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Why Do Cats Like Warm Things So Much? 6 Interesting Reasons

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Why Do Cats Like Warm Things So Much? 6 Interesting Reasons

You may have seen your cat cuddling with things like air vents or heaters. This may pique your interest, causing you to wonder why they like warm stuff so much.

The answer is complicated, as cats love warm places for a multitude of reasons. In fact, they are notorious for loving warm things, including you, which is why they may cuddle you and force you to keep still for them to sleep! Your cat may also be seen lying in the light of a sunbeam on the floor. For more clarity on this behavior, we researched and found out exactly why cats love warm things.


The 6 Reasons Why Cats Like Warm Things So Much

1. Instinct

The domesticated cat is a descendant of wild desert cats from Egypt in the Neolithic and Classical periods. If you know anything about life in the desert, you know that the desert temperatures are high during the day and very cold at night.

Like their Egyptian ancestors, domesticated cats are wired to seek warmth. They are made to thrive in heat, so they seek warm things such as sunbeams or warm air vents. Warmth also seems to give them a sense of security, like their ancestors in the desert. For those in the desert, warmth equals safety.

mother cat and its kittens
Image Credit: Esin Deniz, Shutterstock

2. Socialization

While you may think you are just a source of warmth to your cat, their instincts run much deeper than that.

Kittens cannot regulate their body heat for the first few weeks of their life. So, they tend to cuddle up together to share body heat and survive. This instinct runs deep in the domesticated cat’s bloodline, as they can live in groups, and sharing body heat can help them survive cold environments or seasons.

Cats that are strays can stay in groups to help them survive, cuddling up to each other. So, your cat cuddling you is more than just supplying them with warmth. It means they care about you and see it as a comforting experience.

3. Cold

Cats can have more complicated reasons for lying in warm places, but it could simply be because they’re cold. Cats seek warmth, just like any animal, when they are cold. This can cause you to find them in odd places, such as next to heaters or on top of vents. You do have to be careful, however. When cats are near warm sources, such as heaters, their fur can cause them to get too hot without realizing it. This can cause all sorts of health problems, such as heatstroke.

The best way to keep your cat sufficiently warm without hurting them is to get a heated pet bed. A good pet bed will be able to regulate itself or be a low enough voltage to ensure your furry friend doesn’t get hurt.

cat winter-pixabay
Image Credit: rihaij, Pixabay

4. Illness

Sometimes, the fact that cats search for warmth is natural and just part of their instincts. However, if your cat is acting strange and tends to lie around more than usual, they could be sick. Many illnesses in cats cause them to sleep and rest more, the same thing that happens with humans or any other creature. This allows them to use their energy to heal rather than move around. Your cat may simply prefer warm things because they are sick.

If your cat is acting strange or showing other signs, it may be time for a vet visit. Things like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and other concerning signs can point toward your cat being sick. You likely don’t need to worry if you see them lying down somewhere warm like usual, but you should worry if other signs occur and they seem more tired than normal.

5. Getting Older

Cats get old—that’s just a fact of life. Like humans, they tend to spend more time lying around and not wasting precious energy when they get old. Most cats get calmer and cuddly when they get older, making them seek out warm places more often. These warm places include your legs, so if you notice your cat becoming cuddlier, it could simply mean they’re growing older and less energetic, with nothing to worry about.

Closeup portrait of old calico cat lying down by kitchen on tiled floor in home
Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

6. Habit

Your pet cat could honestly just be used to sitting in a certain spot, and it could simply be warm. Cats tend to stick to their schedules and habits, and while it could have started as just a warm spot to sit, it could now be considered one of the spots that they love to sit in. Like humans, cats crave familiarity and can be seen doing their same rituals and schedules.

cat paw divider


Cats love warm places for many reasons, from being sick to just loving their owner. If you get anything out of this, just remember that your cat cuddling up to a heater or something similar can be dangerous. Their coat is insulated, which can cause them to get too hot, and this can cause health issues.

Cats are notorious for sitting in warm places; just watch out to ensure they aren’t getting too hot or sick. It may be time for a vet visit if you notice your cat acting off and lounging more often than usual.

Featured Image Credit: KAVOWO, Pixabay

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