Sleeping Positions of Cats and What They Mean

The sleeping positions of cats can reveal a lot about their emotional state. Because velvet paws sleep, snore and doze around 16 hours a day, you have plenty of time to study your pets and find out what there is to learn about them while they sleep.

Sleep is not just sleep: relaxing, dozing, waking

Not everything that looks like sleep to people actually means that your house cat is wallowing in the realm of dreams. Some postures that seem like sleep are just camouflage. In reality, cats are keeping watch or simply enjoying their idleness. Open eyes do not necessarily mean that your cat is really awake. The way your cat lies down says a lot about how safe she feels. The weather also has a big influence on the animals’ sleeping behaviour: on cold days they tend to curl up to store heat, but on hot days they like to stretch out.

Here are typical sleeping positions of your cats and what they mean!

Sleeping position on four paws

In this cat sleeping position the belly and chest are on the floor and the feet are pulled tightly under the body, so that they can put the head on both front paws. The cat appears almost rectangular, like a loaf of white bread.From such a sleeping position the cats can quickly jump up and escape. Furthermore, in this raised position the lungs are relieved. When cats choose this sleeping position, it can have two meanings: Either they are in a concealed lurking position and feel insecure or they have breathing problems.

Half closed eyes while sleeping

The eyes are almost closed and the cat only looks through a very small gap. Optically, this may look a lot like children who slowly close their eyes, but especially during the first half hour of falling asleep, cats are on extreme alert. Even if they look completely dozed off on the outside, the slightest stimulus is enough to startle them.

If your cat covers one eye with her paw and the other is open, she may still be sleeping, because cats, like dolphins or some species of birds, have mastered the so-called hemispheric sleep. This means that only one hemisphere of the brain is sleeping while the other is on guard. Therefore one eye remains open.

Cat sleeping position “The Crescent Moon”

Quasi the classic sleeping position for cats: crescent-shaped rolled up. Only when no immediate danger is to be assumed, the animals lie down like this. Especially when it is cold, a lot of heat is stored.

The crescent is also available in the extended Incognito version: They bury their face under one paw and pull the remaining paws so tightly against the body that unfortunately you can no longer play with the temptingly cute toes of your house cat. And that’s exactly what you’re not supposed to do in this situation, because a lounge lion who curls up like that tries to block out the world and wants his peace.

“The Cuddle Pile” as a cat’s sleeping position

Two or more fur noses cuddle up close together. This phenomenon can only be observed in cats that are very familiar with each other, which is why it usually occurs in velvet paws that have grown up together. This cuddling orgy is an expression of deep relaxation and also says that they regard their cuddling partner as a family.

Sleeping with the stomach up

Stretching all fours on the back – this sleeping position is almost the accolade for every cat owner, because nothing shows so much confidence as this sleeping position. Even if it is tempting, you should not take this as an invitation to belly rubbing in most cats.

“Leave me alone!”: The Defensive Sleep

What looks like sleep is actually an annoying gesture: the cat curls up and turns its back to the action. But she does not lay her head down like she would do for sleep. Instead, one or both ears are pointed backwards. Cats prefer to find a raised sleeping place for this.

Triggers for this behaviour can be stress or pain. If you see this behaviour in your cat more often, please consult a vet.

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