Last Updated on February 10, 2023 by ellen
Why do cats sleep in a ball? Find out more about how cats sleep and what the different sleeping positions mean.
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As cat owners, many people are curious about what different cat sleeping positions really mean.
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Why Do Cats Sleep in a Ball?
So, what does a curled-up cat really mean to a cat owner? You’d be surprised what your cat’s sleeping position really means.
A cat sleeping in the ball position might appear cute to us, but it’s a hunting position that cats instinctively assume. In this position, your cat can curl up into a tight and nearly impenetrable ball when threatened or faced with an enemy.
The only openings are on the sides of the body where their legs and head stick out. To attack, the cat simply straightens out their legs to release claws and teeth.
Cats Sleepy Head
It’s not just because they’re cute. It’s also to keep them safe. Cats are predators, which means that they usually sleep in places where they can easily hide if there is danger at hand. A ball-shaped sleeping position naturally protects the cat’s head, making it less vulnerable than when sleeping flat on their backs.
This is one of the most common sleeping positions to conserve body heat.
Your Cat Sleeping Like a Baby
This position might look like your cat is utterly relaxed and comfortable, but don’t be fooled. Cats can sleep without moving for hours because they have an automatic wake-up mechanism that allows them to spring into action the moment they sense any danger.
It may look like they are completely relaxed, but they are ready to go if they need to.
Your Cat is Sleeping Like a Tiger
Even if your cat sleeps in a ball, you might see them still occasionally move their paws or tail to scratch their ears or stretch. It’s also common for cats to twirl or move their paws around while sleeping. This probably feels good and helps keep them relaxed, but it might also be an indication that they are having a dream.
House cats mimic how wild cats sleep in many cases. They may seem to be in a deep sleep but they are still prepared. They conserve energy and stay warm in the best way they can given their situation.
Cats Sleeping on Their Belly
This sleeping position indicates your cat is feeling protected and safe, maybe because you’re nearby or there’s some other reason why cats instinctively feel this way. If you haven’t seen your cat sleep in the ball position, then it’s safe to assume that this is their most relaxed position.
Does your cat sleep in this position? It definitely indicates your cat’s mood and relaxed.
Cats Sleeping on Their Back
The belly-up position is the least common sleeping position for cats because they want to be ready to defend themselves against predators, but it does indicate your cat trusts you and feels comfortable around you.
Your cat might sleep like this on top of your lap or alongside you in bed. If they are freely exposing their stomachs, it means they trust you completely to be in this vulnerable position.
Front paws tucked when they sleep
Cats can sleep in any position they find appealing, whether it’s sleeping with their paws tucked under their bodies or stretched out. As long as your cat appears relaxed and is breathing evenly, don’t worry about how they sleep because any type of sleeping position is normal for cats.
Cats curl up in a tight little ball
This fetal position is their natural defensive position. The round shape protects them and offers some protection to vital areas such as the head, neck, and belly where they are more vulnerable to predators.
Many cats sleep in a ball because they feel safe and protected, while others might just be sleeping comfortably, but if you notice your cat sleeping like this often then it’s likely because they feel secure in that position.
Cat sits upright on the owner’s lap
This position is a sign of security and trust. Cats will naturally curl up in a ball when they feel scared or threatened, but a cat that sleeps like this must be very comfortable around its owner.
This is one of the weirdest cat sleep positions I’ve seen. If your cat lies in this position, it truly trusts you and feels safe.
Why do cats stretch out when sleeping?
So, this is one of the most common sleeping positions for cats. When they sleep, their muscles are completely relaxed and they stretch out. It’s not unusual to see them roll around or twitch while sleeping.
Most common sleeping positions for cats
Most cats sleep in one or two of these sleeping positions. Their wild ancestors may sleep this way too. They will choose the most comfortable position for deep sleep or a quick catnap.
- Cats sleeping in a ball
- Cats sleepy head
- Sleeping on their belly
- Cats sleeping on their back
Do cats need a cat bed?
You might think that cats don’t need to sleep in beds, but they actually do. Cat beds are not just for comfort; it’s also where your cat will go when they want privacy or safety.
Cats can feel threatened by many things like other pets or people in the house and may seek refuge in their own space, which is usually in a bed. If your cat doesn’t have one, they might choose to sleep in unusual places like the sink or closet instead.
There are many types of beds you can buy for your cat including high-tech beds that automatically warm up when your cat climbs into them. You can also use old towels or small blankets to simulate a warm bed. If you want to buy a new bed, then there are many styles and designs that you can choose from.
Cats love to sleep in boxes lined with towels or blankets. You don’t have to buy an expensive bed for your feline friend.
How to get your cat to sleep in a cat bed?
So, why do cats sleep in a ball? Because they are comfortable that way.
1st â€“ Buy a bed â€“ There are different types of beds available for cats so start checking them out online or visit some pet stores near you.
2nd â€“ Some cats might get used to sleeping in a bed overnight while others might need a few weeks. If your cat doesn’t use the bed, try moving it into a different area where they spend most of their time or put it next to their favorite spot. You can also take them with you when you go shopping and place it near the section where they like to explore.
3rd â€“ Keep the bed clean and comfortable with a warm blanket, towel, or cushion so your feline friend will want to sleep in it more often. You may find your cat napping there when you didn’t expect it.
4th â€“ If all else fails and you still can’t get your kitty to use their new cat bed, try giving them treats every time they sleep in the bed. Soon enough, they will love their cat bed and you can take it as a sign that your kitty trusts you completely.
Cats are weird, but we love it because looking after them brings unique challenges to tackle daily. With proper care and attention, your kitty will try to make you happy by doing what they know best.
Be patient, love your cat and always look for ways to give them the best life possible so they can feel loved and protected until the end of their days.
What other sleeping positions do you find your feline friends in? Share the weirdest cat sleeping positions you’ve seen!
If you have questions about pet care, always see veterinary advice.
Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.