5 Reasons Your Cat Loves to Loaf

A cat loaf sitting position isn't just cute; it has a purpose. Find out why your cat loafs.

Published February 24, 2023
Tabby cat on loaf position

A cat loaf isn't a baked good for your kitty. It's a position cats sit in with their legs tucked underneath them, and it resembles a bread loaf. But why do cats sit in a loaf? It most often means they're relaxed, staying warm to conserve energy, or perhaps not feeling well. Use other clues from your cat's demeanor or the environment to find out why your cat is loafing.

Why Do Cats Loaf?

What does it mean when your cat sits like this? If your cat likes to loaf, it could indicate a number of things:

  1. They feel relaxed.
  2. They're trying to stay warm.
  3. They need to catch some quick Zs.
  4. They haven't entirely let their guard down.
  5. They're not feeling well.

1. It's Relaxation Time

The cat loaf is generally a relaxed feline position. They feel safe and comfortable enough in their environment to tuck their feet under their body while sleeping like a loaf. But the rest of your cat's body posture can give you more insight into their comfort level.

If they have their eyes closed or are slowly blinking at you while in the loaf, they're completely relaxed. However, persistent staring, holding their ears flat against their head, or flicking their tail could mean they are feeling annoyed or defensive.

Domestic cat lying in bed sheets

2. They Want Warmth

Cats are originally desert dwellers, which explains why they're always seeking warm spots. Plus, their body temperature runs quite a bit warmer than yours, with an average range of 100- to 102.5- degrees Fahrenheit. When a cat is in a tight loaf body position, they're able to retain heat more effectively. So, if your cat is loafing, they might be trying to stay warm.

3. They're Down for a Cat Nap

Do you feel like your cat is always sleeping? Well, they might be. Experts suggest almost 40 percent of cats sleep for more than 18 a day. But their sleep time is broken up in short naps throughout the day. If a cat doesn't feel ready or safe enough to hunker down for a long nap, they might simply curl into a loaf to catch a short snooze.

4. They're On Alert

Even though the loaf is a comfortable position, a cat might choose it over a more vulnerable position - like being entirely sprawled out or on their back - if they are still on high alert. Should someone threatening approach, your cat can quickly jump to attention from a loaf.

If your cat is staring at you with wide, alert eyes or is perched in a high place where they can view the entire room, it could mean they haven't let their guard down and are anticipating a threat. This may be the case if you recently introduced a new pet or person into your household.

Fast Fact

If your cat is on high alert a lot, it could mean they feel uncertain, their needs aren't being met, or they're missing something they want.

5. They Feel Ill

Sometimes, sick cats might sit in a loaf if they're not feeling well. Cats are great at hiding pain and discomfort. This position allows them to conserve energy and guard a sore belly. Monitor your cat for other signs of pain or illness, including hiding behavior, low energy, low appetite, increased vocalizing, or changes to their daily habits.

Don't worry too much. This isn't a common cause of cat loafing. But keep an eye on your cat if you suspect something is up.

Old ginger cat sitting on the back of a leather sofa

Let Loafing Cats Lie

If your cat frequently sits like a loaf, there's no reason to be concerned. Some cats just prefer to sleep or lounge like this. Monitor your cat for any signs of stress or illness and seek medical attention if you're concerned. If your cat seems otherwise calm and relaxed, you can enjoy your cute cat loaf!

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5 Reasons Your Cat Loves to Loaf