“If I fits, I sits” is a common saying in cat circles—and it’s a phrase that’s easy to understand! Cat parents know that their feline friends love nothing more than to find a comfy spot to curl up and take a snooze. But, why do cats often want to sit on your shoulder? This post will show you likely causes and what you can do about them.

So, why does my cat sit on my shoulder? Likely reasons why your cat sits on your shoulders are that you are warm, it feels safer, separation anxiety, or that it likes the attention.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your cat sits on your shoulders and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your cat sits on your shoulder

Below are likely causes and what would make each of them more likely.

You are warm

The reason might be that your cat finds it comfortable to sit on your shoulder. This would be more likely if your cat sits on your shoulder regardless of where you sit or lie down and your cat does not seem to be doing it to get attention from you.

It feels safer

Another possible cause is that sitting on your shoulders makes your cat feel safer. This would be more likely if your cat tends to do it more when other animals are around or when there is something else that might be causing it to feel anxious.

For attention

It could also be the case that your cat has been sitting on your shoulders in order to get extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it tends to do it when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.

It likes the spot you are in

It might also be the case that your cat has been doing it because it thinks that you are in its spot. This would be more likely if your cat sits on your shoulders when you sit in a specific spot and if your cat tends to sit there when you are not sat there.

Separation anxiety

The reason might be that your cat has some separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to get anxious. This would be more likely if it sits on you at around the same time that you would normally go out.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your cat has been doing it.

If your cat has always behaved that way

If your cat has not always sat on your shoulder, it would help to consider what else happened when your cat first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it started because something caused it to become anxious or because it learned that it is comfortable to sit on your shoulder.

What is different when your cat does not sit on your shoulder

Another thing to consider is if your cat jumps on your shoulder more at a certain time. If your cat does it more at a certain time, it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if your cat tends to climb on your shoulder before you have left home, the cause could be that it has some separation anxiety.

What to do about your cat sitting on your shoulder

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Give it another place to sit

One option would be to give your cat other places where it can sit. Perhaps you could try putting a cat bed down for it to sit in.

Redirect its focus

Another option would be to redirect its focus elsewhere when it seems likely to sit on your shoulder. Ways to redirect its focus could be to move it to a different spot or to give it a toy.

Avoid encouraging it

It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it does sit on your shoulder and to reward it when it sits where you want instead. Doing this should help to teach it that sitting on your shoulder is not rewarded.

Let it do it

If your cat does not seem to be doing it due to any issues, another option would be to simply let your cat continue doing it.

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.