Why do cats not understand personal space? Cats are self-centered, snob, illogic (at least according to humans), unreasonable, and uncaring about privacy and private spaces. Yet, they are the favorite pets of millions of people.

Cats do not understand personal space the same way humans do. Therefore, cats use to sleep together and be close to each other when they need warmth, affection, and attention. It is their way of showing affection. In addition, cats are inquisitive and have to get into everything.

Let’s see how cats invade human’s personal space and what we can do about it.

Why do cats not understand personal space


Cats are curious and intrusive by nature. If they see something moving, they have to see where it goes and what it is. If their humans open a box, they have to be all over it. If their owners come back from the grocery store with bags, they have to put their heads inside them and smell everything out.

On the other hand, cats walk (literally) over people, sleep on them, get in their heads, feet, working space, and into everything their humans do. Cats are both curious and in need of affection. But cats also consider the house as their territory. Everything belongs to them and not to humans.

In general, cats like to invade personal space for these reasons:

  • They are cats and thus curious pets
  • They want to have attention
  • They want to stay warm
  • They look for a safe and confy place
  • It is their territory after all

We should not judge cats based on human standards because they are not as developed socially as humans are. Cats are felines and are used to own a territory, mark it, and rule over it. Although they are socialized, they still keep a significant part of their innate instincts when living with humans.

Humans adopting a cat should know they will lose their right to property and privacy!


As felines, cats have been used to act in specific ways for centuries. For example, they like to mark their territory with their urine or scent and rub against objects. Even if domesticated into living indoors with humans, cats still mark the house with their scent.

They consider humans as part of their colony and might consider some parts of the house as neutral places where you or other pets are allowed ( in their opinion). But cats rub on humans also as a means of social bonding.

If your cat is coming to you rubbing, purring, and invading your space, it is also due to their desire to bond and show affection. However, cats “do not see” other people or pets’ space. They only see their territory.

Humans should not feel offended or annoyed that their cats are all over them. It is part of cats’ behavior. It is still possible to educate cats and train them to behave differently or follow directions, such as not getting into things or staying away from some regions of the house.

In addition, cats have an incredible hunting instinct; therefore, they will get into new things and stalk and follow any movement. Consequently, it is almost impossible to do anything in the house without your cat seeing what is going on.

Things such as cooking, cleaning, reading, making the bed, going to the bathroom, opening a cupboard, etc., are all things that cats love to get into.


Cats are famous for certain things they do to get into humans’ personal space. Here are the most common things cats do that annoy humans:


Cats follow humans to the bathroom, demanding entry. Once inside, they just watch what is happening in the best case. In the worst case, cats demand to sit on their owner’s lap while they are sitting on the toilet. Often they purr and want to get catches.

Some cats allow humans to hold them on their lap only when on the toilet. Cats seem totally uninterested in the private business of their owner but seem more concerned with getting attention.


Cats do not care about their weight. They think that walking on their owner while they sleep or in bed has no consequences. However, a 10 kg cat on someone’s stomach can be a problem for a person.

But cats still walk all over people, uninterested in any discomfort created. If they like the spot, they can also decide to take a nap on someones’ chest or stomach. Why not!


Finally, your cat comes on you while lying down and will kiss you! But your happiness will last about 10 seconds just until your cat will turn around and put his butt onto your head and mouth!

In most cases, cats will also try to sit on your head!


If you have a cat, you can’t make your bed! Cats will try to sneak under the bedsheets, run on your mattress back and forth chasing the corner of the bedsheets, and in general, make a mess of everything. They will be all over their owners while they make their beds.


How about waking up because of a cat slapping you with a paw? Well, cats do not care about how many hours you sleep. But, if they want to eat, they come to your face and paw at you like a boxer until you wake up.

Be ready to serve your cat at every hour of the day… and night!


Cats have favorite spots and places where they like to be. At times they may change their favorite locations, but in general, you can see where your cat likes to be. If they are there, they like it, and they like what they consider their own space.

Cats owners should allow their cats to stay in their favorite spots and their own space. For example, if their cats like to sleep on the kitchen chair, do not remove it or make it unavailable. Cats get stressed if they can’t access their sleeping places anymore.

It is easy to see where cats go to watch outside, play, or sleep. Help your cat to preserve his space and feel comfortable in the house.


Cats are busy observing and predicting what is going on in the environment. They calculate all the factors and variables present around them that could culminate into a possible danger or a potential opportunity for food.

Cats think about what their humans are doing, watching birds, playing, and other cats’ business. However, cats do not think as humans do. Instead, they react to external factors based on their memory of them, based on the fact if they are pro-survival or not.

Cats are busy solving problems with their mind, such as how to catch their prey, retrieve the ball under the couch, sneak into your cupboard, open the door to get into a room. Those are the types of things cats are busy thinking.


How do I teach my cat personal space?

You can teach your cat personal space by showing him that you do not line him doing certain things. Associate the word ‘NO’ to things you do not like and stop your cat from doing it while saying it. After a while, cats understand what you do not like.

Should I give my new cat space?

If your cat shows signs of intolerance toward attention and wants to be let alone, give him some space. Then, when cats are ready, they will come to you for attention and love.

How do I know if my cat needs space?

If your cat needs space, you will know it because he will not let you pet him or try to find a place where no one is bordering him. At times, cats want to sleep and be alone to rest or because they need to recover after a stressful period.

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