Why Cats Like You Better Than Car Hoods

By Bill Hall

I finally figured out why cats like to sleep on me. (Which is a lot better than trying to figure out why they keep trying to bury me.)

They like to sleep on me and probably on you because we are a lot like the hood of a car. We are warm.

In fact, cats prefer us to cars when it comes to stretching out and catching a few winks because, if all goes well, we stay warm.

Not so a car. You see cats sleeping on the hood of a car mostly for an hour or so after a car has been driven. The cat stays only until the engine cools off.

The odd thing is that cats like warmth as well as they do. They will sometimes snooze out in the hot sun. That's surprising because they have their coats on. And when a cat has its coat on, it really has its coat on. A cat wears its coat, not just on its back and arms and stomach, the way you do. A cat wears its coat on its face as well. A cat wears its coat on it ears.

In fact, about the only place a cat doesn't wear its coat is on its eyeballs and on the soles of its feet. A cat wears its coat on the tops of its feet, but not on the bottoms. Thus a cat, though covered all over its face and upper feet with a coat, is barefoot. If you did that, you'd be committed.

But maybe that explains why cats, who wear a coat all over themselves, still seek warmth in weather that causes you to take your coat off. It takes a pretty warm coat to keep you comfy if you run around in all kinds of weather barefoot.

That's why cats crawl up on the hood of your car the moment you get home. That's why they sleep on the heat vent, blocking all the warmth in the room for everybody else.

That's why they like to sleep on your stomach or your chest. It's because you're pretty hot stuff and their feet are cold.

Most of all, you're reliable, unlike a car or a pickup. I don't suppose it's the greatest compliment in the world to have another creature prefer you to a vehicle, but it's a start. And sometimes a surprise. After all, there are a lot of people in this world who prefer their cars to their spouse and kids. So it's a comfort to have one creature that prefers you and your warmth to some jerk's favorite heap out in the driveway.

And bearing in mind that cats are lazy, it also amounts to a vote of confidence in your health. A cat doesn't like to move around a lot when it naps. It likes to crawl off somewhere and stay put for the 12 or 14 hours it takes a cat to regain its energy after doing next to nothing all day.

Its decision to sleep on you amounts to its estimate that you're probably going to live a few more hours. The cat is saying that it can flop down on you without having to move without the distraction of a lot of death rattles and thrashing about.

There is also a lesson in this for hysterics who fear that a cat who sleeps on a baby is trying suck the baby's breath. In the first place, how does a cat do that? Its mouth doesn't even match the baby's little kisser. It isn't shaped right. It's hairy. It wouldn't be an airtight fit. A cat that depended on a baby's breath for its air supply would expire in no time.

And why would a cat want to get its air by sucking a baby's face when it can breathe in the clean, fresh, unused air all about it? In fact, a cat that actually did try to suck the air out of a baby would probably be trying to commit suicide because a baby exhales carbon dioxide, not oxygen.

Actually, cats try to sleep on babies for the same reason they try to sleep on me and not because we're both bald and cute. Cats sleep on babies because babies are warm and more likely than anybody to stay that way for years.


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