Why Do Cats Like to be Near You?

Caitlin Dempsey


An orange tabby cat playing at the feet of a person with white sneakers. A black and white cat is lying next to the sneakers.

Felines have a reputation as being independent animals but most socialized domestic cats will actively seek out companionship.

Here are some of the reasons why your cat likes to be near you.

Your cat likes you

The biggest reason your cat seeks your company is simply because they like you. Cats need affection and a social connection from their owners. As their caregiver, cats will instinctively gravitate towards you.

Cats will often seek out their favorite human and sit on or near them.

Being near you makes your cat feel safe

As their caregiver, you are also viewed by your cat as their guardian. Stray and feral cats will often form colonies for food and protection. In the home, you are considered your cat’s colony.

An orange tabby cat playing at the feet of a person with white sneakers.  A black and white cat is lying next to the sneakers.
Cats like to hang out near their owners for companionship and security. Photo: Caitlin Dempsey.

Your cat is curious

Cats love to inspect new things and places. Your cat may hover around you when you are building furniture or doing something new simply because they are curious.

If you have a room that you keep closed, your cat will naturally try to open the door and enter the room anytime it’s open. We keep our office door shut most of the time and one of our cats beelines towards that room anytime the door is left open.

An orange tabby and a black cat hovering around a black box and a tan colored box.
Cats are very curious and will check out any unboxing that you do. Photo: Caitlin Dempsey.

Your cat wants something from you

Cats will also start hovering when they want something from you. You may notice your cat lurking around you when it gets close to their mealtimes. Owners often complain about their cats waking them up early in the morning seeking food.

A gray tabby cat sitting on a blue couch with a dark yellow pillow.
Cats will hover nearby when they want something from you. Photo: Caitlin Dempsey.

You’re not feeling well and your cat wants to comfort you

Some cats have an extraordinary sense of empathy and can be far from the aloof animals some people believe that they are. I had a white cat who wouldn’t leave the side of anybody or animal in our house that was sick.

Studies have shown that cats can recognize emotion and depression in humans. [1] Cats will use visual and audio cues to understand the emotional state of humans. [2]

Many cats will approach their owners when they sense they are upset or angry and provide comfort in their own cat way.

Cats can have a positive effect on the emotional wellbeing of pet owners. Various studies have concluded that cats can decrease the negative emotions and stress of their owners. [3] As well, research has found that cat ownership is linked to a positive effect on brain health in humans.

You’re a warm spot for your cat

Every year when the weather starts to turn colder, my cats start to seek out my lap a lot more often. Cats have a higher thermoneutral zone than humans and like the air temperature to be between 86-97 Fahrenheit.

When it starts to get colder, cats will seek out sources of warmth such as on top of radiators, in front of heaters, your lap, or on top of keyboards.

Your cat has separation anxiety

If you’ve been away on a trip or have been gone longer than you normally do, your cat may hover around you when you return. Cats can experience separation anxiety when their caregivers are away.


[1] Quaranta, A., d’Ingeo, S., Amoruso, R., & Siniscalchi, M. (2020). Emotion recognition in cats. Animals10(7), 1107. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071107

[2] Merola, I., Lazzaroni, M., Marshall-Pescini, S., & Prato-Previde, E. (2015). Social referencing and cat–human communication. Animal cognition18(3), 639-648. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-014-0832-2

[3] Turner, D. C., Rieger, G., & Gygax, L. (2003). Spouses and cats and their effects on human mood. Anthrozoös16(3), 213-228. https://doi.org/10.2752/089279303786992143


Allen, K., Blascovich, J., & Mendes, W. B. (2002). Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses: The truth about cats and dogs. Psychosomatic medicine64(5), 727-739.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey holds both a master's in Geography from UCLA and a Master of Library and Information Science. She is the editor of Geographyrealm.com and an avid researcher of geography and feline topics. A lifelong cat owner, Caitlin currently has three rescued cats: an orange tabby, a gray tabby, and a black cat.