General Question

marissa's avatar

Why do cats choose to curl up on what I would consider uncomfortable surfaces, instead of a more comfortable surface?

Asked by marissa (2659points) September 5th, 2008

This is a serious question, I have had cats all my life and I have seen them curl up on hard, uneven surfaces (piles of books, hard cases, a pile of junk) rather than finding a comfortable spot (pillow, couch, rug). Both are equally available, but the majority of the time they select what I would think would be the most uncomfortable.

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19 Answers

RandomMrdan's avatar

haha, I think you’re cats must be dumb…mine always sleep in soft areas that are usually warm…like an area of carpet near my glass sliding door that has sun shining on it….or a window seal. Or under my desk.

Mtl_zack's avatar

big cats, such as leopards, lions and cheetahs live in rocky cliffs or in trees. maybe it has something to do with the relation to their bigger, non-domesticated cousins.

gailcalled's avatar

Milo has chosen a wicker basket half his size. My daughter calls it his “cranky box.” Most of Milo is hanging over or resting on hard corners of books nearby.

marissa's avatar

@mtl zack, that is a good point, I’ve never thought of that
I’m ignoring randommrdan, because they called my cats ‘dumb’ {pouting now}...just kidding ;0)

Meatwad's avatar


Cats kick ass!

This question has been asked since the dawn of man. Cats are just that awesome, and yes, they inspire awe!

@marissa I just ignored him, too! Lurve for everyone else!

ANSWER: They’re just that Bad-Ass!

gailcalled's avatar

You mean like this?

Meatwad's avatar

GA for gail! That pic is hilarious! That cat should be named “SLACKS”!

poofandmook's avatar

I had a cat that insisted upon sleeping on paper. When I was in school, if I left one sheet of paper on anything.. the floor, the coffee table, the couch, a chair, Doogan was right there curled up on it. No matter where you put that damned sheet of paper, he would perch himself on it.

MissAnthrope's avatar

No, there’s something to it.. cats are odd creatures. I have noticed that they will come over from somewhere else to lie on papers or newspapers. They also like boxes (every cat I’ve known just had to jump in a box if it was there), baskets, sinks, and bowls. They also find random nooks and crannies I would never have thought of.

I will say, though, that they also find the warmest, most comfy spots to curl up in.

marinelife's avatar

Sometimes it’s for sunbeams. Sometimes it’s to be in your way. Sometimes it’s just where they want to be. I had one cat, Zihua, who I called an escapee from the boneless cat ranch (apologies to Gary Larson). He would lie on his belly on out deck railing with his four feet hanging down below him.

syz's avatar

It’s because cats are contrary and superior beings who feel the need to prove their alien natures at every opportunity. They revel in baffling their inferior human servants. They scoff at mediocrity. And they compete with each other for title of “Most Inexplicable”.

Meatwad's avatar

I wish I could give syz 10 GA’s!

marissa's avatar

Gail and syz, great links, so I’m not crazy, it’s my cats who are crazy….lol

marissa's avatar

So, seriously, can anyone explain this? It really does baffle me, I mean if I had a choice between sleeping on hangers or a mattress I’d pick the mattress….am I missing something, should I try sleeping on hangers????

gailcalled's avatar


If you had a choice of most of a king-sized bed (including me) or a paper World Atlas, and chose the Atlas, we would deduce that you were a cat. On those links (I googled “funny cats photos), there don’t seem to be any cats that are not #1 photogenic #2 boneless and #3 hypnotists who hold their slaves owners in thrall.

Another mystery is why the cat, given his choice, will not chew on your useless grocery list but pick a paper vital for your CPA.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Some of it, I’ve noticed, is the cat trying to place itself between you and your point of focus. Like the cat knows you’re focused on something else besides it, and wants to make itself known. These are the times your cat walks across your keyboard while you’re typing, or between you and the newspaper while you’re reading, or when it comes over to sit right on the stack of papers you’re sorting through.

Some of it is due to the nesting instinct. Cats love safe-feeling nests, so they like boxes and box lids and other places they can curl into with a semblance of walls.

I’m with you in that I would pick a mattress or pillow over a pile of hangers any day.. I always chalked it up to cats being contrary and odd. I’m sure it makes sense to them. :P

MicaDirtCat's avatar

I think that, in direct response to paper places and such, that magazines etc. have edges that can serve as boundaries for them which strengthens the nesting theory. Also, whatever the object is, it most likely has an unfamiliar scent on it and the are prone to marking it as part of their domain. Then with the object “claimed” they aren’t competing with other cats (even if there are none) as to what in your space is theirs.

gailcalled's avatar

Everything in my space is my cat’s, by eminent domain. I was just trying to watch a DVD on a 9“screen laptop, with someone’s tail in my mouth. Earlier he had been His Snootiness, and before that, His Unapproachableness.

On syz’s cat sites, there seem to be an infinite number of cats doing 10 impossible things before lunch.

Seesul's avatar

Gail, at least your kitty isn’t trying to perch on a 26” flatscreen tv, on top of a china cabinet. Mine does that or leaps over it to get to a warm spot on the satellite box. She also spend the first 6 months of her kttenhood trying to sleep on my face.

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