Why Do They? Heat-Seeking Kitties

Your cat has good reasons for craving his fun in the sun.

Like tiny kittens seek out their mamas, cats find warm spots every chance they get. This is the first sensory indulgence cats develop, and they don't ever seem to lose it, saysJohn C. Wright, Ph.D., a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Professor of Psychology at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

"For the newborn, the source of something warm and soft is Mom's belly, which also is where the kitten finds nourishment and a cuddly place to snooze," Dr. Wright says. Warmth has beneficial physical effects, too, as it helps soothe older cats' aches. Cats with arthritis love to curl up on soft blankets or snuggle with their owners.

Some experts also say cats love hot spots because they were originally desert animals. It's an instinct of their ancestors.

Some Like it Hot

Some cats will do anything for the heat they crave. Muffin, a female Tortoiseshell, liked to lie on a gas space-heater. "We couldn't let her lie there because it was dangerous," says owner Audrey Pavia of Santa Ana, California. Pavia's other cat, Simba, used to lie on a window perch even in the summer. "She was so 'drunk' from the heat that she staggered a few steps and then sat down before she started moving again," Pavia says.

If you're looking for ways to warm your kitty, you might consider buying or building a window perch. Cats love a cozy chair or bed, too, provided there is ample sunlight. Heating pads are not recommended.

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