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Home > Cats > 24 Cat Sleeping Positions & What They Mean (With Pictures)

24 Cat Sleeping Positions & What They Mean (With Pictures)

cat sleeping in a cat bed

As pet owners, most of us like to learn everything about our cats in order to provide them with the best life possible. We can learn a lot about them by watching their behavior, how they hold their tail or how they try to communicate with us. Below, we’re going to take a closer look at sleeping positions and what they say about your cat. We will list several different positions, and for each, we’ll give you a summary of what it means and a picture so you can be better informed about your favorite feline.


The 24 Cat Sleeping Positions

1. Belly Up

cat sleeping with its belly up on a cat bed
Image Credit: jdblack, Pixabay

The belly-up position is most pet owners’ favorite as it’s extremely cute, and it can be difficult to resist petting your cat’s belly. However, doing so will usually leave you with a shredded arm, so proceed at your own risk. You have even more reason to celebrate this position because it leaves your cat extremely vulnerable, meaning that it feels completely safe. Not only are their vital organs exposed, but it will take them a long time to get into an upright position that would allow them to escape to safety, so cats will not sleep like this if there is even the slightest hint of danger. Congratulations on providing a good home for your cat.

2. Curled Up

tabby cat sleeping outside
Image Credit: Ben Kerckx, Pixabay

The curled-up position is one of the basic sleeping positions of a comfortable cat. It’s not as exposed as it is with the belly-up, but it’s pretty close. The curled-up cat is protecting its vital organs but trades the ability to quickly get to its feet for comfort, which means it doesn’t feel like it’s in any immediate danger. It likely trusts you and feels safe in its environment.

3. On Its Side

fat calico cat sleeping in the window perch
Image Credit By: Lisa A. Ernst, Shutterstock

The side position is another one that demonstrates your cat’s complete trust in your surroundings and faith in its owner. Cats in this position are often stretching out, and you will find them resting this way below a sunbeam in the window or on the porch. You can tell it feels safe and comfortable because its belly is partially exposed, and it would take a long time to get back on its feet. The cat stretches out outside as carefree and has a strong bond with its owners.

4. One Eye Open

a kitten sleeping with one eye open
Image Credit By: Mammiya, Pixabay

The one-eye open position is not so much a position as an action because it can occur while the cat is sleeping in other positions. If you watch your cat closely enough, it won’t take long before you notice it frequently sleeps with one eye half-open. It’s much more common in kittens and young cats, but you will see it in older adult cats too. While it could be a sign that your cat feels threatened, our experience has shown that cats do this any time they’re worried about their surroundings and want to use the minimum possible effort to know what’s going on.

Cats spend most of the day sleeping, but for much of that time, they’re sleeping quite lightly and will open one eye halfway anytime some action occurs to see if it’s something worth getting up about. We feel that it’s a sign your cat feels comfortable in its surroundings, or it would quickly snap to attention at the slightest sound.

5. The Sphynx (Sitting Up)

cat is sleeping while basking in the sun heat
Image Credit By: qimono, Pixabay

The sphynx position is another common cat sleeping position where the cat essentially falls asleep sitting up, resembling a sphynx. This position is the one a threatened cat will most likely sleep in because its vital organs are protected, and it can immediately start running away from any danger. However, if you notice your cat sleeping in any of the positions we’ve mentioned so far, it’s likely your cat chose this position because it’s in the middle of something and just needs a quick nap. Cats watching you clean the house or birds outside the window will often sleep in this position without feeling threatened or in danger because they get tired quickly and intend to pick up where they left off when they wake up.

6. Hiding

cat sleeping in a cat condo
Image Credit: andrewprieto, Pixabay

When the cat hides away to sleep inside a box, under a bed, or in a cat condo, it’s ready for some deep sleep. Cats take many smaller naps throughout the day, but they usually take at least one long nap in a quiet secluded place where they are unlikely to be disturbed. Cats are curious creatures that like to be in the middle of the action, but they need time to regenerate and often choose these hiding areas in high-traffic homes. We recommend not disturbing the cat if you find it hiding in a quiet area.

7. Pretzel

cat sleeping in a contorted position
Image Credit: Amnezia2b, Pixabay

The pretzel is a sleeping position very similar to the belly up, and it can be any position that makes you contort your head, wondering how and why your cat is sleeping that way. While no human can be sure how twisting your body like a pretzel can be a comfortable sleeping position, the more contorted your cat is, the more likely it feels completely secure and safe in your home.

8. The Half Moon Crescent

cat sleeping in half moon crescent on blankets
Image courtesy of Isabel Ludick

Similar to the pretzel, the half-moon crescent is a belly-up stretched-out position that cats sleep in when they’re fully comfortable with you. If you see your cat stretched into a crescent, you can be sure that they’re happy and comfortable! But you may want to resist the urge to give them a surprise belly rub…

9. Sleeping On Other Pets

cat sleeps on a dog outdoor
Image Credit: FedotovAnatoly, Shutterstock

If you catch your cat sleeping on other pets, it’s a great sign that they are forming a strong bond. Cats are famously picky about who they pal around with, and some cats will never make friends with other pets, so a cat sleeping on another pet is a big deal, and you should be proud of yourself for creating an environment where it’s possible.

10. Sleeping On Your Chest

cat staring its sleeping owner
Image Credit: MOUii, Shutterstock

Having your cat fall asleep on you is one of the greatest honors a pet owner can hope to receive. If your cat sleeps on your chest, it means it’s formed a strong bond with you, and it feels comfortable, warm, and safe. Only a small percentage of cat owners will tell you their cat regularly sleeps on them, so your cat considers you part of the family if it happens for you.

11. By Your Feet

cat paws resting on human feet in bed
Image Credit: Valeriia Miller, Unsplash

If your cat wants to be close to you but not quite on you, it might sleep curled by your feet. That way, your kitty can make sure you’re still there while having a little extra space.

12. Between Your Legs or Arms

cat sleeping on person
Image Credit: matthew halmshaw, Unsplash

Another classic cat sleeping position is between your legs or arms. If your cat is really comfortable with you, it might want to stay close while you sleep. What’s closer than your warm legs or arms?

13. Perched on Your Furniture

cat on couch
Image Credit: Pixabay

We’ve all seen cats perched on the edge of the couch or the top of the fridge. But some cats actually fall asleep in these precarious positions!

14. The Pancake

Milo the cat sleeping like a pancake on bed
Image courtesy of Isabel Ludick

One of the funniest cat sleeping positions is the pancake, where your cat flattens out as much as possible and falls asleep. It’s a more relaxed version of the loaf, where your cat is sleeping more deeply.

15. The Couch Potato

cat sleeping like couch potato
Image courtesy of Isabel Ludick

Vegging out on the couch is a great way to relax after a long day. Your cat likes to relax, too, and the couch potato position reflects that. This sleeping pose might look different on every cat, but you can definitely see the relaxation!

16. In Boxes

black cat lying in box
Image Credit: Luku Muffin, Unsplash

Cats often seek out boxes to hide or sleep in, since they provide a feeling of security. If you have small children or high-energy dogs, your cat may just be trying to find a little peace and quiet in the nearest box!

We also found that cats spend more time in boxes and other enclosed areas during the winter months, but a cat that continuously hides away in a box might be having difficulty adjusting to its home and may feel threatened.

17. Paws Over Face

cat sleeping on blanket with paws over face
Image Credit: Julie G, Unsplash

Just like people, cats sometimes sleep with their arms covering their faces. This one’s not very hard to decipher — your cat wants to be left alone to sleep!

18. Under the Covers

cat under the blanket
Image Credit: Vinicius de Moraes, Unsplash

On a chilly winter night, you probably love curling up under the covers. Well, so does your cat! Cats naturally enjoy warmer temperatures, so they’ll often sleep under the covers to stay warm.

19. The Loaf

orange cat sleeping in loaf outside
Image Credit: Alu Zheng, Unsplash

The loaf position allows your cat to sleep comfortably while being ready to get up at any moment. Because their feet are below them, they can stand up quickly — meaning that this is generally napping, not deep sleeping, position.

20. Stretched Out

orange tabby cat with M forehead sleeping stretched out paws
Image By: patrick slade, Unsplash

Also called the Superman, this is where your cat sleeps with their paws stretched straight out, forward, and back. Cats sleeping like this are generally very comfortable and sleep deeply.

21. The WFH

cat sleeping on computer
Image Credit: Isabel Ludick

Cats love to be close to the action, even when they’re asleep. If you work from home (or just use your computer around your cat), you may notice them sleeping on or near the keyboard.

22. The Owl

Milo the cat sleeping in owl position on couch
Image Credit: Isabel Ludick

Wait, is that a cat or an owl? This adorable position involves your cat sleeping upright while perched on your furniture — truly something only a cat (or an owl) could do!

23. In a Bowl

cute sleeping white himalayan cat in hepper nest bed

All cat parents know that their furballs can fit into almost anything. If you have bowls or bowl-shaped cat beds in your house, your cat is very likely to curl up there. This is a cozy, comfortable position for cats to sleep!

Considering that the average cat spends about 3/4 of the day sleeping, providing them with a comfortable bed is very important. The Hepper Nest Bed is our favorite choice thanks to its innovative and cat-tailored design. It features a wide lip for resting tired heads, a rounded bowl shape for maximum support, and a warm fleece liner to keep them cozy. Provide your kitty with the perfect lounger and bed by clicking here. 

Hepper Cat Nest - Washable Cat Bed with Removable...
  • HAPPY COZY CATS - Your kitty will bask in luxurious sherpa-lined comfort while feeling warm, safe,...
  • MODERN DESIGN - Contemporary styling with upholstered fabric construction; just like your human...
  • WARM FLEECE LINER - Self warming, thick sherpa fleece with microfiber trim.

At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

24. In the Litter Box

Although some cats do seem to like sleeping in the litter box, for most, this is a sign that you should call your vet. If your cat is suddenly sleeping in the litter box, it may have digestive issues or urinary problems that make it want to stay nearby.



As you can see, cats have as many different sleeping positions as humans. Luckily, most of them signify the cat is happy and comfortable in its surroundings. You only need to be concerned if the cat hides for long periods, as this usually suggests a problem. Like humans, cats like to sleep in different positions, and what might be comfortable for one cat might not be for another, so don’t be too concerned if you don’t see the belly up or pretzel positions. It doesn’t mean your cat is uncomfortable in your home.

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Featured Image Credit: kies76, Pixabay

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