Why does my cat hate my chest?
August 16, 2010 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Odd cat behavior question. Can anyone explain to me exactly why one of our cats will simply NOT climb up on me in the bed? Even though she's all over my girlfriend.. it has both of us perplexed. There will be all sorts of background information inside.

Ok, so here's the deal. We have three cats. Two black / white (who are sisters) and a male Tabby. The two black / white were owned by my girlfriend about five months or so before we met so I was definitely a 'new thing' for them. The tabby we picked up together from a rescue shelter. (The cats are about four years old now and my gf and I have been together for 3 1/2 living together for about 3)

All of the cats are affectionate. Specifically, 'Blizit' (the one I'm referring to) is ALL over me on any given day. She's rubbing up on my leg, hanging out with me on the couch while I'm gaming, sitting behind my laptop rubbing her face against it, letting me scratch her, pet her, etc. Basically just a great cat. In fact, my girlfriend has taken to calling her my "princess kitty" because it seems like she's even closer to me than she is her a lot of the time.

Now - enter our bedroom.. We can be lying down together and the cat has NO issues with hopping right up on top of her. But she will NOT climb up on me - period. I know its not the blanket texture as she's all over the blanket when I'm not under it. If I'm laying in bed alone reading or whatever the cat will come in, lay next to me.. or at my feet, but she just will NOT climb on me. I mean, we've tried luring her with treats.. I've tried picking her up and placing her there (she BOLTS about .3 seconds later)

So, yeah, its honestly just a major curiosity on both our parts as to what might be going on in her little kitty head that says 'that is not the place you want to be' yet she seems ridiculously affectionate to me at any other time.

(We've thought it might be the soap I use or something so I've actually switched as a form of experimentation.. no go)

I realize this is a pretty odd Ask.MeFi question - but, yeah, its had us confounded for a while, so I turn to you, hive mind :)
posted by darknemus to Pets & Animals (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Cats are weird.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:15 AM on August 16, 2010 [11 favorites]

Did something happen once to scare her while she was sitting on your chest? Cats remember and avoid weird little things like that. Maybe she tried to climb up once just as you were getting up to answer the phone or something, and it startled her so she decided never to try again.
posted by flex at 7:19 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Definitely, cats are just weird. Our cat has a number of weird routines that he will do only with me specifically or my boyfriend specifically. He will sit only on my boyfriend's lap, but he will give biscuits to only me.

Also, where's the obligatory cat photo?
posted by dayintoday at 7:23 AM on August 16, 2010

Response by poster: @flex - I honestly don't think so. As far as we can recall, she has ALWAYS had an aversion to it. What's so weird is that, outside of that, this cat is pretty much my familiar.. she's with me anywhere in the house I go, trilling constantly when I'm giving her attention - she rocks as far as cats go (and I'm a dog person) - actually, all three of our cats rock.
posted by darknemus at 7:23 AM on August 16, 2010

She's probably associating something she witnessed happening on the bed with you and that pretty much set her off being in that energy field. Pretty elementary stuff.
posted by watercarrier at 7:24 AM on August 16, 2010

I think the answer is most likely what roomthreeseventeen said.

Are you a more toss-and-turny sleeper than your girlfriend? It's possible she tried to lay on you in your sleep and you turned over and squashed her. Or maybe your girlfriend makes a softer cushion.
posted by something something at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

Have you tried switching sides of the bed with your girlfriend? My Ginger tabby used to always sleep at my feet and since he is not so affectionate normally I thought I was his favorite--but it turns out he just prefers that side of the bed. Terrible blow to my ego.

And, of course, cats are weird.
posted by misha at 7:38 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cats are weird. They also grow into and out of things - our one cat was never, ever a lap cat til suddenly one day she was like, I AM NOW A LAP CAT. I SHALL SIT HERE.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:43 AM on August 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

I wonder if your heart beat is a lot louder than your gf's. Is it possible the cat just doesn't like the thumping?

My cat only curls up on me in bed, not my bf, but that's because he's using fake affection to wake me up for food time.
posted by parkerjackson at 7:56 AM on August 16, 2010

Our big Maine Coon will not sit on anybody's lap, ever. Very, very occasionally he will sit beside me on the arm of the couch and let me pet him, always maintaining a certain safe distance lest I snatch him up and try to give him some love, which he hates. (The love, it burnses us!)

However, any time my husband and I are lying down on our bed, he can't get himself up on the bed and on top of one of us fast enough. Right on the chest, practically nose to nose. He prefers my husband but will avail himself of me if for some reason the hubs pushes him off.

We have no idea why he should abhor physical contact when we are in a sitting position but suddenly turns all friendly when we lie down. Cats are indeed weird.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:56 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cats like doing different things with different humans. And for some reason, the lying experience is more pleasant for it on your girlfriend than on you. Maybe her shape makes it easier to nestle on her, or she is less jittery than you? In the end, however, the cat decided at some point that it is more pleasant to lie next to you or on your girlfriend than on you, and never found the time to change her mind.

Our big cat likes to sleep on my husband but not on me because he is simply bigger: more space for the cat without drooping off one end.
The small cat likes to sit on me but not my husband, because I'm more patient with her wriggling around on me. We had a key bonding lap moment when said cat was still a kitten, and it's stuck in its brain.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:00 AM on August 16, 2010

Answer to all "Why is my cat doing this weird thing?" question is: CATS ARE WEIRD. It's rarely more complicated than that.
posted by contessa at 8:12 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

My cat refuses to sit anywhere near Mr MM during the day. WILL NOT HAVE IT. At night, Mrs MM is the bee's knees. The reverse is true for the way the cat wants to sit on/near me.

However, when I'm away, the cat will sit on Mrs MM willingly. When Mrs MM is away the cat will insist on sitting next to my head.

In summary: it's likely nothing. If cats were predictable they'd be dogs. Even if it is nothing you can find out if it's immutable by seeing what happens when your girlfriend goes away.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:17 AM on August 16, 2010

You are too lumpy, or you breathe too deeply, or your breath smells kind of bad, or you smell kind of bad, or cats are weird.
posted by Some1 at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2010

Considering the vulnerability imposed by the bedroom environment (we lie down, sleep there, etc.), it's possible that your cat is being dominant and laying claim to your gf. Or that she's protecting you from your gf. Or, like other people said, that cats are weird.
posted by analog at 8:46 AM on August 16, 2010

I haven't got a clue why, but same story with me/my cat/wife.
They are indeed weird.
Cats that is.
posted by Thug at 9:23 AM on August 16, 2010

Actually, so far in this thread, the only explanation is that YOUR cat is weird.

However, your post could describe one of our cats exact behavior with me and my boyfriend -- not just the bed stuff (his chest, not mine), but the pays more attention to me outside of the bedroom and follows me around, etc.

So, yes, (at least two) cats are weird.

In our case, it has to do with a certain dominance thing because it seems like the less he wants her to do it, the more insistent she becomes trying to do it. In fact, the worst thing he can possibly do is roll a cigarette or try to knit or anything that she would be in the way. (For me, it's jumping on the monitor and putting her tail in front of teh screen when I try to write, or when I'm on my laptop, trying to also sit on my lap.)

So my only recommendation is that if your girlfriend wants the cat on her chest less, that might be why it's happening.

Because cats are weird.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:26 AM on August 16, 2010

Maybe you smell weird to her? One of my cats has an extremely sensitive nose, and won't come near me when I wear certain lotions or scented products. I see you thought about the soap, but maybe it's your natural smell she doesn't like?

Also, cats bond differently with different people. One of my cats likes me best, and will only sleep snuggled up with me, the other cat prefers my boyfriend and only sleeps with me when he is out of town for an extended period.

Metafilter: cats are weird.
posted by apricot at 4:22 PM on August 16, 2010

This is going to sound weird, but maybe your girlfriend is a better mattress? Beyond breasts (which they'd be attracted to since their mom nurtured them that way), my cats seem to instinctively go to the mushiest parts of me to knead . . . my husband and I are both rather 'fluffy' but my stomach is very knead-able where my husband's is hard and rounded.

Or, y'know . . . cats are weird. ;o)
posted by MeiraV at 4:26 PM on August 16, 2010

I was going to say that you might not be "soft enough" to be a good bed.
posted by saradarlin at 9:49 PM on August 16, 2010

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