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5 Cat sleeping positions when sick

Cats are not lazy, but they are pretty sleepy. They usually spend more than half of the day sleeping. An adult cat can sleep from 12 to 16 hours, while an older one may take a couple more hours to rest. Just as cats need naps, we must keep an eye on their routines to ensure everything goes well. Since sleeping is one of their main activities, it’s crucial to be aware of what an ill cat looks like when it sleeps. This way will be able to help them as soon as possible and prevent them from suffering. Today we will talk about cat sleeping positions when sick.

Sleep is essential for cats because, as their ancestors did before, these kittens sleep for several hours due to their instinct to conserve energy when it’s time to hunt. Of course, nowadays, it doesn’t take much energy to walk to their food bowl, but perhaps instinct is more substantial than logic.

As vocal as they are, cats cannot talk, so learning to identify the small signals they send us through their body language is essential. If you are interested in acquiring the tools to become even more expert on your cat, keep reading this article to discover some sleeping postures that could indicate that a cat is not feeling well.

5 Cat sleeping positions when sick

Let’s start by clarifying that if your cat sleeps in any of these positions, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is sick. Perhaps he finds it comfortable. But as in everything, the appearance of new habits or the repetition of positions may indicate a problem. If your cat never sleeps in a certain way and suddenly starts to do so, that is when you need to pay attention.

1. Curled up in a ball

Most cats sleep in this position, which is very comfortable because it allows them to stretch their spine and keep their body heat. In this position, they can hide their paws and ears, the body parts through which they lose heat. Like us humans, we lose heat through our feet and head.

This position doesn’t signify a problem but indicates the cat is cold. By doing this, your cat is trying to conserve its body heat. Many animals have this same problem, if their environment is freezing, they will try to save their heat and energy reserves, and an excellent way to do this is by sleeping.

cat sleeping positions when sick - curled ball

Cats have a body temperature between 100-104° F, so they require a room temperature above 60 degrees. If your home is colder, try to regulate the temperature and help your cat with a warm bed, blanket, or box to protect him from the cold. When the cold is extreme, a good option is to put a heating pad under your cat’s bed.

It’s important to distinguish when a cat is cold because if left unattended, the cat could develop hypothermia, and, unfortunately, this can be fatal.

2. Fetal position

This position, similar to the previous one, can also indicate that our cat is cold, so you know what to do. But if the room temperature is adequate and your cat continues to sleep like this, it may be trying to protect some part of its body because it hurts.

cat sleeping positions when sick - fetal

Notice that his stomach and paws are protected when he sleeps like this. When your cat wakes up, you can check to see if he has any lumps in his stomach, but be careful. Cats are not very fond of belly rubs. Another possibility is that he has a problem with his paw pads. Perhaps he has a splint or dry, cracked paws.

3. Lying on stomach

This position is used by cats to rest or to take a short nap. It’s not unusual to find them in this position. There are two variants of this posture:

a) Paws outstretched

A cat’s main benefit in lying on its belly with its limbs extended is to relax its hips and joints. Perhaps it’s tired or stressed and needs to rest.

cat sleeping positions when sick - stomach paws stretched

This position may indicate that the cat is hot, so it lies down on the floor, trying to cool off with the freshness that floors usually keep. Some cats like to roll around on concrete after stretching their paws. If your cat is breathing too fast and lying on his belly, help him by regulating the temperature, providing water and shade, and good ventilation. Just as too much cold causes hypothermia, too much heat can cause heat stroke.

b) Loaf position

This is also one of the most common positions among cats. They lie on their belly and tuck their front paws under their body. Sometimes they use your chest to lay down in this position. This posture generally indicates that a cat feels comfortable and safe in its environment, so congratulations!

As always, be aware that it could also mean that your cat is hiding its paws because they hurt. When he is awake and relaxed, check to see if he has any cuts, or maybe it’s time to trim his nails. Cats’ nails are curved, so if they grow too long, they can get in the way when walking, hurting the paw pads.

4. Lying on their back

A cat that shows its belly is vulnerable, so if your cat sleeps on its back, showing its belly, it’s certainly not normal. Far from showing vulnerability, the cat intends to be alert and ready for any attack since, in this position, teeth and claws are exposed, ready to attack.

In this case, it’s advisable to see a vet rule out or treat any possible illness, for example, arthritis.

cat sleeping positions when sick - back

Or your cat could be feeling hot and is trying to cool off by lying on his back, exposing his belly to the air. Try lowering the room temperature or providing a fan to circulate the air better.

5. On their side

Most of the time, a cat that sleeps like this indicates that it’s comfortable and secure, relaxed with its owner. Although rare, this posture may tell that the cat has some kind of respiratory problem, so it seeks to stretch out on its side to breathe easily.

cat sleeping positions when sick - side

Additionally, if your cat is making a different sound when breathing or has heavy or agitated breathing, don’t hesitate and go to the vet, as it can be a treatable infection. It can also mean asthma or a blockage.

Other signs: cat sleeping positions when sick

Here are some other (sleeping) signs that may indicate that your cat is sick:

1. Cat sleeping accompanied

Sick cats often hide to conceal their vulnerability, but a cat in a lot of pain will give in and ask another cat to protect it while it sleeps. If you don’t have another cat, he will seek your protection.

2. Cat sleeping in the same position

If during all cat naps you notice the same posture, your cat wants to tell you something, don’t hesitate to check it and ask your veterinarian.

3. Cat sleeping with one or both eyes open

Oh yes, cats can sleep with one or both eyes open! If this is your case, it means that your cat doesn’t feel safe and is on the lookout for danger. Or sometimes your cat might be in the sleep phase known as REM (rapid eye movement), in which dreams occur.

Final words: Cat sleeping positions when sick

Now that you know the different cat sleeping positions and what they mean, you will be able to understand your feline friend better. And remember, if you have doubts or see any changes in your cat’s behavior, it’s always best to go to the vet.

Sleeping positions are just one of the many symptoms of illness in cats. If your cat shows any other signs of being sick, such as losing appetite, lethargy, or vomiting, be sure to take them to the vet immediately.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve ever noticed your cat sleeping in a strange position and what it might have meant!

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