image of sleeping cat

Why Does My Cat Sleep Like That?

/ April 9, 2020

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 cat sleeping position

Helo (cat of Stephanie Hogue, video editor and motions graphic animator)

Belly up

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, 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.

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

christina heiser

Christina Heiser

Christina Heiser is the senior content manager at Saatva. She has held previous positions at Everyday Health, Women's Health, and L'Oréal. When she's not working, you can find Christina checking out the latest boutique fitness classes in New York City, cheering on her college basketball team (go Red Storm!), and trying new beauty and wellness trends.

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