My female cat usually sleeps alone in a different room when I of course sleep in my bedroom. She's never interested in sleeping with anyone in the family. In fact, she seems to get annoyed and leave the place if the person (trying to sleep with her) touches her a lot. She's still nice and accepts family members bothering her a little. And depending on the person she either swats or leaves when she's fed up with him or her, and that's when the person exaggerates with giving her too much love (which I don't see as too much love for a cat).

But yesterday I got a cough attack (because of asthma which is not caused by her, it's because I got a male cat to live with us and I'm allergic to males). She was playing fetch at the time, by giving me a head band she loves and I throw it. I threw the head band, she ran, I started coughing a lot and having my chest closed. I think I also sighed a little too. She then lost interest in playing and jumped on my bed (where I was trying to rest a little and where she NEVER hangs out) and it's like she notices something is happening but she can't talk, Looking away then at me again then away etc..as if a human was thinking and looking for an answer. She totally lost interest in the game. She then decided to stay on my bed and then slept. The shocking thing was that lots of my family members came to her, petted her, gave her love (which she doesn't really like, she can usually take it for some time, but then she gets fed up with it), and she got up wanting to leave but decided to stay.

After my family got out of my room (which my sisters and I share and the cat knows someone can suddenly get in and bother her, making it a reason to why she never sleeps in my bedroom) she stayed in the same spot, made herself comfortable and tried to sleep (usually if she had to stay in the bedroom she'd jump to the top drawer of my closet to be able to rest.)

I did once in a while sit down and start coughing again and she gave me a look that says "I know you're sick and I don't like it" (I'm not sure about that really) but then closes her eyes and tries to sleep again with my very disturbing sounds. And when I woke up, many hours later, she was still there!! It's really surprising to me that she actually stayed.

She used to sleep by our sides sometimes only when she was a kitten, and whenever we wake up we know that it's impossible for us to see her still where she'd been before we closed our eyes. Because she simply didn't like to sleep with us a lot, she may feel affectionate and sleep with us sometimes, but there's a 95% chance she leaves while we sleep, or if she's trapped in our room she'll wait at the door.

So my question is, why did my cat sacrifice her time sleeping in an unusual spot and staying right at my feet without moving?

(For more information i did sometimes stretch and my feet push her a bit, and still my cat didn't care, she stayed right at the spot. I sometimes annoy and tease her from my love to her and she would usually leave or bite in obvious discomfort. She doesn't hurt me, though, her bites are meant to warn me. It seems to be an attack while in fact she just puts her teeth on me. And yes, she could hurt me if she liked, as I saw her bad side sometimes. She just didn't do a thing to me, or leave my side, even though usually she'd make it obvious if she didn't like what I do to her.)

4 Answers 4


There has been some basic scientific inquiry into this area (http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20151015-your-cat-can-pick-up-on-how-you-are-feeling) but there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that yes they do. In my own experience (and that of every cat-serving friend I've known) they display markedly different behavior when their human is unwell or noticeably upset.

Both my two get much more "snuggly" when I'm unwell, often wanting to be near me much more than normal and will be display protective or guarding behaviors as .well

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    There are a lot of amazing stories our there about this. Cats and dogs are probably much more aware of their owners mood and health than people give them credit for. There are many cases of pets licking and biting off skin cancers and the like on their owners.
    – Beo
    Nov 2, 2017 at 0:15

My own personal experience says that they can feel and sense when humans they are attached to are in discomfort or distress.

My boy also sleeps by himself. He does like being petted and stroked but now we've learned when he does like it and when he doesn't care for it.

This one time I had a bad tummy infection and I was constantly throwing up. He stood by the bathroom door and wouldn't let anyone in. He would just swat them away or hiss at them. This included my wife.

When I came back to bed he slept by my side all day. He got up just to have water and a little food but at all other times he was right beside me.

They say cats don't show affection or are unemotional. My experience has been completely the opposite. They probably don't express it as much but they certainly do care.

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    Yeah i'm starting to agree with you, after i saw my cat's act. People really don't understand cats and see them as selfish and stone hearted when infact they arn't. Jun 23, 2017 at 22:32
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    I think cats often do express it as much. Humans just default to how dogs and people express things and often miss out on cat body language and signals.
    – ribs2spare
    Apr 27, 2022 at 13:44
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    @ribs2spare so true! Since their faces cannot, cats have a very different way of expressing affection. Most people can’t see this and think they are standoffish. Apr 27, 2022 at 15:34

Cats definitely can sense when we aren't feeling well. My girl is extremely affectionate anyway, but she takes it up to 11 when I'm sick. Over winter break, when we were staying at my parents' house, I got the stomach flu. She stayed laying across my chest with her paws near the side of my neck (essentially so she could give me a warning with her claws if I tried to get up). The only point where she left the room was when I called for my mom and my mom didn't hear me. My cat then sprinted out of the room and bit my mom's ankles until she would follow her back to my room.


My male Himalayan cat is very independent, but he tolerates my hugs and has become more affectionate with with age. He splits his sleeping time between my bed and my walk-in closet. Yesterday, I had a monster headache almost all day and barely got up to do anything other than to feed him and clean up his litter box. As soon as he woke up in the morning and saw me, he immediately jumped up on my bed and stayed with me until I felt better. He snuggled up to me and when I switched sides, he immediately relocated in that direction. He looked up at me constantly and I could really see the concern in his little face. I rarely feel unwell, so it was very easy to notice the change in his demeanor. And I should say that being 16 1/2 years old, he has his own aches and pains, which he put aside for my benefit. He is my first and only pet, and I cannot imagine ever being able to replace him or having this much of a close bond with another animal.

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