Why Does My Cat Only Cuddle at Night?

Most cat owners can attest to their cat’s affection, regardless of a cat’s reputation to give the cold shoulder. But for some cat owners, their cats avoid cuddling and physical touch all together. Although cats are complex creatures who often do things for unexplainable reasons, there may be a few reasons why cats look for cuddles from their owners only at night. 

So why does my cat only cuddle at night? The most likely reason is your cat feels safe and comfortable with you at night, or it could be their way of expressing their affection after a long day away from you.

In this article, we’ll discuss a variety of reasons why your cat only cuddles with you at night, and a few ways you can help your cat be more susceptible to cuddles during the day. 

Safe and Secure 

Two cats cuddling
Two cats cuddling | image by Georg Scholz via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Depending on your cat’s preference, they might show affection by cuddling with you, resting next to you, or rubbing up against your legs as you walk in the front door. But many cats avoid cuddling altogether; until it gets dark outside. If nighttime arrives and you find that your cat likes to make their way towards you for cuddles, it could be for a variety of reasons.

Here are 6 reasons why your cat might cuddle with you at night:

1. Your cat may feel secure near you because of the simple fact that there is safety in numbers. Like cats in the wild, nighttime can bring about many uncertainties and obstacles, and if they can’t see as well it gives them security knowing they are not facing it alone. They see you as a member of their pack and they feel safer when they are near you.

2. Another way your cat may feel more secure and comfortable with you at night is because your body emits the heat they need. Cats have an internal body temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit and to maintain that temperature for maximum comfort, they use your body as the heat source. Keeping their body temperature up on their own can be hard work, especially in the winter; so don’t be surprised to find your cat cuddling more often when the nights are cold or the air conditioning is blasting in the summer.  

3. If you notice that your cat is cuddling with you at night when you go to bed, it could be because your bed is comfortable. Like you, cats like the comfort of warm, smooth sheets and fluffy pillows. Can you blame them for wanting to lay next to you while you lay on the most comfortable spot in the house?

4. You’re the one who feeds them. Because you have established this bond of feeding them, they trust that you are going to protect them while they sleep. When it’s time to sleep or cuddle at night, they want to make sure they’re resting with someone they can trust.

5. Your cat feels comforted by your smell or sounds. Many are unaware of the capabilities of their cat’s nose. A cat’s nose is much more sensitive to smells than ours are. The cat might enjoy your smell, or they might enjoy the smell of their pheromones they have rubbed on you. Another comfort to them might simply be the sound of your voice or your breathing. Hearing sounds that are constant or familiar to your cat are often reasons why they choose to move close to you to sleep; the familiarity brings them peace and comfort.

6. Your cat believes that you’re resting in their territory. Cats are extremely territorial creatures and often claim parts of the home, or the entire home, as their own. With this personality trait in mind, it is easy to conclude that your cat may choose to only cuddle with you at night because you are residing in their territory.

Affectionate Animals

Another simple reason your cat could be cuddling with you at night is that they missed you while you were gone all day and want to show you that they are happy you’re home.

Although this is more expected from dogs, cats also like to show their owners love and affection in the form of cuddles. After waiting all day alone, they revel at the opportunity to engage in human affection, just like any other animal who loves their owner. 

Many first-time cat owners mistake a lack of cuddling as a sign that their cat does not like them, however, there are many more ways cats express affection. Here are some of the ways cats show affection to their humans besides cuddling: 

  • Purring and Meowing
  • Showing you their belly
  • Head Nudges
  • Slow Eye Blinks

Encouraging Cat Cuddles

Two kittens cuddling
Two kittens cuddling | image by Eli Duke via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the greatest things about being a cat owner is the fact that cats are extremely easy to take care of. They’re low maintenance and don’t require a lot of attention. But as humans, sometimes we crave affection from our furry friends, and they don’t always receive the love we give with open arms.

As cat owners it is important to first understand why cats are the way they are, and which cats we might choose that would be more susceptible than others to our cuddles.

Starting Affection Early

When we first bring a kitten home, their temperament and personality are largely determined by the socialization, love, and affection it is given in its early weeks of life. The same goes for their likelihood to cuddle.

The more positive correlations your kitten has with cuddling, the more likely your cat will want to cuddle as an adult. However, it is very possible that you adopted an older cat, and in that case, you didn’t have any say over how the cat was treated or raised as a kitten.

In this case, it’s important to understand that your cat is more than likely past the window of socialization and is less likely to gain a new temperament or opinion about cuddling.

Choosing the Cuddling Breed

Much like dogs, cats are more likely, or less likely to cuddle based upon their breed. If you want to adopt a cat that is more likely to cuddle, make sure you do some research before your kitten adoption to find a breed that fits that mold. While this does not guarantee you will adopt a cuddly kitten, it will give you better odds of finding a cat mate with those characteristics. 

Make Cuddling a Positive Experience

We all love when our cats show us affection, especially when it is a rare occurrence. Cuddle time is a wonderful way to show your cat that you love him or her, but it’s important to understand what makes that experience positive, and what makes it negative.

The more positive experiences the cat has during cuddles with you, the more likely they will be to engage in cuddling with you again. Here are some excellent tips to follow to encourage your feline to engage in more cuddle time:

  • Support your cat or kitten at all times when you are picking them up or holding them in your lap
  • Avoid squeezing your cat or applying unnecessary pressure
  • Release your cat at the first sign of struggle
  • Avoid loud noises that might scare your cat while you’re engaging in cuddles
  • Praise your cat when they cuddle – give them treats

Accept Them As They Are

Although it might be a hard pill to swallow, your cat may never come around to day time cuddles, and that is something as pet owners that we have to accept. Even if you do everything right, and you give your kitten a lot of love from the beginning, there is no guarantee that they will love cuddles as an adult cat.

Does it mean they don’t love you? Absolutely not. It simply means that your cat prefers to show their affection in a different way. However, if you would like to encourage cuddles when they come, it’s important to try and make them a positive experience so that they continue for many years to come.


Cats lovers from every corner of the world can attest to the strong bond they hold with their cat. Even though cats show affection on their terms, we must support cats and give them back affection in a way that makes them feel comfortable and secure. Whether your cat gives you day time cuddles or night time cuddles, you can be confident knowing that your cat is cuddling with you because they feel safe when you’re near.