So, my cat sleeps on her back all the time. Right off the bat, there’s something about the way she stretches before getting ready to flop up against the couch cushions that get me through the day. Truth be told, there’s nothing more endearing than observing your fluffer going about her day.
Of course, she switches things up now and then. Sometimes she sleeps with her ears perked up and paw pads stretched out to the gods (looking like the fluffiest little Superman you’ve ever seen). Other times, she sleeps like a little meatloaf with her paws tucked under her body and face buried within the sheets.
Oh and, we can’t forget about the times she sleeps on you because she can’t spend a moment away from you. And, to be completely honest, that’s the proof you need to make everyone who ever dared utter “cats are standoffish” and “cats aren’t capable of loving humans” eat their words.
But that’s not what we’re here to talk about! Back to the point, cats have strange sleeping habits and there’s no telling when, where, and how they’re going to sleep. Your fluffer can sleep on her back for many different reasons unbeknownst to you. But that’s not a reason for you to worry.
Needless to say, we’ve done the research and decided to bring you a rundown of the most common reasons your cat is a back sleeper. Oh, don’t forget to schedule a vet’s appointment should you suspect a health problem. Other than that, keep on reading!
What’s the deal with cats and strange catnapping positions?
Chances are, you probably have a bunch of pictures of your precious purrincess doing whatever she does best. Whether it’s munching on treats, running around causing trouble, or just overall acting adorable. Among those pictures, there are at least a hundred of her assuming the oddest nap positions.
And, there’s nothing wrong with that! Cats might appear super uncomfortable while they’re stretched out across the floor. But, they manage to sleep sound and wake up without any regrets (I’d wake up with a sore back, for sure!)
We have to face the fact that cats can sleep whichever way they prefer. But there’s probably a reason they prefer to sleep like there’s no tomorrow.
Truth be told, cats adore stretching. They stretch the moment they wake up, eat, clean themselves, and even after they go potty. Also, cats are pretty famous for being supple and pliable.
They don’t seem to have a problem with sleeping in awkward angles because they’re more comfortable doing that than we would ever be. Come on, would you ever catch me sleeping while doing the splits!? Of course not!
And, we can’t forget about the fact that cats have this peculiar tendency to sleep wherever they want to. Not only do they assume peculiar positions, but they’re not that particular about the bedding arrangements either. Cats can sleep pretty much everywhere – from the litter box to the Amazon box you saved for “special occasions.”
What have we learned, then? Cats are different from humans in this regard – we can’t compare the way cats sleep and the way we sleep. And, that means that you can’t compare the reasons you sleep on your back and the reason your cat might sleep on hers.
Why does my cat sleep on her back?
More times than not, cats sleep the way that they sleep because that’s what’s comfortable for them. Trust me, cats don’t spend hours and hours overthinking whether the way they’re sleeping affects the way they’re going to feel when they wake up. They sleep that way because they want to in that moment.
But, you might be wondering whether she’s communicating something to you when she’s sleeping on her back. Maybe she’s hungry and showing her stomach as a hint to “Feed me, mommy.“ Or, maybe she’s exposing her stomach because she wants you to cuddle her.
Whatever the case might be, we’ve gathered a couple of reasons to help you understand your fluffer better. Don’t worry, there’s hardly anything scary enough to warrant an appointment with your vet. Why don’t we start with the most positive one?
1. She feels safe and secure
Trust me, there isn’t a better way for your fluffer to show you how much she trusts you. We can’t forget about the fact that our purrinces and purrincesses have descended from the lions and pumas of the world. So they assume the “survival mode” the moment they’re born because that’s what’s in their nature.
That means that they protect themselves even when they’re sleeping. More often than not, cats sleep curled like a crescent Moon because that’s how they protect their organs. Other times they sleep with their paws covering their faces because that’s how they protect their eyes.
But when cats sleep with their stomachs exposed, they’re communicating how safe and secure they feel. Make sure your four-legged friend knows that she can trust you to keep her out of harm’s way. And, she might start sleeping on her back at all times.
2. She’s getting ready to attack
Quite different from what we discussed beforehand, cats often sleep on their back because they’re getting ready to attack. “Wait, she’s sleeping but thinking of attacking someone?” While that’s a great question, cats are sneaky creatures – they aren’t always sleeping when they’re lounging on the floor.
And what might surprise you more than anything, she’s probably pretending to sleep to get you to touch her stomach. Of course, the moment that you do that, she’s going to attack you and make you regret trusting her. Cats love teasing in that way because they’re testing that hunting prowess we mentioned beforehand.
On the other hand, she might even be teasing another cat given that she’s not your only pet. Depending on the environment, she might be pretending to sleep because you’re having people over or because you’re making her play with your neighbor’s annoying kitten.
3. She’s giving her muscles a break
Oh, cats have such difficult lives lounging around the apartment and munching on delicious foods we bring to them on a silver platter! But, that might be one of the reasons your cat is sleeping on her back. She’s simply switching positions because she’s trying to find what works best for her.
While cats can become defensive and protective of their stomach area, there are times when they have to expose themselves simply because they’re exhausted.
Truth be told, sleeping on your back has to be one of the most comfortable positions after a long day at the office. Therefore, cats know what they’re doing when they decide that’s how they want to spend the day.
Make sure you check whether your cat’s been doing gymnastics while you’re at work and that’s why she’s been trying to ease up her muscles. Other than that, don’t freak out if she’s been sleeping on her back more frequently than before. She’s probably tired from getting on your nerves.
4. She’s experiencing digestive problems
Before you start huffing and puffing because you’re worried about your fluffer ending up at the ER, she’s probably not that unwell. But, cats might decide to expose the stomach area when they’re dealing with digestive problems.
Whether they’re nauseous because of something they ate or experiencing cramps, sleeping that way ensures that they’re not squishing their stomachs with their weight. As a result, they tend to feel better when they wake up.
On the other hand, you might notice other symptoms accompanying sleeping on her back. Anything ranging from vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, and weight loss, to fever, dehydration, and overgrooming of the abdomen might indicate something’s wrong.
Don’t delay in contacting your vet the moment that you notice any of these symptoms.
5. She’s trying to cool off on a hot day
Whenever you notice your fluffer doing something out of the ordinary, don’t forget to observe the environment and the circumstances under which she’s doing that. By and large, you’re going to draw connections between the two and figure out the motivation behind the behavior that’s bothering you.
What do we mean by that? When your cat starts sleeping on her back, check whether she’s doing that when she’s warm. Maybe it’s whenever she’s been running around the backyard for a couple of hours and then trying to cool off. Maybe there’s a heatwave and she’s trying to prevent herself from turning into a puddle of sweat.
Whatever the case might be, cats sometimes sleep that way because they’re overheating (with the amount of fluff they possess, nobody’s blaming them). Make sure you’re helping your kitty cool off by providing her with plenty of water and shade on a hot summer day.
6. She’s trying to warm up on a cold winter day
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you might catch a glimpse of your cat sleeping on her back on a cold winter day. Now, she’s probably not trying to cool off because that wouldn’t make sense. But, she might be trying to warm up by making use of the same strategy she came across over the summer.
Turns out cats are great at finding spots of sunshine on the coldest of winter days. Whether they’re outside rummaging through the snow or surrounded by the comfort of the bedsheets. Cats possess the power to spot the littlest patches of sunshine and make themselves warmer that way.
That’s the same reason why you might come across your cat sleeping under the blanket or napping next to the fireplace. Don’t forget to check whether you’re providing your fluffy friend with enough heat to ensure she’s happy and healthy. And, as for your not-so-fluffy friend, cat coats are always an option.
7. She wants tummy rubs and she wants them right meow
“You literally JUST told me not to pet my cat while she’s sleeping on her back!?” As a matter of fact, you can never go wrong by opting to protect yourself rather than putting yourself in harm’s way for the sake of your cat’s entertainment. But, on the off-chance you’re willing to play her game, here’s what you need to know.
There are times when cats sleep on their backs because they want you to touch them. We’re not talking about when they’re teasing you because they want you to make a wrong move and account for the attack. We’re talking about them wanting to cuddle and snuggle with you.
Cats communicate the best way they know how. And, body language seems to be the key to understanding what they’re trying to say from the moment they’re born. Therefore, when your cat seems happy and kittenish, she (probably) doesn’t have bad motives – she’s merely trying to show you affection.
8. She’s ready for a pampering session
Now, there’s something incredibly interesting about a fluffer that actually appreciates grooming, brushing, and pampering! When you think about that, most cats grunt and squint at the very thought of getting touched by humans for an hour straight – especially when the touching involves a brush (or God forbid, water).
But we can’t overlook the fact that some mousers treasure hanging out with humans, getting their hair done, and talking about pop culture (we’re kidding, but wouldn’t that be great!?) Nevertheless, your cat might appreciate grooming because that’s what her mother used to do when she was a kitten.
Supposing that your cat drops down and shows you her stomach the moment you enter the room, she wants you to groom her. However, if she’s been on her back the entire time you were gone, she’s communicating something completely different.
9. She’s single and ready to mingle
That’s something a pet parent doesn’t want to hear, but here we are! That’s right, your precious purrincess might have a crush on someone and that’s why she’s sleeping on her back. Therefore, she’s communicating that she’s ready to mate.
Though that might seem strange, cats release pheromones from different parts of the body in order to attract other cats. Other than that, your cat might start marking her territory to attract other cats. She might start rubbing her teeth on you, pawing at the floor, and scratching the furniture.
Not to mention the attention-seeking behavior such as rolling around, meowing loudly, and assuming the oddest of positions while napping. Therefore, your cat might be sleeping on her back because she’s hoping to attract a mate.
Consider contacting your vet and checking what your best options are for spaying or neutering.
10. She’s pregnant
Oh, turns out she attracted that mate before you even noticed she was sleeping on her back. “Wouldn’t I notice my cat was pregnant!?” Maybe you would, but maybe not.
Cats don’t show the bump for a number of weeks after they conceive. And, pregnant cats prefer sleeping on their back because that helps them get rid of some of that pressure (carrying a baby ain’t easy).
But, there are a couple of common symptoms that can help you figure out whether she’s pregnant or not. Look for appetite changes, weight fluctuations, sleeping (all the time), nesting, and various body changes (swollen abdomen, strange appearance of the nipples). Good luck!