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Cats and Their Sleeping Positions

Cats sleep from 12-18 hours per day. The position your cat chooses to sleep in can provide clues to their likes, dislikes, comfort level as well as how much they trust you. Their sleeping positions are like body language and may be affected by several factors such as season, situation at home, or your cat’s overall mood. Curious about your cat’s unique sleeping positions? Here’s what we learnt about why our cats sleep the way they do.

The Crescent
As its name suggests, the crescent sleep position is when your cat curls up on its side into a tight ball, with their head tucked into their body, and their tail wrapped around themselves. It is a safe position whereby their belly is protected from predator attacks that leaves your cat ready and able to respond rapidly to any surprises. This position allows your cat to conserve body heat to stay warm and makes them feel secure, thus allowing them to sleep more deeply than some other positions.

Seeking Shelter
Some cats are drawn to tight spaces, whether it’s a box or even your jacket. Choosing small spaces for sleep creates a sense of security for your cat. Cats love the feeling of being surrounded or covered as it helps them feel protected and safe. It also helps them to conserve body heat in cold weather or provide a buffer in noisy environments. If your cat loves sleeping on your belongings, it is because they feel calm with the familiarity of your scent.

Belly Up
Cats that sleeps with their tummy facing up trusts you and their environment. This sleeping position exposes your cat’s most sensitive areas, and makes a cat quite vulnerable because their vital organs are unprotected. Only when a cat is completely at ease will they sleep with their belly up. They are also more likely to lie in this position to cool off during warm weather because the belly has less fur and loses heat more rapidly compared to the rest of the body.

Bread Loaf
The bread loaf is a classic sleeping position, whereby your cats are sleeping while sitting upright. With their front and back paws tucked neatly underneath their body, and tail wrapped around them, they are probably taking a quick cat nap and is not entering a deep sleep. This position conserves body heat, protects the vital organs and leaves your cat ready to respond to any possible threats. It may be a preferred sleeping position when the weather turns cold as they seek warmth.

Pretzel Style
In this position, your cat sprawls out and twists their torso so the upper body points in one direction and the lower body faces the opposite direction. Like the belly up position, sleeping in this position indicates that your cat is completely relaxed and trusting in their environment. While in the pretzel position, your cat may fall into deep sleep, but they could still spring into action instantly if you give them a gentle nudge.

On Their Side
A cat sleeping on their side with their legs outstretched is probably in a deep sleep and they might stay in this comfy position for a while. This position partially exposes your cat’s belly so it shows that they feel safe enough to let their guard down and that they share a comfortable bond with their owner. Sleeping in this position also allows them to cool off, thus cats that are feeling overly warm may lie on a cool spot in this position.

Paw Over The Face
In this endearing cat sleeping position, your cat is sound asleep with a paw draped across their face. Your cat is sending a clear message that they do not want to be disturbed while they are asleep. This position protects their eyes and nose, which are vulnerable and critically important for cats. However, cats may also choose to sleep in this position simply because it’s comfortable, and helps to keep their face warm while blocking out excessive light.

Sitting Up
Like sleeping with their eyes half open, sleeping in a semi-upright position means that your cat is still slightly alert and ready to spring into action whenever necessary. Your cat might also choose this sleeping position as it allows them to groom their belly more efficiently and it may support their back muscles. If you observe that your cat being uncomfortable or is unable to stay lying down due to discomfort or breathing difficulties, they might require immediate medical care.

Eyes Slightly Open
A cat that is resting with their eyes half-shut may not have entered a deep state of sleep, or they could be dreaming. Snoozing with their eyes partially open lets your cat get some much-need rest while remaining on guard. This enables them to keep a lookout for danger, potential threats, or even the chance to pounce on a meal. This behaviour is likely due to our cat’s wild origins where cats of all types have to find their own food and avoid becoming food for someone else.

The superman position is where a sleeping cat is lying on their belly, with their front and back legs extended outward like Superman soaring through the air. Generally, cats sleeping in this position is extremely comfortable and relaxed, unafraid of being bothered, and is probably in a deep state of sleep. This position protects vulnerable organs by keeping them covered and out of sight, and at the same time helps them to cool down during warm weather when they lie on a cold surface.

Cuddled with Fur Siblings (Or With You!)
Cats can be deeply sociable and loving pets. When they choose to sleep either with you or another pet, it’s a sign of deep trust and affection. They want to be close to you, and your rhythmic breathing and heartbeat are soothing to them. On the other hand, cats that sleep together deeply care for one another and seek each other out for company. During cool weather, cats curl up in a cozy pile together for extra heat and comfort.

Cats love to have multiple favourite sleeping spots in your home. They could choose different sleeping spots as a response to changes in temperature, the length of daylight, or other subtle alterations in their environment that you may not notice. You know your cat best, more often than never, whatever sleeping position they choose are usually what is best for them at that moment.

Cat sleep ranges from light dozing to deep snooze, so their sleeping position will depend on what type of sleep they require in their current situation. That said, if you notice a drastic change in your cat’s sleeping habits, and your cat appears restless or uncomfortable when sleeping, or something unusual, it might be a good idea to consult your veterinarian to let them find out if there is an underlying reason for your cat’s disturbed sleep.



Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.


Adopted from sources

– 9 Cat Sleeping Positions And Their Meaning: All About Cat Sleep Behaviour. By Tractive.

– 13 Common Cat Sleeping Positions Decoded with Pictures. By Liz Coleman, The Dog People.

– Cat Sleeping Positions Explained by Experts. By Jessica Timmons, Sleepopolis.

– Images of dogs, Sleepopolis.