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20 Cute Cat Sleeping Positions & What They Mean

While some cat sleeping positions might look cute, it could also be a signal for a vet consultation! Read to find out how you can tell!
group of cats sleeping on the floor

Cats are well-known for their sleeping habits; in fact, the word ‘catnap’ was coined in the 1800s because of the short naps that cats take. So, if your cat is looking grumpy, it probably needs its beauty sleep.

How many hours do a cat sleep in a day?

In short, typically between 12 and up to 18 hours a day. Like many other living beings, sleep is a huge part of a cat’s life and some cats could even sleep beyond 18 hours! This is usually more common for older cats that are older.

How’s the sleep cycle like for cats?

Cats are mainly crepuscular as they are typically most active during the hours around dawn and dusk. This is very likely related to their predatory roots biologically. Traditionally, cats tend to be awake at daybreak to start hunting for birds and at twilight to prey seek out rodents.

What do I need to know about my cat’s sleeping positions?

Along with their ability to sleep for long periods of time, cats have a wide variety of sleeping positions. In this article, we will talk about the most common cat sleeping positions, what these they could mean, and if there are any red flags that you should watch out for while your cat is sleeping.

1. Loafing

loafing tabby cat sleeping on steps

Popularized through internet memes, the Loafing position depicts a cat sitting on all fours and typically has its front paws tucked under its body. 

If your cat is sleeping in this position, it usually indicates that it is relaxed, but still retains a sense of its surroundings. This position is optimal for quick naps, and at times your feline friend may sleep in this position to stay warm.

IMPORTANT-  Do note If your cat is sleeping in this position for prolonged periods of time, it might be sick or going through some pain. If your loafing cat sits with legs sticking out, or if its nose is close to the ground, it could be going through internal discomfort. In this case, it is best to go for a consultation with a vet. For a quick yet efficient experience, you are able to book an online consultation with the professional vets from ZumVet to get your cat checked from the comfort of your own home. 

2. Upside Down Belly-Up Sprawl

white cat sleeping in a belly-up sprawl position

If you have ever wondered why do cats sleep upside down with their belly up, it’s because they feel happy, safe and content in this position.

In the Belly-Up Sprawl position, cats would lay on their back, leaving their tummies widely exposed. Its legs may either be stretched out or in a flat, sideways position.

It might look like a tempting opportunity to rub your cat’s belly, but this may startle your cat and it may end up biting or scratching you. Many long-haired cats also sleep in this position to regulate their body temperature.

3. Belly Curl

cat sleeping on a backpack in a belly curl position

The Belly Curl depicts a cat lying down sideways while curling its back inward. It may tuck in its legs as well, and some cats may even curl up with their noses touching their tails. 

This position is often also called ‘the crescent’, and it is one of the most common sleeping positions for cats. Many cats will sleep in this position to keep themselves warm. However, cats may also sleep in this position because it is feeling insecure and it feels the need to protect itself while in a slumber. 

Do also note that If your cat regularly sleeps in this position while hiding under your furniture, it could be a sign that something in its surroundings is stressing it out. In this case, it would be best to rectify and deal with any possible stress-factors that could be bugging your furry friend. 

4. Side Sleeper

a cat with an e-collar sleeping sideways on a blanket

The Side Sleeper is also called the ‘Side Sprawl’ at times. In this position, the cat tends to lie down sideways while sprawling its legs out and stretching its back outwards.

If you see your cat sleeping in this manner, it is usually a sign that your cat is relaxed and in deep sleep, even though you might see twitching whiskers or paws in this position.

However, some cats might be in a semi-alert state at times. So, they may spring up and run if they are disturbed in this state. Generally speaking though, there is no need to be concerned if your cat is sleeping in this position often.

5. Snuggle

a cat sleeping on a bed snuggling with a toy

In this position, a cat basically snuggles with a human being, an animal or even its favorite toy while sleeping. 

The Snuggle position usually has a few variations. But, every variation is typically a cat’s way of showing signs of affection (e.g. hugging, sitting on feet, laying on your stomach). So, If your cat is constantly displaying such behaviour during its sleep, it’s very likely a sign that you have provided your furkid enough warmth, security and love!

Whilst the feeling of having your cat snuggle with you in this position may feel warm and comforting, forcing your cat to snuggle with you is never a good idea. Therefore, It’s important to note that cats are always happier when they come up to you to initiate human-cat contact.

Pro Tip

Does your cat love to snuggle with its own toys? Check out ZumShop‘s wide variety of pet toys that can help facilitate more cosy snuggling experiences while it goes to sleep mode!

6. Belly-Down Sprawl

cat sleeping on a belly-down sprawl position

In this quirky position, a cat basically sleeps on its belly with its legs completely stretched out (hence, it looks like Superman flying). 

This is also a sign that shows that the cat is feeling relaxed. But, it also allows the cat to be prepared to jump up with its paws anytime, if it got startled. 

If you find your cat sleeping in this position on the ground, try placing a blanket or a cushion under its belly to prevent its body temperature from dropping. 

On the flip side, if the surrounding temperature is rather warm, it may be trying to thermoregulate by laying down on a cool surface.

Pro Tip

If your cat is frequently feeling the chills from tiles on your home’s floor while sleeping, try getting it to sleep in a more elevated surface such as a cat climbing platform. While they are more active, it could serve as a playground as well!

7. Head Pressed Against A Surface

a cat with its head pressed onto a chair backrest

This sleeping position could be a major red flag. Do watch out if your cat presses its head against a wall, on the ground or on any solid object when it is sleeping.

It could be a signal that your cat is suffering from health issues such as head trauma, fungal infections or liver disorders. If you happen to see your pet sleeping in this position, contact ZumVet, or visit your nearest vet immediately for a check-up.

8. Kneading

a white cat on steps with its arms stretched out

Felines will frequently sleep in this position during catnaps. They start by pushing its paws alternately into whatever it’s lying on as if it’s kneading dough, and may eventually fall asleep in this position.

Just like their wild cousins, our precious kitties ‘knead’ their resting areas to make them comfortable. A cat may switch position after some kneading, but if it doesn’t, it’s usually taking a catnap.

9. Head-Over Heels

a cat with its head hanging over a surface

In this position, a cat will usually lie down with its head hanging over a surface. This may look uncomfortable, but cats typically sleep in this position to stretch its neck or back. 

You may think that this position may give your feline companion a crick in the neck. But, it is actually a sign of comfort and some cats prefer to sleep in this position more often than not. 

Pro Tip

If your cat loves to sleep head over heels, it’s best to invest on an elevated platform that is sturdy and strong enough to withstand the weight of even the chonkiest cats such as this glass adhesive glass hammock!

10. Crouching Semi-Loaf

a cat on a crouching semi loaf position

Also known as the ‘bunny position’, many felines typically sleep in this position during catnaps. 

In this position, a cat typically crouches on its hind legs with its front paws bent under its body. This is typically a less relaxed and more alert sleeping position that allows it to jump into action quickly if needed.

11. Twisted Body

a cat sleeping with a twisted body like pretzel

This position could look a little quirky. It usually shows  a cat twisting its body to sleep in a manner that will position its front and hind legs in 2 different directions (like a pretzel). 

This position makes a cat’s body look warped. Generally, this position is not worrisome. But, in some cases, your cat could be contorting itself to keep its weight off a sore body part. If you happen to notice that your cat is trying to avoid placing any weight on certain parts of its body, it could be a sign for you to take your furry friend to your vet or visit ZumVet for a detailed checkup.

12. Laying Down Upright

a cat sleeping while sitting upright

At times, a cat may sleep while laying down upright on its lower back. Its front paws may be placed against its belly or partially/completely touching the ground with its body weight centralizing on its lower back area.

Cats will usually sleep in this position when they are trying to groom their bellies with less effort between catnaps. They may also sleep in this position to stretch their back muscles. In general, this sleeping position is also a sign that the cat is feeling very comfortable and safe.

13. Belly-Down On An Elevated Surface

a cat laying on the arms of a sofa with its arms elevated by the side

This position is common for cats that enjoy resting on high perches. Also known as the “Monorail”, this sleeping position could be seen when a cat is resting its belly on an elevated surface such as a perch or a narrow platform. Its tail and legs will also typically hang from either side of it. 

It is not a sleeping position to be worried about, as cat breeds that enjoy relaxing on high perches usually take catnaps in this position while surveying their surroundings. 

14. Paws-Over-Eyes

a long hair cat sleeping with its paws over the eyes

While this sleeping position may look adorable, it could actually be a sign of an anxious or stressed out cat. 

When a cat is sleeping with its paws over its eyes, it could mean that it is trying to prevent harsh light, dust or pollen from seeping into them. It may also be doing this because its eyes are already itching due to allergies.

Therefore, If your cat happens to be sleeping in this position regularly, It is best to first ensure that the area it is sleeping in is dim enough. If it is still sleeping in the Paws-Over-Eyes position even in a dim area, consult a vet to determine if your furry friend has any allergies. 

15. Filler

a cat sleeping in a woolen pet bed

In this position, a cat will try to sleep while molding itself into any box or container that it can find. Cats have very flexible bodies and they can easily fit into them as long as it is large enough for them.

It might not look like it but a cat will usually sleep in this position if it feels threatened by a feline or an unknown visitor. So, If you see a cat sleeping in a box, it is best to just let it have its me time and It should start to behave normally once it feels comfortable with its environment. 

Pro Tip

If boxers or containers are your cat’s favourite places to sleep in, why not be creative and make it look good? This rattan bed shaped like a tangerine should be a good place to start!

16. Half-Open Eyes

a cat sleeping with its eyes half open

This is technically not a sleeping position but it is actually something very common among cats. Just like dolphins, cats can actually sleep with fully or partially open eyes. This is possible because cats have a translucent eyelid which protects their eyes from irritants or dryness while it’s asleep.

That being said, your cat might not be able to close its eyes if its translucent eyelid is scratched, wounded or infected. Therefore, if your cat is sleeping in this position frequently, it could mean that it is suffering from an eye-related issue. If you see any swelling or discharge around your furry friend’s eyes, consult your nearest vet immediately or contact ZumVet.

17. Tucked-In

a cat tucked in and sleeping under a blanket

Cats frequently tuck themselves under a blanket, some sheets or a random clothing item before falling asleep. This is done to remain warm, and the familiar scent that emanates from sheets and clothing could be familiar items that help them feel relaxed as well.

If you see your cat sleeping in a tucked-in position regularly, there is no reason to worry. You just need to make sure your sheets are comfortable and breathable. Do also try to look around before sitting on your bed, so that you don’t accidentally sit on your furry friend.

18. Sitting Upright

a cat sleeping while standing upright

At times, a cat may just fall asleep in its normal seating position, i.e., while sitting on its rear legs, with its front legs being straight and upright and its front paws touching the ground.

Some long-tailed cats will also wrap their tails around their bodies in this position. This is a normal catnapping position that lets a cat spring into action whenever it is startled. Cats that sleep in this position are anxious about their surroundings, so if your cat is frequently sleeping in this position, you must try to find your cat’s anxiety triggers and deal with them in the best way possible.

19. Chin Rest

The chinrest happens when a cat rests its chin on an object, such as a pillow or a couch cushion, while sleeping. 

Cats love rubbing their chins on different surfaces. It makes them feel good and they use this technique to mark their territories with ‘happy pheromones’. If your cat has fallen asleep in this position, it isn’t something you should worry about, as it is very likely relaxed in its slumber.  

20. Lying In A Litter Box

In this position, a cat usually lies down curled up in a litter box and remains there for several hours. Cats tend to wander around litter boxes when they are highly anxious or in pain, because the familiar scent emanating from a litter box provides a semblance of safety.

Don’t be fooled by a cat’s calm demenaour if it is sleeping in this position regularly though. This could actually be an indicator that your cat is facing digestive issues or internal discomfort. You must consult with your vet immediately (or visit ZumVet) if you see your cat lying down in its litter box for prolonged periods of time.

In Conclusion

Remember, anxious or nervous cats could assume some of the positions mentioned above. It is important to try reducing your feline companion’s anxiety to improve its quality of sleep. Feeding your cat regularly, entertaining it with fun activities and setting up a comfortable bedding space for it will help reduce stress and improve quality of sleep dramatically. 

If habitual adjustments are not enough, it is also wise to consider investing in a pheromone diffuser that can help soothe your cat’s senses before its bedtime. Or, incorporating catnip bubbles into its playtime routine is also a great way to reduce its anxiety/stress levels in the long run. These items are available in our e-commerce store, ZumShop. So do check them out for more information related to these products. 

Pro Tip

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