The Different Cat Sleeping Positions Explained

Written by Emily Wolfel
Updated: February 9, 2023
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Key Points:
  • In the “loaf of bread” sleeping position, you see a cat lying upright with all its paws tucked underneath.
  • The “crescent cat” sleeping position helps your cat get warmer.
  • Sleeping in a space similar to a box, like a cave or a subterranean hole, is a typical behavior of wild ancestors and relatives of domestic cats.

To cat lovers everywhere, there is so much more to sleeping cats than just the peacefulness and innocence they show. Each cat’s sleeping position has a certain meaning. Understanding these sleeping positions can help you become a better cat parent.

Have you ever wondered what the different cat positions mean? Let’s study the following questions and find out if your cat assumes any of the known cat positions.

Does Your Cat Sleep Like a Bread Loaf?

Sleeping shaped like a loaf of bread is a popular cat sleeping position. In this position, you see a cat lying upright with all its paws tucked underneath. Your cat looks like a content, living loaf of bread with its eyes closed. Cats in the bread loaf position do not have REM sleep. Your cat stays alert and conserves energy while having a quick nap. Your cat needs proper rest while guarding the territory.

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The crouching semi-bread loaf position is mostly like the bread loaf position but with the front paws exposed and flat on the ground. This is much less laid-back. Your cat is even more alert in this sleeping position. Jumping into action will be quicker if your cat needs to.

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Is Your Cat Like a Ball of Fur While Sleeping?

This is also known as the crescent cat sleeping position. You may have seen your cat in this common position while sleeping. This manner of sleeping helps your cat get warmer. It also protects your cat’s vulnerable throat and vital organs.

Wild felines often assume this sleeping position. Your cat may also sleep this way during moments of insecurity. The crescent position helps them feel safe and secure.

Does Your Cat Sleep With an Exposed Belly?

Sleeping with the belly up is called the belly trap position. This cat sleeping position is a trap because a cat’s exposed belly can be tempting to rub. A cat’s belly can be very irresistible to most cat parents and cat lovers. If your cat sleeps with the belly up, then your feline has a good relationship with you. This is a vulnerable sleeping position and assuming it shows how much trust your cat has in you and your living space.

Does Your Cat Love to Sleep in Boxes?

Studies and documentaries show that all cats love cardboard boxes. Cats just have more access to boxes than any other member of the Family Felidae. They love to play, sit, and sleep in it. A simple cardboard box provides protection for your beloved furry companion. To cats, a box offers safety from enemies and the elements. Sleeping in a space similar to a box, like a cave or a subterranean hole, is a common behavior of their wild ancestors and relatives.

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Does Your Cat Sleep With Eyes Half-Shut?

If your cat sleeps with half-open and half-closed eyes, then your cat is alert while napping. Your cat can wake up right away while still resting. This helps your cat avoid any possible dangers. A cat who is the clear, dominant force in your home wants to watch out for the territory. Having a new puppy or a houseguest can cause your cat to assume this sleeping position.

Is Your Cat a Side Sleeper?

Cats sleeping sideways is a common position. It is the same as the belly trap position. Even if it does not expose the belly that much, it is still a susceptible sleeping position. Your cat may seem sound asleep, but it is just napping. This is a comfortable sleeping position, showing that your cat feels safe in your home.

Does Your Cat Look Broken While Sleeping?

Your cat can look strange with legs spread out in every direction, head at a weird angle, and body almost off the couch. Most people do not see this as a comfortable sleeping position at all. Animal behaviorists still do not know the cat logic behind this position. Science cannot explain it. But if your cat loves it, it is best not to argue with the sleeping claws.

Is Your Cat Comfortable Sleeping on You?

This intimate cat sleeping position shows how solid, trusting, loving, and close your relationship is with your cat. Your cat wants to feel more secure and safe by sleeping on your body. Cats are predators. They are hard-wired to be alert all the time. This position allows your cat to feel relaxed and rested. You may not feel comfortable sleeping this way, but you can feel the satisfaction that your cat trusts you this much.

Does Your Cat Have Paws Across the Face While Sleeping?

Paws across the face while sleeping means that your cat does not want to be disturbed while sleeping. This is a deep sleep position. Animal behaviorists say that this is a natural, protective position. If your cat wakes up suddenly from this position, do not expect your cat to be in a good mood.

Is Your Cat Well-Hidden During Sleep?

Cuddling up in sock drawers, beds, couches, laundry, or blankets is a way for your cat to hide and get warm. Cats want to surround themselves with anything that can tuck them in or cover them up while sleeping. Your cat may be feeling vulnerable at the time.

Does Your Cat Sit Up While Dozing Off?

You may often see your cat sitting up, with eyes closed and tail wrapped around the paws. This is often a position for short naps, lasting for about 15-20 minutes. Your cat may be waiting on you for treats or dinner while getting a little rest. Waking up at a moment’s notice is easier in this position.

Is Your Cat Fond of Playing Superman When Asleep?

This is an adorable cat sleeping position in which your cat is stretched out, belly flat on the ground, with front and back paws stretched out. It resembles Superman flying. This position shows how comfortable and calm your cat is in your living space. Your cat can fall into a deep sleep in the Superman position.

Does Your Cat Snuggle up With You or Another Feline in the House?

If you have a two- or multi-cat household, you may see your cats snuggled up together or with you while sleeping. This shows that your cat or cats love and trust you and each other. Warmth is another reason for your cat or cats to sleep beside you. You might be surprised to see your cat sleeping beside you in the middle of the night until morning.

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Do You See Your Cat Pressed on the Surface While Sleeping?

Your cat may be in the cat loaf position on a soft cat bed or blanket, with the face in contact with the soft surface sometimes. This is another way to block the light while sleeping soundly. It could also be a way to tell you that your cat is not feeling well. You can bring your cat to the vet if you always see your cat sleeping this way and see if it is normal for your cat.

Is Your Cat Fond of Sleeping on the Edge of Any Surface?

Cats can sleep on the edge of a staircase, couch, or balcony railing. This allows them to feel safe from predators. Your home may have other pets or young children. Your cat will sleep this way to set a distance from them. This sleeping position shows that your cat does not feel safe enough to relax and rest at your level.

Does Your Cat Prefer Narrow Surfaces for Sleeping?

Some cats are creative in finding strange places to sleep. You may find your cat sleeping on a fence, couch arm, or a handrail. In some cases, cats may even sleep on ledges and on the top of doors. This is the monorail cat sleeping position. Your cat’s front and hind legs may hang while sleeping this way. Cats feel safe in this position. Wild relatives use this position while sleeping in trees.

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Products That Can Help Your Cat Sleep Better

Your home is your cat’s domain and kingdom. It is where your cat should feel safe, secure, and comfortable. Providing your cat with the best cat house on the market can reinforce this feeling in your feline. If your cat loves to spend time outdoors, you can build a catio. This will be your cat’s secure place. You can provide a regular outdoor cat house or a heated outdoor cat house if you have cold weather most of the year.

You can also give your cat one of the best wall-mounted cat trees on the market if your cat loves to spend time near you. This can give your cat a safe, elevated space for relaxation. Even if your cat loves your company, some alone time is still necessary. Giving your cat one of the most comfortable cat beds you can get can give your pet more warmth, comfort, and security while sleeping.

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Your cat is just like you or your other pets. Assuming certain sleeping positions is a way to express how your cat feels about your living space and household. It also shows how much trust and love your cat has for you. Awareness of your cat’s sleeping position can help you understand your pet more. This can then enable you to provide what your cat needs from you as your furry companion’s parent and guardian.

Cat Sleeping Positions vs Dog Sleeping Positions

Now that you know about some common positions cats sleep in, has it made you think about the positions that dogs like to take when snoozing? Are there any positions that these pet animals share? Here’s a chart comparing a cat’s sleeping position to a dog’s sleeping position.

Cat Sleep PositionDog Sleep Position
1Loaf of BreadLion’s Pose
2Side SleeperSide Sleeper
4Crescent ShapeDoughnut
5Sleeping on HumanCuddler Bug
6BrokenHead & Neck Raised
7On the BackOn the Back
8On SurfacesOn the Tummy
9Paws Over FaceBack to Back
10In a BoxThe Burrower Position

Up Next…

If you’re a dog lover and can’t get enough of the most interesting and lovable breeds, there’s more where this came from. Read on to discover more amazing dogs.

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The Featured Image

kitten sleeping on its back with its paws raised above its head
If your cat sleeps with its belly exposed, that means that it trusts you.
© Alena Ozerova/

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About the Author

Emily is an editor and content marketing specialist of five years. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania where you can regularly encounter anything from elk to black bears to river otters. Over the years, she raised livestock animals, small animals, dogs, cats, and birds, which is where she learned most of what she knows about various animals and what allowed her to work as a dog groomer and manager of a specialty pet store. She now has three rescue cats and two high-needs Pomeranian mixes to take up her love and attention.

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