The range and types of sleeping cat positions seem to be far more extensive than the equivalent for humans. I find my Siberian cat Alexei in all sorts of odd places and positions and he genuinely appears to be asleep. I don’t know how he does it!
It made me curious about cat sleeping positions – was there any particular meaning to them? Did one position signal something vs another that I should be aware of? Should I expect Alexei to take different sleeping positions when he seems to be in different moods.
So here are 14 sleeping cat positions and what they might reveal about your favourite feline.
- 1 14 Sleeping Cat Positions
- 1.1 1. All Curled Up or the “Crescent”
- 1.2 2. In a Box
- 1.3 3. Belly Up
- 1.4 4. Eyes Half Shut
- 1.5 5. The classic Loaf of Bread
- 1.6 6. Sideways
- 1.7 7. Paws Across Face
- 1.8 8. On the Edge
- 1.9 9. In what surely can’t be a comfortable position
- 1.10 10. Sitting Up
- 1.11 11. Sleeping on You
- 1.12 12. Superman
- 1.13 13. Tucked In
- 1.14 14. With Another Cat
- 2 Cat Sleeping Positions in Summary
14 Sleeping Cat Positions
1. All Curled Up or the “Crescent”
This is one of the most common sleeping cat positions. The reason for this sleeping position is that it maximises warmth for the cat whilst sleeping and protects all its vital organs. This was key way back when our kitties were in the wild.
Often when curled up cats will seem to have perfectly curled their back to make a shape that looks like a crescent or even a croissant thus the term Crescent for some curled up positions. Cats can also take this position sometimes if they are feeling insecure.
2. In a Box
Cats are crazy about boxes. Forget what is inside – my cat goes bananas for a good box. They are good for amusing Alexei for quite some time. Cats sleep in boxes because they offer protetction.
A box can be a way to keep deep cover when hunting or to make sure other predators don’t discover them. This may indicate that there is something in your cat wants to hide from something or someone in their home.
Is there a new pet in the house or a dog that wants to play more than your cat? Or a human who seeks your cat’s attention too frequently?
3. Belly Up
My cat Alexei loves to lie back on the floor (particularly with my underfloor heating), splay his paws to the world and with his floofy belly fully exposed engage in some shut eye. It is very amusing.
Apparently, a cat that sleeps belly up is a sign that they have an excellent relationship with their owner. This is quite a vulnerable position for your cat so they would only take it whilst asleep if they were completely trusting of their surroundings and the people in them.
4. Eyes Half Shut
Have you ever noticed that your cat is able to seemingly wake up extremely quickly? Cats are obviously experts when it comes to sleep. But cats are actually able to snooze with their eyes half open and half closed.
If your cat is doing this then they are making sure that they will not miss any potential threats. When you think about the circumstances in which your cat does this is it when there are visitors to the house? Or has something recently changed?
5. The classic Loaf of Bread
We all love the loaf. It is well represented in social media through hashtags. A “loaf” is when a cat is upright but tucks its front paws underneath its body. The cat literally looks like a loaf of bread in these sleeping cat positions.
Cats make take this position when awake or when sleeping. If they are in this position when sleeping they probably won’t stay in it for long so this most likely means that your cat is having a nap rather than a major sleep.
Even though they are keeping their wits about them, the loaf is considered to be a sign of a relaxed cat so it is a positive cat sleeping position. This position allows your cat to conserve energy. It is getting some rest whilst still being on watch.
The sideways cat sleeping position has much in common with the belly up position. It is not quite as open as belly up but when a cat is asleep on their side they are still exposing some of their vulnerable belly to the world.
This is also normally more of a nap position than a full major sleep. Again, it is a positive sign that your cat feels comfortable in its surroundings and with you.
7. Paws Across Face
This particularly cute cat sleeping position is essentially a do not disturb sign. Your cat is most likely putting their paws in front of their face unconsciously and it is a sign that they are in a deep sleep.
Your cat will not welcome any alarm clocks whilst in this position.
8. On the Edge
Cats often like to perch on long thin surfaces like the edge of a couch, the railing of a balcony or a staircase rail. This makes sense when they are awake as they love to climb and have great balance.
It surprises me to see cats sleeping in these positions. Firstly, how do they know that they won’t fall off? And secondly, surely this can’t be comfortable?
Cats on the edge often dangle their paws over each side. When a cat sleeps in this position it means they want to keep an eye on what is going on around them.
9. In what surely can’t be a comfortable position
This is a general cat position type that I made up for all those completely bizarre looking angles cat get themselves into and then seem to be able to fall asleep. I have no idea what these mean. I guess that your cat is very flexible. But of course they happen often and are very amusing so needed to be included.
10. Sitting Up
I know that quite a few humans are good at sleeping sitting up but I can only do it when I am absolutely exhausted. But cats will often sit up, wrap their tails around their paws and get 40 winks.
This is another sleeping cat position that is more a cat napping position rather than a full sleeping position. Your cat will probably only stay in this position for 15 to 20 minutes. In this sleeping position, your cat is making sure that it is able to wake up at a moment’s notice.
11. Sleeping on You
A cat sleeping on its own is a very positive sign in terms of their relationship. Your cat is choosing to sleep on you because they want to be close to you – and they are comfortable that they can put their guard down when they are in that position.
Your cat will tend to choose areas like your legs or chest to sleep on as they perceive these as less likely to move than say your arms. They are not stupid and don’t wish to be disturbed. These sleeping cat positions are a positive indicator of the health of your relationship with your cat.
This position is when your cat lies on its belly and stretches out its paws to the front and the back eg just like Superman in flight. This sleeping cat position means that your cat is extremely relaxed. They are likely to be in a deep sleep if in this sleeping pose.
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13. Tucked In
Cats often like to cuddle up under blankets, couches, beds, in drawers and other covered up and often tucked in positions. These positions provide warmth and comfort and often protection.
A cat under a bed can move to the middle of that area, making it impossible even for their owner to get them out. When a cat is asleep it is at its most vulnerable and therefore when it is ready for some serious sleep it will seek out the safest possible space.
14. With Another Cat
When kittens are born they sleep with their mothers and their siblings in a warm fuzzy heap. This keeps them all safe and warm. Their mother knows exactly where they are and they know where their mother is.
Therefore they generally have positive memories of having their bodies close to another cat whilst sleeping. Cats sleep with their bellies exposed to other cats when together, a sure sign that they are comfortable.
Often cats within the same household will sleep together. This is a positive sign in terms of their relationship.
Cat Sleeping Positions in Summary
Apparently cats can spend up to 70% of their lives asleep. Well, as we now know that sleep could range from a light doze all the way through to a heavy sleep. One of the key reasons that they need so much sleep is to digest their high protein diet.
⇒ For everything you need to know about taking care of your finicky feline check out my guide to How to Groom a Cat, Ultimate Persian Cat Grooming Guide, the Best Cat Brush, Caring for Cats guide and my quick cat check up guide.
Cats take many different positions whilst sleeping. There is often meaning to those positions and understanding that can help you to be the best possible owner/slave of your favourite feline.
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