What Do Cats Sleeping Positions Mean?

Every night when we lie down, there is always that one spot on the pillow that really makes us the most comfortable or the way we position our legs. What if our sleeping positions could tell more about who we were? At least when it comes to cats, this might be onto something...

A blissfully snoozing cat is one of our favorite things. But all cuteness aside, could there be more to your cat’s preferred sleeping positions than meets the eye? Could her fondness for sleeping on her backside be telling you something about her personality—or even her well-being? And when (if ever) should you be concerned about the way your cat sleeps?

Here are some cat sleeping positions - what they look like and what they might mean:

The Sideways Sleeper
When cats sleep on their side with legs outstretched, it usually demonstrates trust. It shows that they feel safe enough to let their guard down and that they share a comfortable bond with their owner.

A cat sleeping on their side:

  • Indicates relaxation
  • Shows a high level of comfort
  • Suggests a strong bond between cat and owner

Belly-Up and Exposed
With her tender belly out in the open, your cat is demonstrating that she doesn’t feel threatened by you or her environment.

The belly-up position indicates:

  • a cat at ease
  • a healthy bond between cat and owner

The Paw-Across-The-Face
If your cat is sound asleep with a paw draped across their face, consider it your warning to leave them in peace. While hard to resist, this means your cat doesn’t want to be disturbed. It could be your cat’s way of blocking out other disturbances like light and noise, and it may indicate a cat who’s in a deep state of sleep.

On Top of You
Does your cat frequently seek out your lap, chest, or head when she’s ready to snooze? While some cat owners live for this, it doesn’t make the habit any less baffling. Why do cats like to sleep on their owners? By and large, it’s your cat’s way of seeking out warmth.

Cats also do this because:

  • They want to be close to you
  • Your rhythmic breathing and heartbeat are soothing

With Eyes Slightly Open
Resting with their eyes half-shut could mean they haven’t yet entered a deep state of sleep, or that they’re dreaming. Many cats are actually just ‘at rest’ when they appear to be asleep. Or their eyelids may be slightly apart during the stages of sleep where they are dreaming and there may be some eye movement.