Why do cats like to sleep on items of clothing?

Why do cats like to sleep on items of clothing?

Grooming & Hygiene

Virtually every cat owner will be familiar with this one-you get changed and drop and item of clothing onto your bed, and before you can pick it up to put it away, your cat has curled up on it and gone to sleep, and won’t move without a lot of negotiation!

Most cats seem to have a particular penchant for sleeping or sitting on top of clothes, whether that be clean and freshly dried clothes that haven’t even made it back into your wardrobe, or an item of clothing you put down on the bed or the sofa. If your cat is a contrasting colour to most of your wardrobe, you are probably all too aware of this, and despair of ever finding something to wear that isn’t decorated with cat hair! Whether your cat sneaks through gaps in your wardrobe door or into the top of an open drawer, lies in your washing basket or heads straight for individual items of clothing you have taken off, clothing seems to be a particular target for cats looking for a place to nap!

If you have ever wondered why cats seem to love sleeping on items of clothing, and will lie on top of them in preference to the rest of your sofa or bed or even their own beds, wonder no more-in this article, we will explain why cats like to sleep on clothes.


If your cat wants to climb straight on top of clothes that have just come out of the tumble dryer, been ironed or been taken off after you have worn them, a large part of the appeal for your cat is likely to be that the clothing in question is warmer than the ambient temperature.

Cats seek out warmth, even when they are not actually cold-and clothes that are a touch warm from the dryer or because you have been wearing them all add to the appeal!


Cats are very tactile creatures, and they enjoy certain fabrics and textures more than others. A t-shirt or jumper will be softer and more snuggly than a cotton duvet cover or most types of sofa fabrics, and cats will often show a distinct preference for certain items of your clothing just because they feel nicer than others!

Rearranging bedding

Cats like to arrange their bedding into a shape and position that is comfortable for them, and they do this by means of walking on it, treadling on it with their paws, and turning around in circles to find just the right position to get comfortable. It is of course easier for your cat to manipulate a small item of clothing than it is to reposition a whole duvet or sofa throw, and this is part of the appeal for your cat.

Enclosed areas

It is well known that cats enjoy sitting in small enclosed spaces, like cardboard boxes and covered beds, or beds with sides. If your cat is forever climbing into your drawers, laundry hamper or basket of laundry, they may do so because they enjoy sleeping on the clothes themselves, but also because they like the security of the sides of the box or basket, and have made their own little fortress!

Familiar smells

Cats find comfort and familiarity in scents that they associate with their territory, and things that they like and that makes them happy. This includes of course the scent of you as their person, and clothes that you have worn will be imbued with your own distinct scent, which other people are unlikely to pick up on but that your cat will.

This gives your clothing added appeal for your cat, and may well mean that they will never miss a chance to sleep on your clothing!

Scent mingling and marking

Scent and scent identity works two ways-as well as recognising and enjoying sleeping on things that smell of you, your cat will also sit and lie on your clothes to transfer their own scent to it as well, mingling your scent with theirs and marking out your things as their things too.

If your cat sleeps on freshly washed clothes, they are probably enjoying the tactile sensations and warmth, but also, trying to make these very clean offerings smell like the rest of your home, and your cat’s own distinctive scent signature.

Shapes and contrasts

Finally, cats also like shapes and contrasts that stand out from their surroundings, and a jumper on the back of the sofa or a discarded top lying on your bed will have clear boundaries in terms of its shape and how it differs from the background. Cats often target items of clothing for this reason, and if you put a cat blanket or mat down in the same place, you would likely see your cat happily sleeping on that instead of the larger expanse of plain space too!

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