Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Head Upside Down?

Have you ever been to a cat cafe before?

If you have not, you should!

There is a reason why cat cafes are so popular with both cat and non-cat lovers. Cats are just so interesting to watch. It feels like you are sitting in front of an amazing silent movie.

One favorite of mine is to watch cats sleep.

Cats have a wide variety of sleeping positions and they look so cute and peaceful in each and every one of them.

There is one sleeping position that I find to be really adorable and that is when the cat sleeps with its head upside down.

Some cats do look rather comical in this sleeping position.

But why do cats sleep with their head upside down?

When a cat sleeps on its back with its heads upside down, it means that the cat is feeling very safe and comfortable with its surroundings. You can tell how a cat is feeling by the way it sleeps. A cat who is feeling cautious will sleep more securely.

We will be exploring the reasons behind the common cat sleeping positions in this article. Such information will be useful to cat owners in helping them understand their cats better.

Why Do Cats Sleep Belly Up?

When it comes to understanding cats, it is all about learning how to read in-between the lines and their body language.

Cats aren’t as direct as dogs (unless they are hungry) and tend to be masters of disguise.

But when cats fall asleep belly up, there are a couple of things that cat owners can decipher from this.

Your Cat Is Feeling Secure

When you see your cat sleeping on its back with its head upside down, that’s the ultimate sign of a blissful cat.

Your cat is feeling safe and secure.

When cats sleep this way, it’s their way of saying “Do not disturb me for the next few hours.”

To further appreciate this, we need to understand more about the origins of cats. Cats are predominantly solitary creatures.

When they leave the safety of their nests after a few months, they are basically on their own for the rest of their lives.

Being alone in the wild can be a daunting task but cats are built for that. They have excellent biological sensors that can help them detect predators or potential dangers.

Cat’s And Their Bellies

A cat is in a very vulnerable position when it is sleeping with its head upside down. This means that it is exposing its belly.

Even though our cats are safe with us an exposed belly means the potential of serious injury if the cat is attacked while sleeping.

This is because most of your cat’s major organs are located in the belly area hence the higher risk of death if that area is injured.

Not all cats like their belly to be touched or rubbed even when exposed. Many cat owners have fallen for the ‘cat belly trap‘ but have lived to tell the tale.

Your Cat Is Trying To Keep Warm

A cat sleeping with its head upside down could also be a sign that your cat is feeling cold. Cats have a higher resting body temperature than humans. This means that they require more heat to keep warm and not feel cold.

Cats regulate their body temperature by sweating through their paw pads and controlling the amount of blood flow to their ears.

If you touch your cat’s ear and it feels warmer than normal, it means that your car is feeling warm and is trying to cool down.

The reverse holds true if your cat’s ears feel cold to the touch.

When cats sleep with their heads upside down, they will usually tuck their noses and ears in and make themselves really compact to preserve body heat. Some cats might even enjoy putting their heads in the owner’s hands to keep warm.

You can help your cat stay warm during the winter months by providing it with blankets or buying a cat bed that has an electric heater.

Your Cat Just Prefers It

Even as humans we have our own preferred sleeping positions and the same goes for our cats. You might have a cat that just loves sleeping with its head upside down.

My cat prefers sleeping on the floor more often than on his own cat bed.

It could be your cat’s best sleeping position for a good night’s sleep.

And who are we to disagree with that.

Some Common Sleeping Positions

There is more to a cat’s sleeping position arsenal than just with its head upside down. Here are some of the other common sleeping positions that cats can display.

The Loaf

The loaf has to be one of the most iconic sleeping positions of a cat. The name of this position comes when you look at a cat sleeping in this position from the top or bottom.

The cat basically looks like a loaf of bread. It has all its cute paws tucked in snugly under its body. Cats can sleep or rest in this position for hours without their legs falling asleep or cramping up.

Not all cats are asleep when assuming the loaf position. Most are just taking a short cat nap while still being aware of their surroundings.

The Head On Paw

cat sleeping ear cold

Here is another common way that cats sleep, by resting their head or chin on the paw. Most cats are in this position when they are taking a short catnap.

A cat’s paw is really soft and fluffy and makes for a great pillow.

This position also allows them to hear and see what’s going on around them if they are feeling a tad cautious of their surroundings.

All Curled Up

Some cats like sleeping on their sides all curled up into an adorable furball. Cats in this position are sleeping deeply just like how they would with their heads upside down.

Although their bellies are not exposed, the cat is feeling safe and secure enough to be sleeping this way.

With Its Face Down

Don’ freak out if you happen to see your cat sleeping with its face down on the ground or bed. Your cat is still able to breathe and is feeling comfortable in this position.

Cats sleep in this position when they are feeling cold to help warm up their noses. It could also mean that there is too much light at the moment and your cat is trying to dim things down for its sensitive eyes.

You can help your cat sleep better by marking it darker and providing some extra blankets for your cat to cuddle into.

Why Is My Cat Looking At Me While Lying Upside Down?

There is always time to be curious regardless of sleeping postures and that is what your cat could be doing.

It is resting and feeling safe around you. There could be something that you are doing which is piquing your cat’s interest.

My cat likes lying upside down on my desk while looking at me while I work. It is also a great way to give me easy access to his belly and chin for rubs which he loves.

Should I Be Concerned About My Cat’s Sleeping Position?

99% of the time, there isn’t a reason for you to be concerned about how your cat sleep. Most cats won’t stay in an uncomfortable or dangerous sleeping position for long.

However, there is one position that you will need to be aware of and that is when you see your cat sleeping with its head pressing against the wall.

This isn’t a sign of affection like head bunting but the need for the cat to rest or sleep with its head pressed against a hard surface.

There usually is an underlying medical condition that causes cats to do this.

It can be related to:

  • Brain tumor
  • Neurological disorder
  • Stroke
  • Toxin poisoning
  • Liver failure.

Once you see such a behavior in your cat, it needs medical attention immediately to ascertain the root cause and appropriate medical treatment.


Seeing your cat sleeping soundly and peacefully is a very satisfying and happy moment. There’s no need to correct your cat’s sleeping position as it could be due to personal preference or temperature regulation.

Do not sleep on the matter if you see your cat pressing its head against a hard surface and that is a sign of a serious health issue.

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