From nestling inside of bathroom sinks to weaving their way through your legs while you’re trying to walk, cats don’t seem to mind violating your personal space. This is especially true of owners who find themselves unable to stretch their legs at night because their cat is occupying what appears to be the entire space available at the foot of the bed.
Cats are not considerate creatures, but that’s not the only reason they do this.
According to the pet explainer site Vets Explain Pets, cats have a tendency to remain in close physical proximity with a care provider. If you’re feeding them and attending to their other needs, they want to stick around.
If that’s true—and no cats can confirm—then why not pick a spot closer to you? It may have something to do with a pet’s survival instincts. Getting tangled up in bedding or having to extricate themselves from someone’s arm is not a good situation for a cat, who wants to be ready to bolt at all times. Being at the foot of the bed allows them freedom of movement. (That may also be the reason cats tend to avoid settling in or near bunched-up bedding or blankets, preferring to knead it out so it’s smooth.)
Some cats may also harbor a sense of responsibility over your wellbeing and want to be around as a protective mechanism. Being at the foot of the bed also allows for visibility of who’s coming and going in a room.
Naturally, some selfishness may also be involved. Being next to a human at night giving off body heat makes for a cozier environment. While cats are generally expressing affection by bunking with you, it’s still partly so they can be comfortable, too. And because cats are territorial by nature, their perspective on all this may be slightly different than yours. A cat might think it's sharing its bed with you.
[h/t Vets Explain Pets]