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21 Cat Sleeping Positions Explained (With Pictures)

cat sleeping outdoors
Image Credit: hapibu, Pixabay
Last Updated on November 23, 2023 by Catster Editorial Team

Interested in why your cat sleeps the way it does? You’re not alone. Cat owners are intrigued by the unorthodox sleeping positions of the feline community. In this post, we’re explaining 21 sleeping positions and why cats love them. But watch out—two positions could be a medical concern. Let’s get started.

Jump ahead by clicking on the different topics of cat sleeping positions:

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The 13 Cat Sleeping Positions

Every cat has their go-to position for a blissful snooze, but each cat chooses a position based on warmth and protection. Let’s begin with the most popular postures and the benefits of each one.

Cat sleeping positions 1
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1. The Classic Loaf

The classic cat loaf is one of the most popular cat positions, with no paw in sight. Cats like this position because it’s cozy and traps their body heat. It also allows cats to jump up quickly should they need to run away.

cat sleeping in loaf position
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

2. The Half-Loaf

The half-loaf is like the classic loaf, except the front paws barely poke out in front. This gives the cat a faster response time if it needs to hide.

cat sleeping in a half loaf position
Image Credit: InstagramFOTOGRAFIN, Pixabay

3. The Croissant

This position is when your cat turns into a delicious French biscuit. Cats like to curl into a tight crescent shape, almost into a ball, with the back paws touching the forehead. This is a great position for staying warm and protecting vital organs while enjoying a deep sleep.

Cat Sleeping
Image Credit: 272447, Pixabay

4. The Log

When your cat lays flat on its belly with its legs stretched as far as they’ll go, it’s doing The Log. This position means your cat is carefree, confident, and comfortable. All the vital organs are exposed, but your cat believes it’s safe from harm.

You should avoid rubbing your cat’s belly when in this position unless you’re positive your cat won’t mind.

Image Credit: PHONSIN AUPPACHAI, Shutterstock

5. The Superman

Also called splooting, this position is when the cat lies on its belly like it’s about to take flight.

Cats like this position for a variety of reasons. Cats can lay bellies on cold floor tiles during the blistering summer months. Laying on a blanket or carpet helps conserve body heat during the winter. In both cases, the vital organs are protected, and the cat can spring into action if needed.

orange polydactyl cat sleeping
Image Credit: Lux Blue, Shutterstock

6. The Side Sprawl

Cats that need to stretch their legs during a kitty snooze may enjoy the Side Sprawl. Sleeping felines will stretch their legs as far as possible and sometimes make biscuits along the way. If they have the space, cats will take advantage of the Side Sprawl.

We find that cats that enjoy personal space tend to be side sprawlers, compared to the cats who prefer close croissant cuddles.

orange cat sleeping on grass
Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

7. The Pretzel

Also called The Contortionist, this position exhibits a cat’s natural flexibility. It may not look comfortable, but cats can twist their bodies into fuzzy pretzel shapes thanks to their loose joints.

Cats typically lay on their backs to do the pretzel, but they can lay in any position they want. The rest is up to the cat.

8. The Faceplant

Cats in the Classic Loaf or Half Loaf positions may nod off to the point where they faceplant into the ground, head first. It’s an odd sleeping position, but it works. Cats will opt for loafing positions when they crave security, but sometimes drowsiness wins, and their noggin’ touches the ground.

Cat sleeping positions 2
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9. The Little Spoon

Is your kitty a snuggle bug? Some cats always want a sleeping buddy and prefer to be the little spoon. Cats may choose their owner, the dog, or another cat to snuggle next to. Either one will work as long as there’s another heartbeat next to your kitty.

orange twin cats sleeping
Image Credit: Tucker Horan Media, Shutterstock

10. The Visor

The sun can disrupt sleep cycles, especially with nocturnal creatures like cats. The simple solution for your cat is to cover its eyes with its paws. Cats are already in a side plant or croissant position, so their front paws can easily block their eyes. The sleeping position is adorable, to say the least.

white cat sleep
Image Credit: Shanon, Pixabay

11. The Ab Crunch

It’s called The Ab Crunch, but cats aren’t walking away with beautifully sculpted abs in this sleeping position. Cats sometimes fall asleep with their backs slightly elevated, giving the illusion that they were working out before they dozed off.

12. The Kitty Pile

One of the first behaviors kittens learn is to pile on each other for maximum comfort and warmth. Some cats continue with this behavior, especially close-knit siblings. Unrelated cats will do the same, especially if they’ve known each other their entire lives, but you see it frequently with siblings.

kittens sleeping
Image Credit: Pixabay

13. The Half and Half

At some point, you’ll notice your cat sleeping with its eyes partially open. It’s a little creepy but completely normal.

Like humans, cats have sleep levels, so some periods of sleep are deeper than others. Cats sleep with their eyes open when casually catching a few ZZZ’s and not entering dreamland. This allows cats to stay on alert if needed.

Cats also have a third eyelid, which offers protection even when sleeping. The third eyelid stays closed slightly when the outer eyelids open, so your cat can rest.

a cat sleeping with one eye half open
Image Credit: mariya_m, Pixabay

3 cat face dividerThe 6 Places Where Cats Sleep

Their unique flexibility allows cats to squeeze into spaces humans and dogs can’t reach. Here are some neat places you’ll often find your cat snoozing:

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14. On Your Chest

Nothing beats a purring cat resting against your heartbeat. Cats love spending quality time with their owners, and lying on the chest is one way to feel connected with the one who offers food. Speaking of food, your chest is the perfect pawing zone when the clock strikes kibble time.

cat sleeping on its owner's chest
Image Credit: Maliflower73, Shutterstock

15. Crammed in a Box

Thank you, Amazon, for providing the world’s cats with sleeping quarters. Cats love boxes simply because they offer security and protection. Better yet, they’re fun to hide inside while they wait for you to walk by and attack!

A ginger cat sleeps in box paper, selective focus
Image Credit: CPM PHOTO, Shutterstock

16. Under a Blanket

Blankets are warm, cozy, and safe. They act as a shield from other animals and loud noises. They also offer privacy in a way that cat beds and boxes can’t provide. But should you be worried about letting Fluffy under the covers? Not at all. Watch out not to squish them, and your cats will be fine!

A cat sleeping between croshceted linen
Image Credit: Bairyna, Pixabay

17. Between Your Legs

If you haven’t noticed, cats like to sleep in between things. The space between your legs is nice because it isn’t restrictive, and you’re close by for casual cuddles.

sleepy cat laying on the lap of owner
Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock

18. On Your Feet

Cats choose to sleep on your feet for several reasons. Sleeping on your feet is another way for your cat to snuggle with you. Your feet could also be warm and offer peace of mind during deep rest.

cat sleeping on person's feet
Image Credit: Valeriia Miller, Unsplash

19. On Your Head

Like sleeping on your feet, your head is warm, allowing your cat to squeeze in snuggle time. Cats understand that your head is where your face is and will often sleep on your head to protect you.

3 cat face dividerWhen to Worry About Your Cat

There are a couple of times when you should be concerned for your cat. Call your veterinarian for further instructions if you notice your cat doing these things.

When to worry cat dangerous sleeping positions
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Sleeping in the Litter Box

Sleeping in the litter box can stem from various reasons, but the most common causes are illness and fear.

Cats will sit in their stank if they feel threatened, frightened, and unsure of their surroundings. The litter box is full to the brim of its scent and is usually located in a quiet place, so it feels secure.

Other times, cats sit in the litter box if they feel crummy, usually from UTIs and other digestive issues. Senior cats suffering from arthritis or dementia are often found in the litter box because they struggle to walk to or find the box.

Pregnancy is another factor for sleeping in the litter box, although this one isn’t as common since most cats are spayed. Still, pregnant cats may choose to sleep in the litter box simply because waddling back and forth isn’t ideal.

Ginger cat sleeping in litter box
Image Credit: pp1, Shutterstock

Head Pressing

Head pressing is when your cat firmly presses its head against a wall or object for no reason and for an extended period. Cats that head press generally keep pressing their heads over and over, moving along the wall until they’re stuck in a corner. It may look like your cat is sleeping against the wall.

In addition, you may notice other odd symptoms in your cat, like vertigo, disorientation, behavior changes, and damage to the eyes from constant head pressing. This isn’t the same as a cat rubbing its face on yours, nor is it the same as head bonking. These are normal behaviors seen in a healthy, happy kitty.

Unfortunately, head pressing is a serious medical issue related to the brain, and it should be evaluated immediately.

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Cats are crazy critters with weird sleeping positions. For many, the Classic Loaf or Croissant is their go-to for a good night’s sleep. But a cat’s flexibility allows it to sleep in all kinds of positions. What position does your cat like the most?

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Featured Image Credit: hapibu, Pixabay

About the Author

Cassidy Sutton
Cassidy Sutton
Cassidy is a professional pet sitter and vet tech turned writer whose passion is all things animals, both wild and domestic. She’s had dozens of pets and loves writing about the animal-human bond. She and her husband now live in Wichita with a German shepherd named Raven, two cats, Lucy and Strudel, and a few backyard chickens. 

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