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Why Does My Cat Sleep In The Doorway? 10 Potential Reasons

Why Does My Cat Sleep In The Doorway? 10 Potential Reasons

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One of many strange cat behaviors is sleeping in the doorway. If your cat belongs to the community of doorway-sleepers, it’s natural you’re wondering Why does my cat sleep in the doorway – that’s kind of… unusual?!

There are several reasons why a cat might be sleeping in the doorway; they like knowing everything that is happening in the house, they may be guarding their territory, their instinct may be telling them to be alert, or perhaps they simply know that’s a way to get your attention and they’re hoping to run into you!

Your cat sleeping in the doorway can be an instinctive behavior or a premeditated one (such as with the goal of you running into them and maybe cuddling them for a bit!). However, the reasons can also be a bit funny and even… unexplainable (as you’ll see).

Why Does My Cat Sleep In The Doorway?

tabby cat sleeping in the doorway

Cats really are strange little creatures. I have been fostering cats for years now, and just when I think I’ve seen it all, a new cat arrives and starts exhibiting cat behaviors that I’ve never seen before. My latest indoor cat, Dolly, does one very peculiar thing – she absolutely loves having naps in doorways!

I first thought that it’s just something that Dolly would do until she learned more about her new home. I was wrong! She is still doing it months after I first welcomed her to my home. I was very intrigued by this strange little characteristic of hers, so I decided to look into it some more.

Now I know Dolly’s reason for sleeping in the doorways is not just a way to adjust to a new environment, and I have found 11 other potential reasons that could explain my dear kitty’s behavior, and of course – your kitty’s behavior. I think I found the answer for my cat (I’ll reveal it at the end), and I hope you will find an explanation that applies to your cat as well!

10 Reasons: Explained

orange cat sleeping in the doorway

Let’s investigate the most probable reasons for a cat choosing to sleep in the doorway!

1. Your Own Personal Home Surveillance Machine… Fell Asleep

Some cats might be extra curious about everything that’s happening in the household – who, where, and why! Sometimes they just want to find someone to play with.

So naturally, where do you go if you want a view into multiple rooms at the same time – a doorway of course, that is where the action is! From the doorway, a cat can see at least two different rooms and what’s going on inside them!

Well, perhaps the surveillance was a hard and tiring task for the day, and kitty fell asleep right there in the doorway! Don’t mind them, it’s just a quick catnap and they will soon get back to being a playful troublemaker real soon!

I find this to be really interesting; other cats simply do not care at all what’s happening inside the house. 100 different things could be going on, and you still might find a cat scratching their cat tree scratching posts!

2. It’s All About Instinct

As you might already know, every domestic cat’s ancestor is a wild cat. The domestication of the wild cat was successful a long time ago, but the cats we now own still have their wild-cat instincts within them! Why does this matter?

Well, some cats might always be on a look-out for potential escape routes! Considering survival is the most important thing, escaping from potential predators is vital! Being in the doorway is a much better position than being crammed in a corner, for example.

Of course, in your home, there are no real dangers or predators that your cat might encounter. This is simply a cat’s instinct and it’s completely natural behavior for them!

3. Guarding Their Territory

Cats really like marking a territory and making it their own. Of course this entails certain responsibilities – a cat has to guard that territory too!

Perhaps your cat has decided a particular doorway is the spot that needs the heaviest guarding (for whatever reason). If the guarding duty becomes a bit tiring, a quick nap is surely going to help regain the energy to get them through the rest of the day.

This might be a bit strange, but remember that cats are very territorial. Some cats decide the litter box is a territory that needs guarding, and some might decide that to be… the doorway!

They also mark their owners as their territory too! When your cat brushes against your leg, they’re also leaving their scent on you, efficiently marking you as their own?

Also Read: 11 Foolproof Signs Your Cat Has Imprinted On You

4. For Whatever Reason, They Like That Spot

A cat might be sleeping in the doorway simply because they like that spot. Why would a cat like a doorway to be their favorite place for sleeping? I absolutely have no idea.

Maybe a cat likes that spot because it’s not close to the window so there’s no cool air, or because there’s no direct sunlight making the spot warm, so the doorway is the perfect temperature for their liking.

The reason your cat likes to sleep in the doorway might simply remain a mystery!

Suggested Read: Why Does My Cat Sit Outside My Bedroom Door? Adorable Or Not?

5. Well – Because They Can!

Does your cat carefully pick where they’re going to sleep? Cats that I’ve owned never really cared about where they’re going to sleep. My cats could be found sleeping anywhere in the house!

A cat might end up falling asleep in the doorway just because they can – they dont have a specific sleeping place preference and at that moment, the doorway seemed like a good sleeping-spot option!

Most cats absolutely don’t mind flat, hard surfaces to sleep on (such as the floor), so the doorway is not such an unreasonable option (even if it may seem a bit strange to us)!

Also Read: Why Do Cats Sleep In A Ball? The Mystery Is Solved

6. Maybe The View Is Fabulous

A potential explanation to your cat falling asleep in the doorway is that they simply like sitting or laying there and they accidentally fall asleep.

If the view from the doorway is something a cat likes, they will come there often. Now, what kind of view could a cat possibly like seeing from the doorway?

Maybe the doorway is a border between a room with their favorite cat tree and a kitchen (we all know cats like their food). A cat might like to have both of their favorite rooms in their sight!

7. They Want Your Attention

Does your cat know you’re likely to pick them up and put them in your bed to sleep (and snuggle)? If your cat is sure that this is going to happen, they might be sleeping in the doorway as a strategic maneuver!

If a cat knows falling asleep in the doorway is a good way to eventually end up with you in your bed or on the sofa, they just might be doing it on purpose!

Cats are smart (and often sneaky) creatures and they know exactly what to do to get our attention!

Also Read: My Cat Wont Leave Me Alone – 10 Causes And 10 Solutions

8. They Miss You

This is a very sweet reason – your cat simply wants to be closer to you because they miss you. For example, if your cat is not allowed in the room you’re in (maybe you don’t want your cat shedding in your bedroom), they might resort to at least sleeping in the doorway of the room you’re in!

In this case, a cat might sleep in your bedroom doorway each night and make it their special sleeping-spot! They might not be right next to you, but you’re close enough to make them feel secure.

I find this pretty cute, and it also means your cat respects the boundaries you set (for example, if a cat knows they should not go into a specific room).

9. Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a condition where a cat experiences anxiety symptoms when they’re not with their owner. These cats hate being away from their owners and it causes them a great deal of stress. A cat whose owner is away might even refuse to eat and drink until they come back.

In this case, there is a chance that the cat sleeps in the doorway of the room their owner is in as a way to be close to them.

This is comforting behavior for the cat, but separation anxiety is something that is not healthy for the cat (or the owner) and needs to be taken care of if possible.

Suggested Read: My Cat Is Obsessed With Me: Signs, Reasons & Solutions

10. It Cannot Be Explained

I know this is a strange statement but let me explain! There is no way of knowing exactly why cats do everything they do. They can’t talk (unfortunately), so we can’t ask them.

There is one thing we can do, and that is ask ourselves – What is going on inside their head?

Sometimes, we might not have a direct answer to this question. It’s not like every cat’s behavior has to make sense to us humans! The reasons for a cat sleeping in the doorway can remain a complete mystery!

I personally find that to be part of the beauty of having a cat – these amazing little creatures have so many unexplainable habits and strange behaviors yet we sure love them greatly!

Is This Something To Worry About?

sleepy cat in the doorway

No, I would say there is absolutely nothing you need to worry about in this case!

The only reason for slight concern might be if your cat is sleeping in the doorway exclusively because they have separation anxiety and sleep there just so they can be at least partially in the room you’re in.

Separation anxiety is not healthy for a cat, and it can be frustrating for the owner too.

There is probably nothing to be worried about, and this most likely just one of your cat’s strange habits.

The only thing you might worry about is if your cat sleeping in the doorway causes you or other household members to trip over them! It might happen that the doorway your cat sleeps in is located somewhere where it’s not easy to see your cat sleeping on the floor, which can be a bit dangerous.

This is a potential concern because your cat, you or your household members can get hurt if someone trips over the cat.

In this case, I highly suggest you train your cat not to sleep there, to prevent anyone from getting hurt. How you can train your cat not to sleep in a doorway is explained below!

How Do You Stop A Cat From Sleeping In The Doorway?

cat sitting on a doormat

Some cat owners might decide they don’t want to do anything about their cats sleeping in the doorway as it does not bother them and it makes their kitties happy.

Others might decide to stop their cat from sleeping in the doorway because it isn’t safe for their kitties or creates a trip hazard for people in the home.

If you’re one of the owners who wants to discourage their cats from sleeping in the doorway, then there are 3 things I suggest you do.

1. Prevent Them Falling Asleep There In The First Place

One thing you can try in order to stop your cat from sleeping in the doorway is simply preventing them from falling asleep there in the first place. How do you do this?

Whenever you see your cat is getting sleepy and is moving towards their sleeping spot in the doorway, simply move them. Yes, just move your cat from the doorway and place them anywhere else – in their cat bed or on the couch with you.

Here, the goal is to prevent your cat from associating the doorway with their most comfortable sleeping place.

After some time, your cat will stop going to the doorway to sleep and you’ll be happy because you’ll no longer have to worry about tripping over them!

2. Place A Material A Cat Doesn’t Like

If you’ve followed the advice I gave above and it didn’t work, well, perhaps your kitty is a stubborn one! Fortunately, there are still other ways to discourage them from going to the doorway to sleep there.

You can place a material you know your cat doesn’t like in the doorway your cat sleeps in. Think about what type of material your cat doesn’t like. Is it maybe leather, silk, paper or even aluminum foil (many cats hate foil)?

If you put this material on your kitty’s sleeping spot and your cat goes over there to sleep and sees the material they hate, it’s possible they will simply go to another spot.

The goal here is to make your cat associate sleeping in the doorway with a material they hate, and hopefully that will make the doorway an extremely unattractive sleeping spot, which is exactly what you want! Cat beds are much more comfortable after all…

3. Use A Repelling Scent

So maybe your cat doesn’t have a material they dislike or they do, but the advice from above is simply not working (perhaps your cat simply moved the material out of their way!). Maybe your strong-willed cat’s habit can be broken using the following technique!

As you already know, a cat’s sense of smell is extremely sensitive. Cats are pretty picky when it comes to the scents they like and dislike. If you make sure the doorway smells of a scent your cat hates, they will not sleep there.

Hopefully, having the scent they hate at the spot they sleep is going to make the spot completely undesirable to them. And after a day or two, a cat might completely stop trying to go to the doorway to sleep because they will associate their sleeping-position with a nasty smell.

Scents cats hate, that you can try using, are:

🐾 The smell of essential oils – a drop of some type of essential oil at the doorway just might be enough to deter your cat.

🐾 The smell of citrus fruit (oranges or lemon for example) – leave some citrus peels at the doorway.

🐾 The smell of fresh rosemary, mint, lavender or thyme – just a tiny amount of dry herbs is enough as their smell is quite strong and a small amount will go a long way.


calico cat sleeping in the doorway

Why Does My Cat Sleep In Random Places On The Floor?

If you have noticed your cat sleeping in random places on the floor, it might be that your kitty is simply acting according to their natural instincts. Wild cats (the ancestors of today’s domestic cat) always have to worry about potential threats in their environment.

One way to protect themselves is to never sleep in one spot for too long, as this makes them an easy catch to a predator as it knows where to find them.

By frequently changing sleeping spots, cats are trying to ensure their safety. You might also see mother cats change the sleeping position of her kittens for the same reason!

Why Does My Cat Sit Outside My Bedroom Door And Meow?

There are 4 most probable causes of your cat’s behavior.

🐾 A female cat is vocalizing (some might even say yowling) because they’re in heat.

Female cats are famously excessively vocal when they’re in heat, as well as constantly trying to go outside (or quickly bolt through the front door in order to try to find a male cat). Maybe this is your cat’s way of saying: hey, please let me outside!

If you don’t want a litter of kittens in your house, I highly suggest spaying your female cat and keeping a closed door!

🐾 A cat is trying to tell you something.

Cats are also vocal when they’re trying to communicate to you. You just need to figure out what they need… Food? Water? Are they in pain?

Are they warning you about something?

🐾 A cat is simply bored

A bored cat is meowing in an attempt to get your attention (and affection!). Meowing will surely capture your attention, as it probably already did in the past (all cat lovers are guilty of this!).

Why Does My Cat Sit In The Doorway And Stare At Me?

If your cat stares at you, it can mean several things. The most probable reason is that your kitty is simply bored and is trying to get your attention! Staring is also said to be a sign of affection that cats show towards humans, and I find this adorable. So don’t worry, everything is perfectly fine – your cat just wants to play or cuddle!

Final Thoughts

If your cat has just started, for whatever reason, sleeping in the doorway, or has been doing it for some time now, a question must have crossed your mind: why does my cat sleep in the doorway?!

It’s a valid question! Cats don’t usually sleep in doorways, as they might not be the most comfortable sleeping-spots. Then again, some cats enjoy sleeping in strange places – my friend’s cat sleeps exclusively on one of the dining room chairs!

When it comes to a cat sleeping in the doorway, the most common reason is because they like having a nice wide view of the area they’re in (their instinct is always to look for escape routes). They also might be guarding their territory in that way, or are simply trying to get your attention – if they lie there long enough, you are bound to run into them!

Some cat owners don’t mind their cats sleeping in the doorway and safely manage to avoid tripping over them. But others want to avoid the risk of tripping over them, potentially hurting the cat and themselves.

There are ways to prevent a cat from sleeping in the doorway, such as making the spot unappealing by placing a material or a scent a cat hates there, or consistently moving the sleepy cat as they approach their doorway sleeping spot.

Whatever you choose, I’m sure you and your furry friend will continue being safe and happy!

At the beginning, I said I would reveal the reason why my kitty Dolly typically falls asleep in the doorway. It turns out she just wants my attention! She knows that I will pick her up as soon as I see her sleeping in the doorway. I am afraid that someone might trip over her, so I always pick her up and let her sleep close to me! Sneaky, right?

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