Cat Sleeping Positions and What They Mean: 20 Common Ways Cats Sleep

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cat sleeping positions and what they mean

Your cats sleeping position can vary depending on the cat’s age and personality. Let’s look at common cat sleeping positions and what they mean. 

Cats can sleep anywhere and will sometimes be stretched out and other times, curled up into a small ball. Younger cats may sleep more often in a curled-up position, while older cats may prefer to spread out or even sprawl across your lap.

This article will discuss cat sleeping positions and what they mean.

Cat sleeping positions and what they mean

The famous poem by Eleanor Farjeon says that “cats sleep anywhere, any table, any chair” Our feline companions also seem to sleep in various positions, depending on where they are resting. Your cat may like to stretch out on a sunny windowsill or sleep in a ‘loaf’ shape.

Cats vary their sleeping position depending on whether they’re relaxed or tense, hot or cold. They often take quick “cat naps” for short periods, usually about 15 minutes or less. This is a sign that the cat feels safe and relaxed enough to take a cat nap.

Here are some of the most common positions you may have found your cat sleeping in:

The loaf

One of the most common sleeping positions is the “loaf” as the cat is sleeping in a shape that resembles a loaf of bread.

Cats often lie down with their legs tucked underneath their body and their head facing forward. This is considered a sign of relaxation as cats feel secure in this position. 

cat sleeping positions and what they mean

In a box

Cats love boxes, and you may have found your cat curled up in one. They feel a sense of security inside a box, bag, or igloo-shaped bed. 

Related article: Why do cats like bags and boxes? 

The acrobat

The “acrobat” is when the cat lays down on their back with their four paws stretched out as far as possible. The cat’s head may be at an odd angle. Although this position doesn’t look very comfortable, it gives the cat a feeling of security and comfort. Cats often sleep in this position with their heads hanging off the side of a chair. 

Belly up

The “belly up” position is when the cat lies on their back, exposing their belly to the world. This is usually seen when cats are very relaxed and comfortable in their environment. 

On their back

This position shows that a cat feels safe and secure in their environment. It shows they trust you and are comfortable enough to show you their vulnerable side. The pose often looks funny and unnatural but it is how many cats choose to sleep. 

Paw across face

When a cat places one of its paws over its face, it can often mean that the cat is feeling content. The cat may also be trying to get better sleep as they protect their face and cover their eyes, thus blocking out the light. It’s also an adorable position that many people find cute.  

Uncomfortable position

Sometimes, cats can be seen sleeping in what appears to be an uncomfortable position. Cats can sleep anywhere, even if they are balanced on top of something. 

All curled up

This is a classic sleeping position for cats. They curl their body into a tight ball, tucking their head between their paws and legs to keep warm. This position gives them the feeling of security and comfort that they need to get a good night’s sleep. 

Related article: Why do cats lay in the sun?


This position is when a cat wraps its body into a loose, curled shape. It can be seen as a sign of comfort, as it allows the cat to curl up and remain warm while they sleep. 

In the litter box

Some cats may choose to sleep in their litter box. This could mean they don’t feel secure in their environment and are trying to find a safe place to rest. Litter box sleeping may indicate stress or a lack of litter boxes in a multiple-cat home. The cat may feel that he needs to protect the litter box so that it’s available to use when he needs to. Sleeping in a litter box isn’t healthy, and this behavior should be addressed. You can check out the article ‘why is my cat sleeping in the litter box?’ to find out how to solve the problem. 

In bed with owners

For some cats, sleeping in the same bed as their owners is the ultimate sign of trust and comfort. This shows that your cat trusts you enough to allow them to be close to you while they sleep. 

Sitting up

This is when a cat lays down, but keeps their body and head upright. This position can be seen as a sign of alertness and curiosity. It varies from the loaf position as the cat will often have his front legs facing forwards rather than tucked underneath his body. 

Lap cat

Some cats love to curl up in their owner’s lap and take a nap. This is a sign of trust and affection, as the cat allows their owner to be close while resting. 


This is when a cat lies on its side with their front legs tucked in, and the back legs stretched out. This position can mean the cat feels relaxed and content in its environment. 

With half-shut eyes

When a cat’s eyes are almost closed while they sleep, they are resting but keeping an eye on what’s going on at the same time. This position is often seen when cats are in the company of their owners or other familiar animals. 

Companion sleeping

Some cats prefer to sleep near another cat or kitten. This is a sign of trust and companionship, as the cats are comfortable enough to share their space while they sleep. Cats that live together and get on well often sleep curled up and groom each other. 

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Curled up with a dog

Some cats can be found sleeping curled up next to their canine friends. This is a sign that your pet trusts their doggy companion and is comfortable enough to rest in their company. 

Under a blanket

Some cats prefer to snuggle under a blanket while they sleep. This can be seen as a sign of security, as the cat is trying to keep warm and block out any potential disturbances. 


A more alert sleeping pose is known as the “kneading” position. This is when a cat pushes their paws alternately into whatever they’re lying on as if they were kneading dough. This position is usually adopted when the cat feels safe and comfortable and is half asleep. Cats will often knead their bed or cushion to get comfortable before they go to sleep. 


In a sprawled position, cats stretch out across whatever surface they’re lying on, usually with their legs in a splayed fashion. This position is often adopted when the cat is feeling hot and needs to cool down. 

Cat sleeping positions and what they mean: Final thoughts

Cats have many different sleeping positions, and each one can tell us something about our furry friends. Whether they’re kneading, sprawled out, or taking a quick cat nap, understanding their sleeping habits can help us understand and care for them.

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