14 Cat Sleeping Positions: Surprising Meanings Behind Them


Last Updated on: August 7, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Cats spend most of their time sleeping, and the average adult cat naps for 18 hours per day. Suffice it to say that most people have plenty of opportunities to observe their cats’ various sleeping positions. But what does it mean if your cat likes to sleep sprawled out or next to you in bed? Cats’ sleeping positions can reveal many things, including whether they feel safe or seek security. Below we’ll discuss some of the most common feline sleeping positions and their meaning.


The 14 Cat Sleeping Positions:

1. Loaf

striped cat sleeping in loaf with eyes half open on couch
Image credit: Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash

Cats often sleep with their front legs tucked neatly underneath their bodies. Many keep their heads up as well. The position allows cats to stay warm and protects essential organs such as the heart and lungs. It also permits them to respond in seconds if they need to leap into action. It’s sometimes paired with the eyes-half-shut look cats often adopt when they’re interested in keeping an eye on their surroundings. Cats in this position sometimes nod off and then return to a more alert snoozing mode.


2. Tummy Exposed

cat sleeping with its belly exposed
Image Credit: PHONSIN AUPPACHAI, Shutterstock

Cats sometimes lie on their backs to nap, often with their front legs curled up on their chests or over their heads with their tummies exposed. When a cat lets you see their stomach, it’s almost always a sign that they feel comfortable and safe. It indicates they’re at ease and feel free to let go and relax. It’s often best to simply leave cats to their bliss when they’re relaxing on their backs; some become a bit cranky when petted on their bellies.


3. Supercat

cat sleeping on its belly with four legs stretched out
Image Credit: katya-guseva0, Pixabay

In the supercat pose, kitties lie on their stomachs and extend all four legs to look like they’re flying. The position shields your pet’s belly and vital organs and allows them to spring up to defend themselves. Cats often enjoy sleeping in the supercat position on warm blankets when the temperature drops. But they also show the supercat on cold bathroom and kitchen floors to cool off when it’s too warm.


4. Legs to the Side

fat calico cat sleeping in the window perch
Image Credit: Lisa A. Ernst, Shutterstock

If your cat likes to sleep on their side with their legs in front of them, it’s probably an indication that your buddy feels safe and loved. Cats’ vital organs are exposed and vulnerable in this position, much like when pets sleep on their backs. So, when cats nap splayed out on their side, it usually indicates they feel safe. However, the position allows them to make a fast getaway (if needed) to escape the clutches of a predator or the family dog.


5. Curled Up

cat sleeping curled up like a croissant
Image Credit: 272447, Pixabay

Cats that enjoy sleeping curled are trying to stay warm, and it’s a particularly popular feline snoozing position. Tucking their heads into their bodies and wrapping their tails around themselves allows cats to conserve heat and keep themselves nice and warm while inactive. It makes it more difficult for predators to do serious damage if a cat is caught unaware and attacked while napping.


6. Paws Over Eyes

a white cat sleeping with one paw over its eyes
Image Credit: Shanon, Pixabay

Cats often sleep with one paw over their eyes to keep out light and prevent warmth from escaping. Think of it like a feline sleep mask! Cats sometimes do it to prevent light from waking them or limit the dust they breathe while sleeping. It’s also an efficient way for cats to warm up and stay nice and toasty while napping.


7. Sitting Like a Person

tabby cat sleeping like human with legs stretched out and back supported on couch
Image credit: Prathankarnpap, Shutterstock

Some cats like to rest with their legs stretched out in front of them and their backs supported. Cats in this position often look like they’re trying to sit like humans. If your cat is a fan of napping while sitting up, it most likely means your buddy feels comfortable around you since the position leaves your pet’s stomach unprotected and open to attack. Also, the pose has the added perk of making it easy for your cat to groom the front part of their body.


8. All Over the Place

cat sleeping in a weird sleeping position at home
Image Credit: drSandyWijaya, Shutterstock

Cats sometimes create unique napping poses, often involving seemingly impossible positions. Believe it or not, these strange positions usually indicate complete and total relaxation. No one is quite sure why cats end up in these sorts of odd configurations. They have flexible spinal columns and shoulder blades, so they can easily contort themselves without pain. Make sure to consider your cat’s napping style when selecting a pet bed to ensure the product is designed to support their favorite position.


9. Under Your Covers

a scottish fold cat sleeping under its owner's blanket on the bed
Image Credit: Elen Nika, Shutterstock

Most cats enjoy napping in human beds and love to snuggle under the covers where they can snooze wrapped up in and surrounded by the comforting smells of their favorite person. It’s often difficult to tell precisely how cats are sleeping when they’re covered up since they usually frown upon being meddled with when enjoying an afternoon snooze under the covers. Cats who are hiding out in beds can sometimes be difficult to spot! Give your bed a quick pat before sitting down if your buddy regularly spends mornings or afternoons relaxing under your covers.


10. In Boxes

cat sleeping in a box
Image Credit: Michael Dahmen, Pixabay

Most cats adore curling up in boxes since it gives them a safe place to hide from “predators.” Many jump into delivery boxes as soon as they’re opened. Not only are boxes perfect for launching sneak attacks, but they’re also popular napping spots. Napping in boxes often gives cats a sense of comfort and safety; they’re nice, warm predator-free zones! However, cats that hunker down in tiny boxes often seek security, particularly if they exhibit other signs of stress, such as hiding and changes in sleeping patterns.


11. On You

cat sleeping on its owner's chest
Image Credit: Maliflower73, Shutterstock

Cats often sleep on their people out of love. If your cat regularly snoozes on your chest, it’s likely a sign that they absolutely adore you. They can relax to the soothing rhythm of your heartbeat and the sounds of your breathing. Cats sleep on people for warmth in addition to companionship. They sometimes sleep between people’s feet or legs, allowing them to be close to their favorite person while permitting them to react quickly if needed.


12. Next to You

cat sleeping with its owner on the bed
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Cats sleep next to people they love when they prefer having just a bit of space. If your cat likes to sleep next to you but not on you, it’s probably a sign of love and trust. They sleep next to people to avoid being bothered by nighttime tossing and turning. And sleeping next to but not on you also makes it easier for cats to get up, go to the bathroom, or score a snack without disturbing you.


13. Up High

cat sleeping on a tree trunk
Image Credit: Crepessuzette, Pixabay

Cats in the wild have to worry about being caught and eaten by predators such as coyotes, dogs, and raccoons. They often prefer to relax and sleep in high locations that give them an excellent vantage point to keep an eye on things. Giving cats places to relax up above it all often goes a long way toward creating a feline-friendly environment that keeps them from becoming bored, anxious, and stressed.


14. With Other Pets

two kittens sleeping outside
Image Credit: luxstorm, Pixabay

Cats become attached to their human, feline, and canine companions. When cats nap with their feline buddies, it signifies that all is well in your home. While not all cats and dogs get along well enough to sleep together, many do, particularly those who grow up with each other. Cats and dogs introduced to each other slowly and given lots of time to adjust to the other’s presence often learn to get along reasonably well.


Conclusion

Cats’ sleeping positions can reveal more than you might expect! How a cat sleeps and where they choose to nap can tell you quite a bit about how they feel. Cats that sleep curled up are often seeking warmth, but it’s also a defensive position that protects their vital organs. When they sleep next to or on their owners, they’re showing their love and need for security. Your cat has likely displayed some or all of the sleeping positions we discussed, and they may have a few unique ones you haven’t figured out yet!


Featured Image Credit: hapibu, Pixabay

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