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What Do My Cat’s Sleeping Positions Mean?

Cats are intriguing creatures, especially when it comes to their vast array of sleep positions! Whether curled up in a crescent, stretched out like Superman, or contorted into a whole knot of limbs and fur, they’ll seemingly get to sleep just about any way they can. But, as amusing as they can be, have you ever wondered what all these cat sleeping positions actually mean? From the adorable to the absurd, we’re exploring each position one-by-one and revealing what our cat’s body language can tell us about our felines’ moods.

1. Belly Up

When cats sleep belly-up – with their front legs on their belly or stretched above their head – it’s a strong indicator that your cat feels safe and confident in their surroundings. They’re leaving their vital organs exposed, so you’re unlikely to see this cat behaviour just anywhere. If you do spot them on their back, take it as a sign that your cat feels secure with you around.

And just to note, this sleeping position in cats isn’t an invitation for belly rubs! Respect their space and leave them to rest, otherwise, your cat may not be exposing their belly around you again any time soon.

Ginger cat sleeping belly-up on their back.

2. The Curled-Up Crescent

Often resembling a ball of fluff, the curled-up crescent (or doughnut to some!) has a cat curled up nose-to-tail. This sleeping position helps cats to keep warm and also protects their vital organs, meaning it’s commonly used by cats in the wild. If you see your cat has adopted this position, it could mean they’re a little chilly or are feeling vulnerable.

Grey cat sleeping in a curled-up crescent.

3. The Loaf

The loaf – so called because of its remarkable resemblance to a loaf of bread – is when a cat has their front paws tucked under their body and their head up. As with the curled-up crescent, this sleeping cat body language can be great for preserving warmth, but it also means they can spring into action if needed.

White cat resting in the loaf position.

4. Side Snoozer

A cat sleeping on its side is a good indicator they’re feeling relaxed or are even in a deep sleep. This is another behaviour that leaves your cat vulnerable, so if you spot them in this position, take it as a sign they’re comfortable with you around. There’s also less heat preservation in this cat sleeping position which may explain why it’s often seen when our felines are basking in the sun.

Cat sleeping on their side on a human’s lap.

5. Superman Stretch

Lying on their belly with their legs stretched out, a cat in this position may be enjoying the warmth of the surface beneath them (such as a human lap!) or even cooling off on a chilly floor. This is a good sign a cat is feeling deeply relaxed.

Cat asleep on their front in superman sleeping position.

5. Sphynx Position

The sphynx sleeping position for cats is a lot like the loaf only less relaxed. A cat in this position is poised for movement, indicating they’re not entirely at ease and are ready to react quickly. Cats don’t tend to hold this position for any longer than 20 minutes and will usually transition to another position before long.

Ginger cat in sphynx position.

7. The Filler

Cats are well known for their tendency to jump inside boxes and containers. In fact, they often have a remarkable resemblance to liquid for the way they can fill a space! This can often be a form of hiding away and may suggest a cat is not feeling completely safe in their surroundings. As nothing can approach from behind, having their back in contact with something can help a cat to feel reassured, though they may also choose this position for warmth.

If you notice your cat regularly hides away to rest, you should speak to a qualified behaviourist to understand how you can help your cat feel more secure. FELIWAY Optimum can be a great solution, providing enhanced serenity throughout your home. Simply plug your FELIWAY Optimum diffuser into an electrical socket in the area where your cat spends most of their time.

Grey cat sleeping in a box.

8. Half-Shut Eyes

A cat sleeping with their eyes half closed may not truly be sleeping at all. In fact, they may simply be resting while keeping alert to their surroundings. This cat behaviour is another sign they may not be fully secure. That said, during deep sleep, cats can also have slightly open eyes with visible eye movement – it’s easy to mistake the two!

Cat resting with eyes half open.

9. Eyes Squeezed Shut

If your cat rests with their eyes squeezed shut, they might not be as relaxed as you think. The meaning behind this cat sleeping position can actually be unease or a heightened awareness of their surroundings. 

Grey cat with eyes squeezed shut.

10. Paws Over Eyes

This unusual body language in cats could actually have several meanings. Perhaps they’re keeping their heads warm or are simply blocking out the light as us humans do! 

Ginger cat sleeping with paws over their eyes.

What To Keep An Eye On - The Unique Flexibility of Cats

It’s no secret that cats are incredibly flexible, and you might occasionally see them adopt odd, seemingly uncomfortable sleeping positions. While cats can be perfectly happy in these positions, it is a good idea to visit your vet if you’ve noticed your cat has started doing this regularly. This could be a sign your cat is experiencing discomfort in part of the body and this position is putting less pressure on the sore area.

Similarly, if you notice your cat is sleeping more than usual or in strange places, you should also speak to a vet. There may be a simple explanation, such as a change in the weather, but it could also be due to a medical problem. 

Otherwise, if your cat is showing signs of anxiety, try to create a more reassuring environment in the home. FELIWAY Optimum is great for providing a serene atmosphere, making your feline feel safe and relaxed.

Are you fascinated by your cat’s body language and want to learn more? Check out our other blogs for a whole range of insights! You can also stay informed with all the latest updates from FELIWAY, and receive info on FELIWAY Optimum and all our products, by signing up to our newsletter.

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