With an average of 15 hours’ shut eye a day, your cat can seem like he spends most of the day snoozing. And while his sleep time supports him in a host of ways, including helping him to digest his meals, those cat naps can also tell you a lot about how he is feeling. From belly up to curled up tight, we take a peek at five cat sleeping positions that can give you a fascinating insight into your feline’s day to day life.
The Cat Loaf
If you have ever wondered ‘why do cats sleep with their heads up?’ then ‘the loaf’ is your answer. The ‘cat loaf’ sleeping position is instantly recognizable, as your kit lies upright, with his legs tucked under his body to resemble a freshly baked loaf of bread! And one thing you can be sure when you catch your cat loafing, is that he may look relaxed, but he is also primed to spring into action. A feline that is happy to cat loaf is a happy cat all round and is comfortable and relaxed with his surroundings. But he’s most likely not fully asleep but simply snoozing. Look closely and you will see his eyes are barely closed, rather than shut tight and his breathing is relaxed and soft. In short, he is chilling out to preserve his energy and feeling safe and secure enough to take some time out. And, if he gets too relaxed, you may see his cute head tip forward and rest on a surface – this is known as a collapsed loaf, and means you have a seriously relaxed, napping pet.
Comfort and warmth are two of your puss’s favorite things and they curl up to get the best of both worlds when they sleep. The typical curled position brings your cat’s body into a curved shape, with their head tucked into their chest and their tail wrapped around their body. We humans will recognize this as the fetal position and know just how comforting it can be. However, while your cat may look as snug as a bug in a rug, the curled-up sleep is more than being comfortable. Curling up helps to make your kit feel safe and protected and also helps them to preserve their body heat – which is why you will typically see this sleeping position in the fall and winter. It is also a behavior they have retained from their wild cat past. It also means that, while your cat feels happy in its environment, they are also protecting their vulnerable body parts and organs. And it is also a visual clue that your kit doesn’t really want to be disturbed.
If you have ever shared a sofa with your cat and they really start to spread out, you will know how relaxed and happy they can look. And this is exactly what a cat who sleeps sideways is showing you. Sleeping on their side, with their legs stretched out is one of the most comfortable positions for your pet and indicates he feels safe enough to not have to stay on alert. He is also deeply relaxed, which means you may also hear their breathing turn into a low, snuffly snore. And, while it may mean you have little room to yourself on the sofa, you should be happy, as it shows you that your kit feels totally safe in your presence and has no reason to use his body to protect himself as he happily slumbers.
Rolled Up Into a Ball
You may think a cat rolled up tightly into a ball is cozy and content but with this sleeping position, not all is as it seems. And it is important if you see your kit in this position, you gently check them out. Rolled up into a ball is one of the telltale cat positions when sick, especially if their eyes are tightly shut. This position can indicate that your puss is in pain and if they have taken themselves onto a shelf or cupboard, then they feel insecure and is anticipating potential threats. The tight ball position means they are also trying to avoid any contact as with their body language they are saying, ‘leave me alone’. If you do find your cat in this sleeping position, look for any other signs that all is not well, and if you are concerned for their physical welfare, take them to a veterinarian for a check up and further advice.
If you find your furry friend laid out on their back with their belly up and gently snoozing, then you can be sure he is happy, relaxed and contented in your home. And as a pet parent, you should be pleased with this super cute and even goofy sleeping position as it means your cat totally trusts you. Cats sleeping on their back with their soft belly on show is one of the most vulnerable positions they can take – and as they normally don’t like their bellies touched, showing it off tells you everything is ok. And, if you are multi-cat household, sleeping in such a prone position with other cats close by indicates a very happy and secure feline family. But before you rush in to rub that exquisitely soft tum, it is important to keep restrained as touching such a deep sleeping cat can startle them and you may be on the receiving end of those sharp claws. Instead, enjoy the wonderful sight of a very contented cat, knowing that you have been able to create for them a super-safe and happy home.
So, there you have it, five of the most common cat sleeping positions and exactly what they mean. And by taking note of how you kit sleeps and what they are trying to tell you, you can really build your relationship with your pet and ensure they always feel happy, safe and secure.