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Why Do Cats Sleep in a Ball? 3 Common Reasons

There’s something delightful about watching your cat sleep while curled up into a tight fluff ball. They look so sweet and serene, and it’s amazing how their supple bodies can sleep comfortably in this position.

If you have ever wondered why your cat prefers to sleep in a ball, you will be intrigued by the reasons but also not surprised to know that they choose this position for the same reasons you choose your sleep positions. In this article, we’ll discuss the three main reasons why you usually find your cat in a ball of fur, along with some other positions that they may prefer.

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The 3 Reasons Why Cats Sleep in a Ball

1.  It’s Warm

Sleep is always better when you are warm, and it’s the same for our feline friends. When cats curl up into a ball, they are kept warmer, which means more comfort and better sleep. Body heat is contained around the cat’s organs and stomach when curled up in a ball, which is especially helpful in the cold winter months.

Cats also have a body temperature range of 101.0 to 102.5° F, which is warmer than our average body temperature, and they lose heat from their tummies, which explains why they usually stretch out when trying to keep cool. Curling up into a ball helps them to retain that extra warmth and provides insulation.

Cats are not the only mammals to assume this position to keep warm; dogs do it too, and if you think of yourself on an extra chilly night, you may curl up into the fetal position to keep warm.

Ginger kitten curled up in bed
Image Credit: Arina Krasnikova, Pexels
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2. It’s Safe

Cats are natural predators, and while sleeping allows them to relax and recharge, it also makes them vulnerable as they are not on guard and ready to defend themselves from potential threats. Sleeping in a ball allows cats to feel safe. This position allows them to protect their face and vital organs.

When you are curled up while sleeping, you feel an extra sense of security and comfort, just like when a blanket covers you, and you feel more exposed when it is removed. This small comparison can help you understand why cats, and other animals, feel safer and less vulnerable when curled up in a ball.

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3. It’s Comfortable

Comfort could be the reason your cat chooses to sleep in a ball. This position could be a comfy favorite, which led it to become a default position. Cats can curl up into a ball just about anywhere: on the bed, your furniture, in backpacks, and in their favorite human’s lap. It is also a practical sleeping position.

Grey cat sleeping in the bathroom
Image Credit: Burunduk’s, Shutterstock

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Other Sleeping Positions

Although a curled-up ball is a favorite sleeping position among cats, there are other positions where you can find your cat catching some Z’s. Most sleeping postures put cats in a more vulnerable position.

Belly Up

Belly up, or on their backs, is the cutest but most vulnerable position for a cat to be sleeping in. This position leaves their bellies fully exposed while their legs are stretched out in front and below their bodies. You will not often see a cat in this position, but if you do, it means they feel confident and very safe. While giving your cat a little rub on its exposed belly is tempting, it’s best not to since it will likely still try to defend itself by biting or scratching.

The Superman

The Superman position is self-explanatory, except that your cat in this position is on a surface and not in midair. If your cat is sleeping in a Superman position, you will find it face down, on its belly with its front and back legs stretched out. This position allows cats to feel comfortable while protecting their bellies, and if they assume this position on a fleece blanket, it can help retain heat and keep them warm. On the contrary, if the temperature is warm, this position allows them to expose their bellies to a cold surface to help cool them down.

Image Credit: PHONSIN AUPPACHAI, Shutterstock

The Loaf Shape

The loaf-shaped sleeping position resembles a loaf of bread, just as its name suggests. Their paws are curled under their body, and their head remains upright. It is a warm, comfortable, and relaxed position that allows them to pounce into action if necessary.

On Their side

You will find your cat on its side when it feels safe around you. They will lie on their sides with their legs stretched out, which exposes their bellies. This position makes it easier for them to jump and run, which makes them feel more prepared while sleeping and therefore helps them get a restful sleep. Most cats that sleep on their side already have the needed warmth and find this position more comfortable.

orange cat sleeping on grass
Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay

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You will usually find cats curled up in a ball while sleeping because, other than the fact that it is comfortable, it also provides warmth and safety. Once they are curled up, they can sleep comfortably and deeply, knowing that they are secure and warm. Sleeping in a ball is a favorite feline position, and although you may find your cat in a few other postures, a curled-up ball is usually their favorite. If you experience your cat sleeping belly up, you will be happy to know that it feels safe and secure enough to sleep in such a vulnerable position, but don’t think that means you can avoid a mild hand attack if you go in for some belly rubs!

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Featured Image Credit: hapibu, Pixabay