Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Relaxed or vulnerable? What do pet sleeping positions mean?

Popoki the cat sleeping on her back

Cats and dogs sleep in all sorts of crazy positions. But the one that seems to perplex the most people (as determined by the number of people who search for answers about this sleeping preference) involves sleeping back down and belly up. Many, many people wonder why in the world pets would sleep like this and what it means if a pet sleeps this way.

The short answer, in my humble opinion, has to do with comfort. Our pets aren't crazy enough to do things that don't feel good on their little bodies. If they choose to sleep in a specific way, it's because they feel good sleeping like that. Mystery solved.

But there are a few other theories out there.

Sinead the boston terrier sleeping belly up

In the wild, the theory goes, dogs wouldn't sleep with their bellies exposed like this. It would be all too easy for a predator to sneak in and cause a great deal of damage if a dog slept like this for an extended period of time. People who follow this line of thinking say a dog is very trusting of you and your home if that dog will sleep with feet in the air. It's a sign of trust.

Fergus the Siamese falling out of his bed

In the cat world, some believe it has to do with dominance. Cats who sleep with feet up or feet out are claiming a lot more space, so they only really sleep like this if they feel confident that they are in charge of the space in which they're sleeping. Insecure cats who fight might stay in a ball, while confident cats who know they're in charge can spread out.

I'm not sure what the truth is. All of these theories seem at least somewhat plausible to me. But I do know that both my dogs and my cats look adorable when they stretch out while sleeping. And if they do so because of something great I'm doing, I'd better keep up the good work to keep the cuteness flowing!

Do you have any opinions about these crazy pet sleeping positions? Drop me a line in the comments! Love to hear your thoughts.

And remember to join the blog hop as hosted by BlogPaws. You'll be glad you did!


  1. I'd like to think that it meant Humphrey is comfortable. It's my favorite position to snap pictures of him!

  2. I have definitely heard the belly up theory before. Ruby does sleep belly up sometimes and I do think it is because she is comforable

  3. Personally, I think it's a combination of all.

  4. Pets are so smart! If only us humans would get the memo about not putting ourselves in positions that are not comfortable. Stretching more probably wouldn't hurt us either. My cats sleep in a lot of positions that tell me that they feel at ease in my home. They are always offering me their paws and their bellies!

  5. Such cuties. I always thought when my cats sleep with their belly up it means they feel safe.

  6. I think it's a mixture, we have to feel secure enough to get into a comfy the way we like it!

  7. As my husband says when he passes Harley like that - "airing it out a bit?" LOL

  8. We've always believed our cats feel safe and comfortable when they sleep with their bellies exposed. But yes, Gracie probably does it to purposefully take up more space on the couch. Ha ha.

  9. I've always heard that too - that dogs sleep with their bellies exposed only if they feel safe. So it always warms my heart to see a pup sleeping that way. Sleeping pet pics are the cutest!

  10. That is one of my favorite sleeping positions. ~Wally