people who like to know more about cats.