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How Is My Cat Sleeping with Their Head Up? Interesting Facts & FAQ

As cat parents, we already know that cats are strange creatures. They run through the house in the wee hours of the morning and often paw at the ground beside their food bowl. Our cats sleep in the oddest of positions as well. One of those positions is with their heads up. Shouldn’t a cat be uncomfortable sleeping with his head straight up? Shouldn’t that position hurt the cat’s neck?

There are a few sleeping positions cats take that we think are strange. Below, we’ll discuss how cats sleep with their heads up and other common feline sleeping positions.

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How Can My Cat Sleep with Their Head Up?

While it may look like the cat is uncomfortable, it’s not. What the cat is doing is being on alert for any environmental disruptions so they can take cover right away. This goes back to their predatory instincts.

Your cat’s ancestors come from the wild, and it retains many of their unique traits. A wild cat never knows when something in its environment will change or when a predator could attack, so sleeping with its head upright is the cat’s way of protecting itself while sleeping.

Isn’t This Uncomfortable for My Cat?

No, this position indicates that the cat is relaxed but has also stiffened its muscles for support. It is also a completely normal position for your cat to sleep in, so there’s no cause for worry in most instances.

a tabby cat sleeping on a pillow
Image Credit: KatinkavomWolfenmond, Pixabay

Could This Indicate a Health Problem?

Although it’s normal for your cat to sleep with its head up, there are a few instances where something might be wrong. Some of those instances are if the cat respiratory issue, heart disease, or lung congestion. If you notice that your cat is only sleeping in this position or has difficulty breathing when it is asleep, it’s best to contact your vet for an appointment. Your vet can rule out any problems that may be happening and assure you that your cat sleeping this way is normal in most cases.

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What Other Positions Do Cats Sleep In?

As a cat parent, you’ve probably noticed that there are many positions your cat favors while sleeping. We’ll talk about a few of those positions in our next section.

Curled in a Ball

Cats like to be warm, so sleeping curled into a ball helps them retain their body heat.

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Superman Pose

The Superman pose is when the cat lies on its belly, then stretches its front legs out in front of them and stretches their back legs behind them. This helps keep them warm or cool, according to where they lie, because their bellies are on the ground. It also protects their abdomen, which is a vulnerable area as well.

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On Your Head

We’ve all had our cats curl up on top of our heads to sleep. They do this because cats usually adapt to their pet parents’ sleep schedule and might want to be near you. Also, cat’s like comfortable places to sleep, so sleeping over your head means the cat gets to share your comfy, soft pillow.

Here are a few other positions and why your cat may sleep in them.

  • Paws over eyes: For insulation and warmth
  • With other cats: Because they are bonded
  • With a dog: Companionship, bonding, warmth, and comfort
  • Tucked in/under the covers: Familiarity, warmth, and comfort
  • In the litter box: This is usually for a medical reason, so you need to make an appointment with the vet
  • In a box: Security, and because boxes are fun!
  • Between your legs: Warmth, safety, and an easy escape route
sleepy cat
Image Credit: rsteve254, Pixabay

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Creating a Safe Space for Your Cat to Sleep

You can expect your feline pal to sleep 14 to 16 hours daily, give or take a few hours. While they have many strange ways of sleeping, it’s important for your cat to have a safe space to sleep in. If you’re a first-time cat owner, we’ll give you some tips on creating that safe space below.

Choose the Right Bed

While you’ll find your cat sleeping anywhere and everywhere throughout the house, it’s best to create a space with a cat bed for the cat to retreat to when it feels the need. You want the bed to be cool, comfy, and off the ground. You also want the bed to be warm when your cat needs it to be. You can achieve this by adding a warm fleece blanket to the mix.

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Choose the Right Location

No matter how comfy the bed is, if it’s not in the right location, your cat will ignore it in favor of better sleeping spots. Some spots to consider putting the cat bed include the following:

  • Any bedroom
  • Lounge couches
  • Bay windows
  • Anywhere on the floor where a sunspot is in the afternoon

In other words, you can put the cat bed anywhere comfortable, soft, warm, and safe, and the cat will probably be fine.

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Choose the Safest Spot

You want any location you choose for your cat’s bed to be safe. This means putting the bed in a quiet place with very little foot traffic. You’ll also want water and food nearby so your cat doesn’t have to go far to eat and drink.

This isn’t going to stop them from sleeping in strange and comical positions, but at least you know the cat will be safe, warm, and happy while doing it.

sleeping cat
Image Credit: Jim Black, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Cats are strange, furry, yet lovable creatures. They do weird things that most pet owners can’t explain. Sleeping with their head up is just one of the unique ways you’ll find your cat sleeping. As previously mentioned, it’s vital for your cat to feel comfortable, safe, warm, and cozy when they sleep, so getting them a cat bed and putting it in a safe location should help. Once that is done, you can sit back and laugh at all of the funny positions you’ll find your furry friend sleeping in, along with everything else your cat does along the way.

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Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock