After a lot of careful and thorough research, we have compiled 7 cat sleeping positions when sick:
- Sleeping upside down
- Sleeping on back paws in air or sleeping with paws stretched out, like Superman
- Attempting to climb backwards up the furniture (often done while kitten-ish)
- Curled up into a ball, like the letter ‘C’ (or an s if they are wider across the shoulder blades) or sleep belly up curled into a tight ball with their head tucked between their legs for warmth and security
- Sleeping on their back paws and/or front paws in air
- Sleeping on all fours (called ‘the cat’s prayer position’)
- Sleeping face down, with their chin resting on their chest or belly
In the real world these cats will not only be able to slumber in the lumpy sofa-like shapes above, but will also be able to travel in any of these positions either when walking or when running around for fun and exercise! This is due to the flexibility of their spine and ribcage, which allows them to open up their rib cage and ribs for access for greater space and air flow to keep them happy and healthy.
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7 cat sleeping positions when sick
- Sleeping upside down:
If your cat suddenly feels sick, the first position she will take will be to fall asleep. This usually happens at night, or early in the morning when you are still asleep. Sleeping upside down is the most comfortable position for a cat that feels sick. Your cat will sleep like a baby in this position, and usually she will not wake up too often to go to the toilet.
- Sleeping on back paws in air or sleeping with paws stretched out, like Superman:
Your cat will either stretch out with all her paws (front and back) in the air, or spread two of her front paws far apart and sleep on her back paw only. Your cat will look like she is doing the Superman move.
This cat sleeping position is a result of the flexibility of your cat’s spine and ribcage, which allows them to open up their rib cage and ribs for access for greater space and air flow to keep them happy and healthy. It is also a sign that your cat feels safe, comfortable, and enjoys good circulation.
- Attempting to climb backwards up the furniture (often done while kitten-ish):
In this position, your cat will be sleeping on her front paws with all her back paws stretched out behind her, as if attempting to climb backwards up the furniture. Your cat will look like a large fat kitty cat when sleeping in this position.
This is mainly because when cats sleep on their front paws they can better access the air they need to keep themselves healthy, and also because during the night your cat needs to relax her muscles in her arms and legs so that she is able to sleep well.
- Curled up into a ball, like the letter ‘C’ (or an s if they are wider across the shoulder blades):
If your cat sleeps like this, he probably feels safe and secure. Your cat will curl up and sleep in this position, keeping his head between his legs.
This usually happens when your cat is feeling safe and secure, or if he feels comfortable and is not feeling sick.
Reasons why cats curl up like the letter C:
a. Your cat is feeling safe from danger or from another cat
b. Your cat has a little tummy ache and wants to reduce his fat
c. Your cat may feel he has enough room to spread out
d. Your cat is feeling too hot, so he wants to reduce the surface area so his body heat will not be too high.
The curled up position also looks like a letter C when you see it from above (read this)
- Sleeping on their back paws and/or front paws in air:
This position allows your cat to ventilate better than the other positions, especially if you have a good couch or bed he can curl up on in this position. Your cat will sleep on her back paws with her front ones spread out and sleeping.
This is usually the most comfortable position for a cat when he is feeling safe and secure, or if he feels comfortable and is not feeling sick.
- Sleeping on all fours:
Your cat will be sleeping on his front paws with a lot of space between his front feet, so that the air can flow freely between them. Gunter’s Cresting Cat sleeping position
There are many different sleeping positions that your cat will take depending on how she feels and what she wants to do best as far as getting rid of her energy or ‘filling her bellies’, or just being sleepy! We do not recommend forcing your cat to sleep in any specific sleeping position if she does not want to sleep there.
You can make your cat feel safe and secure by letting her sleep where she is comfortable.
- Sleeping face down, with their chin resting on their chest or belly:
Your cat will be sleeping on his belly (face down), with his chin resting on his chest. Your cat will look like a giant mongoose when sleeping in this position.
This is mainly because when cats sleep on their back paws they can better access the air they need to keep themselves healthy, and also because during the night your cat needs to relax her muscles in her arms and legs so that she is able to sleep well.
If your cat likes to sleep like this, she may have been an ancestor to South African Giant Mongooses!
Understanding the above 7 listed cat sleeping positions when sick, lets have a look how we would be able to comfort a sick cat.
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How do comfort a sick cat? Other articles about cats in their natural positions (e.g. ” Kitten sleeping position in the womb” and “Cat sleeping position” ) or examples of ‘normal’ and ‘sick’ cats sleeping
The cat’s body is designed to sleep on it’s back, belly, or face, depending on what is the most comfortable and natural thing for it to do.
When your cat sleeps she will not be waking up often to go to the toilet. If your cat feels sick or needs more air, she will probably just roll over onto her back to get some air through her nose. This is why we want to stop our cat from sleeping on her belly.
If you touch your cat’s tummy, she will usually get up, move away from you and hiss at you.
It is very hard for us humans to understand why cats sleep on their bellies and not their backs or faces (or why they sleep with their paws in the air), as it makes no sense for us humans.
For example, if I am lying on the couch, I will usually sit up or roll over onto my side.
This is exactly what happened to your cat when she was a little kitten… When she was still growing, her mom would lie on her back and cover her with milk. Your cat would be sleeping on her tummy and all of a sudden she would be covered by milk.
This would make her dig her paws into her mom’s belly and jerk herself over so that she could raise up to breathe. It is very important for your cat to be able to turn around, stretch out, and get the air she needs during the night. If she is not able to do this freely, she will feel sick and may even go into shock.
We humans may feel that it does not matter if our cat sleeps on her belly or not, but cats are actually missing out on a lot of deep sleep when they sleep on their bellies.
How do cats sleep when they are in pain?
‘Normal’ and ‘sick’ cats sleeping
If your cat is in pain or sick, her body will be telling her that she needs to slow down and rest, so that she can get better. Your cat needs to sleep as much as possible when she is not feeling well.
Monitor your cat’s sleeping position very carefully if you suspect that there is something wrong with her health.
The symptoms could be lack of appetite (not eating), no interest in playing, or even hiding a lot. Your cat might sleep for long periods of time during the day if you are worried about her health, especially if it is the middle of the night and the neighbours are sleeping.
If you suspect that your cat is sick, do not force her to move or play around. Just warm up some milk (or a little bit of tuna juice if she does not drink milk), place it near your cat, and leave the room. Your cat will feel safe again as long as she feels like she is not being watched by you.
You can also just hold her gently in your arms and let her sleep without being awake. If you are holding her, she will feel more comfortable and relaxed than if you leave her alone on the ground or a hard couch so that she is scared about what may happen to her.
Cats are very important in our lives. As you can see, cats will sleep in many different positions asides the 7 cat sleeping positions listed above when sick and sometimes it does not look comfortable, but this is the position that their body and mind is telling them to sleep in.
If your cat is sleeping on her belly, she might feel sick or uncomfortable and she will never be able to sleep as deeply as she would if she were sleeping on her back. If you try to force your cat to sleep on her back, belly, or even face, she will probably just move so that she can be comfortable and take a deep breath.
It is safe for your cat to sleep in any position that feels comfortable for her. She will be able to rest a lot better if she feels relaxed instead of being afraid and nervous about what might happen. Cats are just not used to having people keep them awake. If you keep waking up your cat during the night, she will feel stressed and tired, which makes it even harder for her to rest well.
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