Source: PetsRadar (Extract)
Posted: March 24, 2024

Why do cats loaf? It’s a question you may have found yourself wondering if you’ve ever watched your feline friend adopt this classic and super cute sleeping pose.

A typical resting position when your kitty has had their fill of the best dry cat food or has exhausted themselves running around after the best interactive cat toys, the cat loaf tends to be a sign of comfort and relaxation.

One of many funny things cats do, the loaf is usually nothing to worry about. While it can occasionally signal illness, for the most part this sweet resting pose is simply your cat’s way of keeping warm or chilling out.

Have you ever heard the term ‘cat loaf’ and wondered what on earth people were talking about? If you’re anything like us, you might have wondered if you’d somehow missed out on hearing about a new kind of fancy bread — but while this kind of loaf may not be suitable for toasting and spreading peanut butter on, it sure is super cute!

“Cat loaf is the name given to a position often favored by cats, where they tuck their paws under their body and curl their tail around them so they resemble a loaf of bread (with a head!),” explains Godfrey.

While this is known as the traditional cat loaf, there are several variations on the theme. Some cats will prefer to keep their tail or elbows out in a partial loaf position and of course, what they’re sitting on at the time may affect the shape of their loaf as well!

Cats seem to have a whole bunch of reasons why they pop themselves into a loaf position and while it can signal a problem (such as illness), for the most part, loafing is just really comfortable for our feline friends.

“We can’t ask cats why they loaf, but it’s likely to make them feel more secure and less vulnerable, as well as being comfortable and helping them keep warm,” confirms Godfrey.

Here are some of the most common reasons why our kitty companions love getting their loaf on…

  1. To keep warm: “Have you ever tried sitting on your hands when you’re feeling cold? It really works to help you warm up. So it makes sense that cats will tuck their paws and tails under them so these extremities don’t get cold!,” says Godfrey.
  2. They feel safe: “Cats spend lots of time on high alert to potential threats, so they like to keep a low profile. In this position, they’re not exposing their tummy or attracting attention, so they feel more secure and can relax a little,” Godfrey explains.
  3. It’s comfortable: “It might not look it, but cats seem to find this position comfortable and relaxing, probably because they feel safe, warm, and cozy.
  4. They don’t feel well: “If a cat feels unwell, they might feel more vulnerable and threatened,” explains Godfrey. “Therefore, making themselves as small and inconspicuous as possible could help them feel like they stand out less. If they have belly pain, they might choose the loaf position, but they would likely show other signs of being not well too, so if your cat likes to loaf, don’t assume there’s something wrong.”

Believe it or not, there’s more than one way to loaf! Our feline friends have perfected the traditional cat loaf, but they’ve also come up with a whole bunch of variations that are well worth being aware of if you’re looking to call yourself an expert in loafing styles.

One of the best things about owning a cat is watching all the super sweet positions they get themselves into. Here are a few of our favorites when it comes to the cat loaf…

  1. The full loaf position: This is the most common and classic of all the loaf styles. In this position, your kitty will lie on their stomach with their arms, legs and paws all tucked underneath them. Their tail will be curled tightly around their body and their head will be upright with eyes opened or closed depending on how sleepy they’re feeling!
  2. The partial loaf: A lot like the full loaf, but with one key difference — your cat will keep their front paws visible, either with their elbows jutting out to the side or with their paws extended forward like the Egyptian Sphynx.
  3. The face loaf: One of the most adorable variations on the traditional loaf, the face loaf is where your kitty adopts the classic loaf position with the exception of their head, which they face plant into the floor! Nobody quite knows why they do this — maybe they’re exhausted or simply don’t want to be disturbed, but whatever the reason, it’s clear that our cats find it a comfortable and relaxing way to get some shuteye.
  4. The loaf boat: No, this position isn’t adopted by water-loving cats who decide to take a dip in the bath — although we can understand the confusion! We’re not entirely sure why this position got its name but given it’s the traditional loaf shape with one paw extended out further than the other, perhaps it’s because that paw resembles an oar or the front of a boat?
  5. The attack loaf: Likely familiar to cat owners around the world, the attack loaf is that hilarious position your feline friend adopts when they’re about to pounce on something. They’ll have the core of their body in the classic loaf shape but with their tail extended back and their paws slightly extended ready to spring into action. You’ll know they’re about to go for it when you see that super cute bum wiggle start to happen!

Is the cat loaf one of those weird cat behaviors that you’re worried about? If so, rest assured that loafing is usually nothing to worry about. Most of the time, your feline friend adopting the loaf position is one of the signs of a happy cat that signals they’re feeling comfortable and relaxed.

However, if you’re familiar with cat body language and you notice they’re tense, rigid, or there’s an arch in their back or stiffness in their body, it’s worth looking them over and checking to make sure they’re not hiding a wound or injury.

If you’re at all concerned about the way your cat is loafing, we recommend speaking with your vet who will be able to rule out any underlying medical issues and help put your mind at ease.