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Why Do Some Cats Like To Sit On Laps? A Kitty Point Of View!

Why Do Some Cats Like To Sit On Laps? A Kitty Point Of View!

Meow-lo there, my two-legged friends. You may lack my exquisite fur and feline grace, but it’s always purr-leasing to see you. 

Or should I say curling up on you? After all, I love nothing more than sitting in my human’s lap. The warmth, the comfort, the sense of being precisely where I want to be . . . what more could I ask? But of course, not all cats are the same: what I enjoy, others might not! Strange, no? Nearly as strange as you humans and your oddly clothed ways . . .

Still, I’m not one to judge. Settle in as I shed some light on this fascinating cat behaviour.

Why Do Cats Sit in Your Lap?

Ah, the lap of luxury! There’s something about sitting on top of our humans that us cats can sometimes find irresistible. Here’s a few reasons why you might glance down to find a cat on your lap:

  • Warmth & Comfort: We’re creatures of comfort, and your lap is like a cosy, heated bed. Who’s going to say no to that? And the texture of your clothing can be really quite appealing, like deciding between a wooden armchair or a soft, plush pillow.
  • Social Interaction & Affection: A cat in your lap can be our way of saying “You’re my favourite human.” It’s a prime time for petting, strokes, and all the good stuff. Think of our cat behaviour as a way of showing affection.


Woman playing affectionately with a lap cat.


  • Security: You might be a bit lumpy and prone to moving far too much, but your lap can help us cats feel protected. Unless you’re sitting on the floor like a smelly dog, the chances are your lap is nice and elevated – one of our favourite positions for falling asleep. Plus, your familiar scent can be great for helping us to feel relaxed.
  • Reinforcing Bonds: On the subject of familiar scents, a cat on your lap can be a way to share and reinforce our group scent together. After all, we’re family. You, me, and not a dog in sight – the perfect family bond, right?

Embracing Our Individuality

Now listen up. Personally, I love sitting in my human’s lap. But there are many of us cats that don’t! And you know what? That’s perfectly okay.

If you do find yourself asking “Why does my cat not sit on my lap?”, just remember that not all cats are destined to be lap cats. This can be for a whole range of reasons:

  • Individual Temperament: Like humans, each cat has a unique personality. Some of us are more independent or may have had less socialisation as kittens. It doesn’t mean we love you any less. We just show our affection differently.
  • Comfort and Preferences: Sometimes your clothes or a particular scent might not be to our liking. And believe it or not, some cats might not find your lap particularly comfortable! I mentioned you jostle about far too much already, right? Well, I suppose you can’t be blamed.


Ginger cat peering up at a man’s face.


  • Previous Experiences: Cats who’ve been through any unpleasant past experiences might find close contact, such as sitting in your lap, to be a little daunting. Just remember that it’s not a personal reflection on you.
  • Bonding Preferences: Let’s be honest, us cats can often come across as fickle, and perhaps with good reason. If we’re choosing to sit with other people instead of you, it may simply be because we have a closer bond with them. Maybe they’re the one that feeds us or plays with us more, or maybe we’re simply used to sitting with them. If there’s one thing you can say about cat behaviour, it’s that we sure do love routine!

Whatever a cat’s reason for choosing not to become a lap cat, what matters is respecting our preferences and social needs. You should never force a cat to do anything we’re uncomfortable with and should always let us make decisions at our own pace.



A woman stroking her cat who is sat on the backrest of a chair


If there’s been a change with how your cat interacts with you, or even how they sit in your lap, you should contact your vet as there may be an underlying medical reason.

Creating a Lap-Friendly Environment

With all this being said, there are a few steps you can take to gently encourage lap visits from us curious kitties. Give them a go, and who knows? Maybe your cat will realise they love sitting in your lap after all!

  • Start Down Low: Start by sitting on the floor or in an open space. Let us come to you and don’t pick us up or force us onto your lap. And while you’re at it, don’t stare at us! Use slow blinks to show you’re friendly.
  • Understand Our Signals: Pay attention to your cat’s behaviour and body language. If we seem uncomfortable or restless, it’s most likely our way of saying, “I need some space”.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward us for coming close. A trail of treats leading to your lap can work wonders, and if you want my personal preference, give Happy Snack by FELIWAY a go. This delicious calming cat treat never fails to draw me closer. After all, who doesn’t love that yummy chicken flavour?
  • Create A Calm Environment: No one feels like settling down when they’re feeling stressed or unhappy, on your lap or otherwise! So, what can you do to create a calming environment at home? Simple: use a FELIWAY Optimum diffuser. Simply plug it in where your cat spends most of their time to see the best results.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a sunny spot in my human’s lap with my name on it. And don’t forget, the key to a cat’s heart is patience, respect, lots of love, no dogs, and maybe a few treats along the way!

Okay, okay, maybe dogs can be alright I suppose.

Do you have a lap cat at home and love it when your cat comes up to say hello? Or are you interested in learning more about Happy Snack by FELIWAY or our cat pheromone diffusers? Get in touch and let us know! We always enjoy hearing from you and talking about all things feline. You can also stay up to date with all the latest updates from FELIWAY by signing up to our newsletter.

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