What Does Your Cat's Sleep Position Mean?


Cats can spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping as they recoup from their nighttime zoomies and midnight play sessions! Most felines will snooze in a range of positions but usually have their preferred one as they enter deep sleep. But did you know, the position in which your cat sleeps can actually tell you things about them?

Among other things, your cat’s resting position can indicate just how well they're sleeping. Sometimes your fur baby will be zonked out in dreamland, whereas other times, they may be ‘cat-napping.’ The way your cat sleeps can also be indicative of their current mood or anxiety levels.

Sleep Positions Decoded 

Here are the most common sleeping arrangements you will see and what they say about your cat or kitten!

Curled up 

What does your cats sleep position mean

A kitty asleep with their tail wrapped around their body and head tucked in is one of the cutest snoozes you can witness. Wild cats sleep in this way to protect their vital organs should there be an attack, and domestic cats still have this particular instinct, so they will often unconsciously choose this position as the default.  

Your feline may be sleeping in this way to conserve body heat. Therefore, this is a typical resting posture for those living in colder climates. What’s more, hugging their bodies can bring kitties a feeling of comfort if they feel insecure or unprotected in their current environment.  

Bread Loaf 

What does your cats sleep position mean

Does your kitty ever look like a loaf of bread when they sleep? This upright position with the front paws tucked inward is favored for light snoozing. If your cat is asleep in this position, they will be dozing very lightly while remaining slightly alert of their surroundings. You will notice that in this position they tend to perk up and open their eyes at every major noise or movement around them.

The positioning of the bread loaf tuck means they can bounce into action within a second if needed. Your feline will choose this position when they feel relaxed in their surroundings but don’t want or need a deep sleep session. 

Belly Up 

What does your cats sleep position mean

This is the sleeping position that melts the heart of every cat parent. When your cat sleeps with its most vulnerable part of its body exposed to you, it shows ultimate trust between a cat and their owner. They feel safe enough to give up their protective instincts and relax. A feline will only sleep in this position, if they detect no threats around them, so try to resist the belly rubs and honor that they're trusting you! 

Furthermore, suppose you have multiple kitties who sleep together with their bellies exposed. In that case, they are totally at ease with each other and it's likely they've bonded!


What does your cats sleep position mean

Like the belly-up stance, a cat sleeping sideways is very comfortable and relaxed. The kitty’s belly is still partly exposed, as they are confident that they are safe. Additionally, they might stretch out their arms and legs into a sideways superman position to get a little more comfortable. If so, they’re most likely inching into a deep sleep. Your cat could sleep for hours in this position and not stir once despite any activity and movement going on around them.  

One Eye Open 

What does your cats sleep position mean

One incredible skill that felines possess is to sleep with one eye open, seriously! This talent is required in the wild where they are not in a safe environment but still need to get their 40 winks. Sleeping with one eye closed and the other open allows a cat to remain semi alert and ready to react to any threat or sudden movement in an instance. The skill allows for a lighter version of sleep to ensure they're rested enough to carry on but aware of any oncoming threats. 

So why would your fur baby sleep like this in the comfort of their home, free from predators? Cat’s like to take up this position if they are bored as it passes the time and engages their primal instincts.

Paw Covering Eyes 

What does your cats sleep position mean

The cuteness of a sleeping kitty covering its eyes with its paw is enough to cause your heart to flutter. However, a cat covers its face as a way to tell you they want privacy. So, when you see your fur baby doing this, give them the space they want rather than trying to capture a shot of the endearing pose. On the other hand, your feline may do this as a way to block out light, especially if the room is overly bright and disturbing their rest. 

Sleeping In A Box

What does your cats sleep position mean

Cat’s choose to sleep in small, confined spaces like boxes because it makes them feel safe. If you see your cat sleeping in a box, it’s because they seek solitude and would prefer to be left alone. In households with young children or other pets, felines tend to find a small box to rest in when they want some quiet away from the chaos. 

If your kitty does this frequently, you may want to think about how you can make them feel more secure and relaxed in the home. For example, you could provide them with a comfy, enclosed bed in a quiet spot somewhere in the house.  

What Does It Mean If Your Cat Sleeps On You? 

What does your cats sleep position mean

We are blessed with an abundance of love and affection from our fur babies. There is no better way for a cat to show its love for its owner than to doze off right on top of them. However, there are other reasons why a cat sleeps on its owner. 

  • Remember that cats are territorial creatures. Your cat could sleep on you to mark you as their territory, especially if you have other cats or pets. In fact, in multi-cat households, you may notice your kitties fighting for the spot on your lap as they try to claim their "turf".  
  • Another reason your cat may sleep on you is for warmth. In colder weather, your cat’s fur coat may not be enough to keep them toastie, so they look for additional heat sources. This is also why cats sleep in sunny windows, under a heater, in the laundry pile, or even right on top of your laptop (usually while you're in the middle of typing). 
  • Lastly, as their caregiver, your kitty knows they are safe with you. Sometimes they just like to stay near you because they feel a sense of security. If your kitty lays on you to take a nap, they trust you completely to keep them safe. 

As cat owners, we’re always trying to recognize our fur babies’ wants and needs so we can give them the best care possible. Decoding your kittie’s sleeping position will help you understand how they're feeling and what you can do to make them feel safe and comfortable always.