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The Secret Meaning Behind Cat Sleeping Positions

Stephanie Dube Dwilson
brown cat sleeping on floor next to outlet with Comfort Zone diffuser plugged in

Did you know that every cat sleeping position has a special meaning? From the lovable and meme-worthy "cat loaf" to the calm and happy "spluff" pose, your cat's pawsitively adorable sleeping positions can tell you a lot about your furry friend. Here's how to interpret every snuggle, stretch and yawn.

1. Cat Spluff

The "spluff" position is part sprawl, part fluff and totally cute. It's your cat's way of showing she feels safe, happy and relaxed.1 You'll notice she has a relaxed, blissful expression on her face, an exposed belly and a slack tail and paws. When your cat's in this position, you know she's reached her ultimate relaxation state. Sometimes she'll stretch out with her entire belly exposed, and sometimes she'll have a slight curl to her back. Any time your cat lies with her belly in the air, whether partially or 100 percent exposed, it's a sign she feels safe and secure.

2. Cat Loaf

The "cat loaf" is so popular it's become an internet meme. When sleeping like this, your cat has her front paws tucked and crossed completely beneath her, and her back legs are tucked, so she resembles a bread loaf. Any time a cat sleeps with her body pulled in tightly like this, she's conserving heat while feeling relaxed and comfy.2

3. Crouching Semi-Loaf

Sometimes you may notice your cat almost reaches the loaf position, but he's not fully relaxed. He may be sleeping in a more "crouched" position with his front paws flat on the ground beneath his body or out in front of him.3 He might even sleep while sitting up. This is a less relaxed and more alert position that allows him to jump into action quickly if needed.

4. Tight Curl

Many cats love to sleep curled in tight balls with their tails curled close to their bodies, and their heads are typically on their front paws. In the wild, this position can help cats be tougher to see, and it helps them stay warmer.4 The curl is also much easier to jump up from, and your cat can simply open her eyes and look if she hears a noise. However, for most cats, this is simply a favorite, comfy sleeping position. When she's sleeping like this, she might also put a paw over her eye to block out the light.

Sometimes your cat may sense your presence and convert from her regular sleeping position to a tightly curled ball with her belly just slightly exposed. This is her way of telling you she's happy you're near, and you're welcome to pet her gently. (But always be cautious if you attempt to pet her belly; cats don't typically enjoy a belly rub like dogs do.)

5. Side Sleeping

If your cat's lying stretched out on his side with most of his midsection on the ground, then he might be trying to cool off.5 If you're outside during the day, he might retreat to the concrete in the shade and lie in this position to cool down. You'll often see cats lying like this on the tile in your home if they get a little overheated. Make sure your kitty has plenty of water, and you might even consider turning down your AC, so the house is a little cooler.

6. The Monorail

Cats are downright creative in the way they sleep. You may notice your cat sleeping on the arm of your couch, a handrail or a fence beam with his front legs hanging low in front of him.6 His back legs might be hanging down too, and he'll have his head down with an almost "woebegone" type of expression. This is sometimes called a "monorail," and large, wild cats often use it when sleeping in big trees. It's a comfortable position where your cat feels safe.

7. Snuggling Up (with Another Cat or You)

Two cats sleeping snuggled up together are absolutely adorable. They may do this when they're a little cold, but they'll only sleep close together when they love and trust each other completely.

If your cat sleeps cuddled up in your lap during the day or snuggled on your chest or legs at night, then you're one very lucky cat owner! This is a sign of love and trust. Cats are also more likely to seek out your body heat when it's cold. If you keep your house cooler at night, you might notice your cat snuggling close more frequently.

8. Head Press

Some cats have a peculiar sleeping position where they press their head right into the ground in front of them. They might be sleeping in the cat loaf position on a blanket, but their face is pressed into the blanket as well. Sometimes this is just another way of blocking out the light. Or, it could be one of your cat's sleeping positions when she's feeling sick. If your cat sleeps like this frequently, ask your veterinarian if it's normal.

Where Your Cat Sleeps Is Telling, Too

Where your cat sleeps can tell you just as much as how he sleeps. Cats may sleep on a tall cat tree, so they feel more confident. If your cat sleeps on your bed, he may choose a position that lets him see out your bedroom door more easily. If he's curled up in a ball under your bed or in a quiet corner, then he may be hiding. Cats who sleep under the covers might love being close to you, or they might be hiding to feel safer.

If Your Cat Seems Stressed, Comfort Zone Can Help

A lowered tail, spraying or destructive scratching, or even excessive meowing can be a sign of stress. If you think your cat feels too stressed to relax, Comfort Zone products can help his e-meow-tional health. These products mimic your cat's natural pheromones, letting him know everything's OK and promote relaxation.

Plug the Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser with Opticalm Diffuser in the rooms where your cat spends the most time. If you have more than one cat, use the Comfort Zone Multi-Cat Diffuser with Opticalm Diffuser.

Put the Comfort Zone Calming Pheromone Collar on your cat to help him relax wherever he is, whether he's indoors or outdoors. And spray the Comfort Zone Spray & Scratch Control Spray on any objects that are the targets of spraying or scratching to help curb the destructive behavior.

Cats love to sleep, and adult cats usually spend about 16 hours a day in some form of napping. Learning the meaning behind your cat's different sleeping positions may help you know what your cat's thinking.

1. Comfort Zone Products. "How to Spluff." Facebook.com, 5 March 2021, https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=337560157677090.

2. Parker, Emily. "Cat Sleeping Position Meanings." Catalogical, https://www.catological.com/cat-sleeping-positions-mean/.

3. Jackson Galaxy. "What Sleeping Positions Say About Your Cat." YouTube.com, 8 August 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKKQw0kQAt4.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Jackson Galaxy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKKQw0kQAt4.

Category: Cat Behavior | Comfort Zone