Why Do Cats Sleep with Their Head Upside Down?

Why Do Cats Sleep with Their Head Upside Down

We all know cats are very flexible and nimble. No matter what position they are in when they jump or fall off a tree, they always land on their feet. 

Cat owners are used to seeing their furry feline friends contorted whichever way when they sleep. As if cat’s bones are made out of noodles. One of the most common sleeping positions is when cat’s sleep with their heads upside down. But why, exactly, do cats prefer placing their heads like that?

Why do cats sleep with their head upside down?

Cats sleep with their head upside down for the following reasons:

To keep themselves warm

Cat ears are very thin, so they feel the cold on their ears quite quickly. They tuck their ears and nose in to conserve warmth. Usually when a cat exposes his ears and nose, they are comfortable enough with the temperature around them and they are enjoying it.

To feel calm and safe

When cats sleep with their heads upside down, they normally also cover their eyes and ears. This shows you that they feel safe and relaxed. Rarely can you observe outside cats sleep in this position. That is because this position makes them very vulnerable. Outside cats will prefer sleeping positions where their ears and eyes are exposed and sensitive to the sights and sounds of possible predators or any danger.

To feel comfortable

Cats do love their naps. They love this position because due to their innate flexibility, their bodies feel comfortable in this twisty and bendy position. Their heads, which are light and not heavy at all, won’t feel any pressure whatsoever. Us humans can also sleep on our back but it won’t be a very restful nap. 

Common cat sleeping positions

Before we dive into the gist of the matter, let’s discuss some other cat sleeping positions and what they mean.

1. All curled up

A lot of animals, even in the wild, sleep with this position to conserve warmth and energy.

2. Belly-up

Cats sleep like this when they feel safe, because they are exposing their stomachs, the most vulnerable part of the body.

3. Half-eye shut

Cats have the amazing ability to be both awake and asleep. They fall asleep but keep one eye half open to still be able to detect the presence of predators or any danger.

4. Loaf

This is one of the cutest sleeping positions to catch your cat doing. They look like a beautifully baked loaf of bread. This is a preferred position of a cat who just needs to nod off for a couple of minutes but cannot dedicate an hour to nap. This cat is always on the go and just needs little micro naps here and there.

5. Sideways sleeper

Just like the belly-up, this is an indication of a contented kitty. They leave their stomach exposed because they feel secure and safe.

6. Paw across the face

This is another adorable position for cats to sleep in. Experts say that this isn’t really a conscious position but something they end up with while they are asleep. It is possibly them trying to block out the sunlight from glaring on their eyes.

7. Cat in a box

Cats love cramming themselves into tight spaces. This is residual instinct from their big cat ancestors who liked hiding in caves for safety. Cats will climb into boxes so they can sleep safely in peace. If you notice a cat sleeping in hiding places often, that usually means they are hiding from something, or someone. 

Why is my cat looking at me upside down?

The same reasons as to why our cats sleep with their heads upside down apply to why they look at us with their heads upside down while lying down. The only difference is that they are not tired enough to actually fall asleep.

This is your cat showing you that it feels very secure and safe in your presence. This is the closest your cat is ever going to get to saying “I love you” without actually talking. 

If the cat’s body is outstretched, he is warm enough and comfortable with the surrounding temperature. When the cat is curled up in a ball, the catt feels a little cold and may need to conserve his body heat. Regardless of the cat’s body position, if the head is upside down, and his/her eyes are looking at you with interest, that cat is 100% smitten.

Image: istockphoto.com / OGI75