The Language of Cat Naps: 11 Common Cat Napping Positions And What They Mean 

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Have you ever looked at your sleeping cat and wondered, “Why does she sleep like that?” 

Believe it or not, a cat’s sleeping position says a lot about her social tendencies, personality, and how she’s feeling. 

This article lists some of the most common cat napping positions and what they could mean. 

1. Curled In a Ball 

A black cat cuddles up into a ball in a basket

The curled-up sleeping position serves two purposes: to maximize body heat for warmth and to protect vital organs. 

In this pose, a cat curls up in a tight ball, with the head bent close to the feet and the tail tucked in. 

You’ll often find your cat sleeping in this curled-up position in a quiet, cozy place where they feel safe from potential threats.

2. Belly Up

To a cat, the belly is the most vulnerable part of the body. After all, it’s where all their vital organs are located. So when your cat sleeps on her back, with her paws stretched out and her belly fully exposed, it’s a sign that she feels safe and comfortable around you and the environment. 

Some cat owners call this position the “belly trap” because as soon as they reach to give their cat’s belly a little rub, their cat attacks! 

Resist the urge to pet her belly while she’s in this vulnerable state and let her sleep undisturbed. She’ll thank you for it!

Recommended: Think Outside the Basket: 10 Creative Cat Nap Station Ideas Your Cat Will Love

3. Sideways Sleeper 

Similar to the belly-up position, the sideways sleeper pose is another indication that your cat feels safe and relaxed in her environment. 

In this pose, a cat sleeps on her side with her legs stretched out and her belly partially exposed. 

This position allows her to quickly spring into action if needed (those midnight treats won’t eat themselves!) while still being able to relax and rest comfortably. 

4. Paw Over Face 

When a cat sleeps with one or both of her paws on her face, she’s telling you that she’s had a long day (of eating and running around, no doubt) and wants nothing more but to sleep in peace. 

This position blocks light, noise, and even dust or pollen, letting your cat fall asleep faster and deeper. 

If you see your cat sleeping in this position, dim the lights and keep noise to a minimum to help her have an uninterrupted sleep. 

5. Perched On Furniture 

Cats instinctively seek out elevated areas to rest and sleep. 

Perching on furniture—whether on the cat tree, on top of a bookshelf, or the arm of a couch—lets them sleep feeling secure knowing they have the advantage of height. 

On furniture, they can avoid the dreaded vacuum, a child’s sticky fingers, and a dog’s curious nose. It also gives them a panoramic view of the surroundings, allowing them to keep their eye on potential prey (read: suspicious toys and other pets). 

6. Superman Pose

In this pose, your cat lies on her belly and stretches out her front and back paws—much like Superman mid-flight! 

This sleeping position, comfortable and relaxing as it may be, lets your cat spring into action if the need arises. 

If your cat is sleeping Superman-style on a tile floor, it could mean that your cat’s a bit overheated and appreciates a cooler surface to rest on. 

7. Cuddling With Other Cats

2 cats cuddling on someone's lap
Source: bbfineart2

Though mostly known for their independent nature, it isn’t uncommon for cats—especially house cats—to form strong bonds with other cats. 

Bonded pairs often find comfort and security in napping close together. They’d huddle for warmth and protection, or simply because they enjoy each other’s company. 

Cats also find comfort in the sound of another cat’s purr. 

Also Check: 8 Homemade DIY Small Cat Room Ideas

8. Pretzel Pose

The Pretzel is a funny one because it makes a cat look as though she doesn’t have bones! 

Also known as the Contortionist, this sleeping position appears as though a cat is about to tie themselves in a knot. It may look wildly uncomfortable but in truth, this sleeping position is harmless. 

Cats are among the most flexible animals on the planet, and sleeping in pretzel-like positions lets them maximize their comfort while staying alert and aware of their surroundings. 

9. Croissant Pose

The Croissant is much like the curled-in-a-ball pose, except the cat isn’t fully curled up. 

Instead, she’d lie on her side with her back legs tucked under her body and her front legs extended in a croissant or moon position. 

This pose conserves body heat while offering a good balance between comfort and alertness. 

10. On Your Lap 

When a cat sleeps on your lap, it’s the ultimate sign of trust. To cats, your lap has it all—it’s soft, comfortable, elevated, and warm. Plus, it smells like you! 

Cats often sleep on their owner’s lap either because they’re cold or want to cuddle close to them. They also likely want to be petted until they fall asleep. 

This sort of affection is hard to come by, so think yourself lucky if your cat loves sleeping on your lap! 

11. Cat Loaf 

Grey cat sleeping in a croissant position
Source: abu.sinaga

Cats sleeping in this position tuck their back and front paws underneath their body, with their head held up, creating an adorable “loaf” of fur. 

This position protects their vital organs and preserves their body heat. It’s also the ideal position for jumping up in a split second if needed. 

They may look completely chill but in truth, they’re alert to their surroundings. They’re likely taking a quick cat nap rather than a deep sleep. 

Final Thoughts 

Understanding the reason behind a cat’s sleeping position can give you an idea of your feline friend’s mood and comfort level. 

If she’s sleeping on her back with her belly exposed, it’s a sure sign of trust and comfort. If she’s sleeping in a tightly curled ball, she might be feeling a bit chilly or seeking security. Every sleeping position has a meaning!