Here’s a New Sport for Cats: Competitive Sleeping


Sleeping. Cats take it seriously. I admire their dedication. Their focus. Their energy (or lack thereof). For kitties, it’s never just a nap; it’s a competition as to whose siesta is sweetest, whose dozing is the most divine.

My cats gave me access to the private world of feline competitive sleeping, and allowed me to take pictures of them while they train. I had to agree not to wake them up during practice (unless it’s dinner time), to step over them when they’re on the stairs and to give up my office chair as a training area, but it’s worth it just to watch these sleepletes at their best.

The following are photos taken from the sessions I’ve observed, and are mostly of Calvin Tiberius Katz, who is our most skillful snoozer. Like human gymnastics, diving, freestyle skiing or half-pipe snowboarding, the more difficult the maneuvers or positions, the more points it is possible to earn.

Comfy Kitty Ball in the Tucked Position

This is Calvin’s standby. Notice the cat’s tail and paws curled tightly, with just an eartip and a bit of paw sticking out. He’ll have to work on that.

Competitive Cat Sleeping Comfy Kitty Ball
Comfy Kitty Ball in the Tucked Position: An easy one and a crowd favorite. Calvin has it nearly perfect. (All photos by Susan C. Willett of

Curved Kitty with a Curled/Straight Paw Combination

This is a little trickier, as one paw must be straight and the other in the cute curled paw position. Calvin has it down, though the judges may take points off for a slight tip to the straight leg.

Competitive Sleeping Curved Kitty with Curled Paw Straight Paw
Curved Kitty with a Curled/Straight Paw Combination. Notice the nearly 90-degree angle of the curved paw. Well done, Calvin.

Broccoli Paws in the Pike Position

This difficult maneuver requires all four paws to align like a bunch of organic broccoli rubberbanded together at Whole Foods. Extra points are awarded for jellybean toe visibility.

Broccoli Paws in the Pike Position
Broccoli Paws in the Pike Position. Calvin is properly broccled here, though his fourth leg is not visible. He’d lose points for that in competition.

Reverse Twisting Backbend

Notice Calvin’s flexibility as his head and hindquarters create that elusive V-shape. His tail is neatly tucked in, and his paws add a touch of adorability much appreciated by the judges.

Feline Competitive Sleeping Reverse Twisting Backbend
Reverse Twisting Backbend: Calvin likes to practice this one on my office chair. That’s when I’m relegated to the kitchen.

Upside Down Quadruple Cute Paw with a Half Twist

Not every cat has mastered the quad, but Calvin is one of the few. Extra points are awarded for its high degree of difficulty — and cuteness.

Upside Down Quadruple Cute Paw with a Half Twist
Upside Down Quadruple Cute Paw with a Half Twist. Calvin performs the quad easily, with his front paws in the cute “hug” position, and his back paws in the more traditional but equally adorable curly toe position.

Upside Down Bunny Feet with a Full Twist

Calvin’s sister Elsa Clair specializes in the most difficult sleep positions, and this is one of them. No other cat comes close to pulling it off, and she is nearly unbeatable when she nails this one.

Upside Down Bunny Feet with a Full Twist
Upside Down Bunny Feet with a Full Twist: Notice how Elsa Clair’s tail touches her head. You’ve got to admire the artistry and beauty of this one.

New for 2016: Synchronized Sleeping

All the cats are excited about this new event that will debut in the 2016 season. Calvin has teamed up with Athena to try and qualify. But first they have to stop hissing at each other.

Athena and Calvin practice Synchronized Sleeping
Athena and Calvin have a long way to g if they want to medal in Synchronized Sleeping. Maybe if they stop swatting each other?

Are your cats sleepletes? What are their best positions?

About the author: Susan C. Willett is a writer, photographer, and blogger whose award-winning original stories, photography, poetry, and humor can be found at Life With Dogs and Cats. She lives in New Jersey with four cats and three dogs (all rescues) and at least a couple of humans — all of whom provide inspiration for her work. Refusing to take sides in the interweb’s dogs vs. cats debate, Susan enjoys observing the interspecies interaction among the varied inhabitants of her home — like living in a reality TV show, only furrier. In addition to Life With Dogs and Cats, you can find more Dawn, Athena, Calvin and Elsa Clair (and the rest of the gang) on Haiku by Dog™, Haiku by Cat™, and Dogs and Cats Texting.

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