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I have 2 cats, who enjoy sleeping on the bed with my wife and me, but during the night we notice that they both start at the foot of the bed, and creep up, leapfrogging each other to be higher up and closer to our heads. This occasionally erupts into fights, over what I can only assume is their position on the bed.

My question is, is this normal behavior? Is one cat trying to assert dominance over the other one by their position on the bed?

Background on the cats: Male(neutered) 1.5 years old, female(spayed) 6-7 months old. Get along seemingly okay except for some altercations (see this question).

  • Are you sure this is not an issue of dominance? – user34 Oct 16 '13 at 11:46
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    I'm not ruling out dominance, but I'm not sure why being higher up on the bed would be a indicator of who is dominant. It happens every night, and I would assume that by this point in their living together they had sorted who is dominant and wouldn't fight over who gets to try to smother me in my sleep. – Dennis Graves Oct 16 '13 at 15:57
  • do they only display this behavior in the bed? Do they only do it when you are in bed? – n00b Dec 17 '13 at 22:18
  • They only fight when my wife and I are sleeping in the bed. Never any other time. They don't fight over the chairs, or any other furniture, just the bed when we are in it. – Dennis Graves Jan 2 '14 at 14:34
  • I fight with my cat to sleep further up on the bed ! – Cedric H. Jan 16 '14 at 10:56
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This is pretty typical in my experience. I have 2 cats and the older one is very jealous (I call him "Jealous Jack"). If the younger cat (Henry) is laying next to me, Jack will actually try to squeeze between us or annoy(biting, licking) Henry until Henry moves. I don't allow Jack to be a bully and usually just wrangle him into my opposite side and give him lots of pets.

So, the short answer, yes this is totally normal behavior. Science says that your head area is warmer than your feet which is why they want to move up further on the bed.

My advice to stop their fighting is to hold them separately on the bed and give them lots of pets and that should encourage both to be on the bed at the same time in their own spaces and not fight.

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