Your phone is probably bursting with countless pictures of your sleeping cat, and the best shots are the ones that showcase their most interesting sleeping positions. With their limbs stretched in awkward angles and their long bodies contorted into bizarre shapes, it’s hard to believe anyone could be comfortable like that, let alone fall into a deep sleep. But despite how uncomfortable they look, your cat still manages to snooze soundly without waking up with regrets.
No matter your cat’s personality, all feline friends seem to have this ability to fall asleep in crazy positions. Have you ever wondered why they do it?
Cats Love to Stretch
When you observe your cat during their waking hours, you’ll probably notice that they do a lot of stretching. They pull off a perfect downward dog every time they get up from a nap, and it’s not unusual for them to start stretching at random times during the day and night.
Dr. Kathryn Primm, owner and operator of Applebrook Animal Hospital, tells us that cats are built like lean athletes. Even if they’re a little overweight, cats can perform impressive physical feats thanks to their strength and flexibility. And like human athletes, cats know that stretching is an important part of keeping those muscles in the best shape.
Cats stretch when they’re awake to keep their muscles warm, and they also probably do it because stretching can trigger the release of positive brain chemicals that make them feel great. (This works for humans, too.)
For cats, those big stretches are ultimate comfort. A lot of times, they fall asleep while stretching or stretch in the middle of a nap and don’t bother to untangle themselves before drifting back to dreamland. The result is that your cat sleeps in whatever crazy position felt the best while stretching.
Cats Are Super Flexible
Even if you get comfortable during a good stretch, you’re not likely to fall into a deep sleep with your muscles extended at odd angles. The strain gets uncomfortable, and you’ll feel the urge to move into a more comfortable, or “normal,” position.
Cats might feel like this on occasion, but their bodies are much more adapted to sleeping at awkward angles. That’s because cats are extremely flexible. They can contort their bodies in ways humans can’t.
A position that would be painful for a human, like putting a leg up over your head, is barely a mild stretch for a flexible feline. They’re not in any pain when they fall asleep with their limber limbs pointing in all directions or neck craned at an awkward angle. This makes it easy for cats to sleep in crazy positions.
Cats Pick Peculiar Places
Sometimes, your cat’s chosen nap spot also influences what interesting position they sleep in. Thanks to their flexibility, they can twist and warp their bodies to fit into odd places.
Cats choose their favorite sleep spots for a number of reasons. First, it’s their natural instinct to sleep in spots where they feel safe from threats. They like areas that only have one entrance or exit, like a box or the corner of a closet. By tucking themselves into these protected areas, they rest easier by knowing they’re not exposed.
Your cat also likes to sleep in spots that are warm. The need to seek out warmth is another instinct domestic cats carry over from their wild ancestors. Your pampered kitty hopefully isn’t at risk of freezing to death, but that doesn’t stop them from being attracted to warm nap spots like sunny spots on the floor or even the radiator.
When your cat finds a spot that meets their qualifications for a good snooze, they’ll find a way to make themselves comfortable. Even if they don’t exactly fit inside that box or atop that tiny pillow, they’ll be determined to make it work. This habit often leads to some of those crazy sleeping positions you love taking pictures of.
Cats drape themselves over heaters, curl up inside shoes, squeeze themselves into boxes, and splay out their limbs in the most outlandish ways. And despite how uncomfortable the position looks, they still manage to sleep up to 16 hours a day. It’s a type of super power we can all be jealous of, but at least we get to fawn over our cute kitties and take tons of pictures of their crazy sleeping positions.