What Do Common Cat Sleeping Positions Mean?
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What Do Common Cat Sleeping Positions Mean?

Est. read time: 4 min.

Have you ever found your cat sleeping in a position that couldn’t possibly be comfortable? Recently YouTube channel Jaw-Dropping Facts dropped some interesting revelations about common cat sleeping positions. Find out what specific cat sleeping positions reveal about your cat’s mood, health, and personality—and check out these cozy cat beds while you’re at it.

9 common cat sleeping positions

All curled up

orange and brown tabby sleeping curled up on a deck - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

You often see your cat curled up with her tail around her body and her head tucked towards her chest—it’s the quintessential cat pose! This is one of the most common cat sleeping positions, and with good reason: In the wild, animals sleep in this position to conserve warmth while protecting vital organs. 

Cat in a box

orange and white cat sleeping in a wicker basket - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Jannik Selz on Unsplash

Cats have some peculiar preferences for where they sit (a piece of paper, anyone?). They generally seek out boxes as an instinct to find cover for hunting, as well as to hide from other predators. Your cat probably equates tight spaces in general with security. You should consider why your cat may be feeling concerned about his safety. For instance, is there a rambunctious pet or a young child in the house?  


white kitten sleeping belly up with paws in the air - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Jonathan Fink on Unsplash

If you come across your cat in the belly-up position, you should feel honored: Cats generally only sleep this way when they feel extremely relaxed and safe. Your cat’s stomach is her most vulnerable body part, so freely exposing it means she is comfortable enough to give up her most protective instincts.

Half-eye shut

Grey russian blue cat sleeping with one eye open - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

Cats sleep a lot. (They dream, too!) But the amazing thing about felines is they can simultaneously be awake and asleep, a skill that comes in handy in the wild when they must be alert to their surroundings. If your cat is sleeping with one eye open, one eye closed, chances are he is both sleeping and conscious enough to react to an impending threat.


orange tabby cat sleeping with paws tucked under body - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Alu Zheng on Unsplash

The loaf—where your cat sits upright but tucks her front paws under her body—is a social media favorite among the cat sleeping positions. This adorable pose likely means she isn’t planning to sleep for long, but getting in a quick rest before she moves on with her day.  

Sideways sleeper

white kitten sleeping on side - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Amy Chen on Unsplash

Like the belly-up pose, a sideways sleeper indicates your cat is very relaxed and in a deep sleep. His vulnerable stomach is somewhat exposed in this position and his limbs are stretched out. He feels safe and content enough not to remain in an alert, shallow sleep.

Paw across the face

Spotted bengal cat curled up sleeping with paw across the face - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Be still, our hearts! When your cat strikes the precious pose of putting her paw across the face, it means she doesn’t wish to be disturbed. The video explains that this usually happens unknowingly while your cat is sleeping soundly. It could also indicate that your cat is trying to block out the daylight or a bright light in the room. Perhaps she needs a kitty sleeping mask! 

Monorail cat

brown tabby cat sleeping on the back of a corduroy couch - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash

One of the most interesting of the cat sleeping positions in the monorail, or when your cat lies on the arms or backs of chairs, sofas, staircase banisters, fence posts (and so on) and dangles down some or all of his legs. Apparently cats rest in this position because it is more suitable for general surveillance.


long-haired grey and white cat contorted on a brown chair - cat sleeping positions
Photo by Francesco De Tommaso on Unsplash

Finally, we must pay homage to the weirdest cat sleeping positions out there, from limbs sticking out every which way to half hanging off the couch with their head twisted around. We generally refer to this as the contortionist position, and it turns out there’s no particular science behind it. Chances are, it’s just what feels comfortable for your cat at the time!

Now you know what the most common cat sleeping positions mean. Which is your—and your cat’s—favorite?

Make pet care easier and smarter with a self-cleaning litter box.

Spotted bengal cat curled up sleeping with paw across the face - what do common cat sleeping positions mean?


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