Why Does My Cat Sleep Like That?

Discover the different sleeping positions of cats and what they mean. From the classic curled-up position to the "loaf" position, each pose reveals something about your feline friend's mood and level of comfort. Some cats like to sleep on their backs, while others prefer to curl up tight. Certain positions can also indicate health issues, such as arthritis or respiratory problems. Whether your cat is a solo sleeper or loves to snuggle up with you, learning about their preferred sleeping positions can deepen your understanding of their personality and well-being.

If you’ve been spending a lot more time at home lately, then you’ve probably noticed that your cat snoozes in some pretty interesting—and seriously cute!—positions. After all, cats rack up anywhere from 12 to 16 hours of shut-eye per day. (Here’s the science behind why cats sleep so much, in case you were wondering.)

In honor of National Pet Day, which takes place on April 11 this year, here’s a rundown of what the six most common cat sleeping positions say about your furry friend’s personality—illustrated by some of Saatva’s very own cats.


crescent sleeping position
Daisy (cat of Bailey Lee, marketing coordinator)

This is the most common sleeping position for wild cats—and you’re likely to see your domesticated kitty curled up like a crescent during the day too. In this sleep position, cats tuck their tail around their body and hug it toward their chest to preserve body heat and protect their organs.

Belly up

belly up cat sleeping position
Helo (cat of Stephanie Hogue, video editor and motions graphic animator)

A cat’s stomach is its most vulnerable area, so they won’t expose it while they sleep unless they feel secure. If you spot your feline napping on their back with their belly up and legs pointed at weird angles, then that means they feel safe and relaxed in your presence.

Eyes open

Even domestic cats are predators by nature, so they’ll often sleep with half-open eyes—and constantly moving ears—to stay on alert. This is a light, shallow form of sleep that allows a cat to react immediately if they hear any unusual sounds. Sometimes, you might even notice that one of your kitty’s eyes is open and one is shut while they doze, a variation on the eyes half-open sleeping position. This is called unihemispheric slow wave sleep. In this scenario, half of your cat’s brain is unconscious and resting while the other half is conscious and alert.


loaf cat sleeping position
Zoe (cat of Christina Heiser, senior content manager)

The loaf, or Sphinx, is one of the most adorable ways cats sleep. In this position, a cat sits upright with their front paws tucked under their body, resembling a loaf of bread. When a cat drifts off in this position, it means they’re content. It also helps them retain body heat. You’ll likely notice your cat’s eyes closing slowly as they fall asleep in the loaf position, as this will still allow them to react immediately if needed.


When a cat sleeps on their side with limbs outstretched, it means they’re fully relaxed and have no reason to stay alert. Oftentimes a cat will fall into deep sleep in this position, with their paws gently resting on the ground or curled upwards. As with the belly-up sleep position, when a cat sleeps on their side it means they feel totally safe in your presence.

Paw above face

Your cat will put a paw across their face when they don’t want to be disturbed. A cat will typically do this unknowingly during deep sleep. They might also put a paw across their face to block out sleep-disturbing sunshine.


How do I know when my cat is happy?

If your cat drifts off in the loaf (or Sphinx) position, then you can assume they’re content.

Does where your cat sleeps on your bed mean anything?

Nope! Where your cat sleeps on your bed doesn’t provide insight into how they’re feeling.

Why do cats sleep pressing against you?

Cats sleep pressing against you for protection, affection, and warmth.

Want to help your kitty get the best sleep possible? Check out our guide to choosing the right pet bed for your cat.

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