Cat Sleeping on Its Back: What Does it Mean?

cat sleeping on its backImage by Selling of my photos with StockAgencies is not permitted from Pixabay

Cats are normally expressive of their feelings and state of mind. By learning how to read their behavioral patterns, cat owners can easily determine how to interact with their pets, how to approach them, to interact with them, and how to best behave around them.

One such unusual behavior cats may display around their loving owners is that they lie on their back. Sometimes, they even sleep on their back, with their tummies exposed and their paws upward.

Since this position is not natural to be taken by cats, some owners may be left to ask, is a cat sleeping on its back normal? Could it be unhealthy for them? What does the act mean?

Why Does the Act Seem Unnatural?

Cats normally are extremely protective of themselves. They do not let others touch them except for their heads and necks when being groomed by other cats.

So when a cat lies on its back, it is highly unusual. What is more unusual still is a cat sleeping on its back.

This means that there is something drastically different with the situation of the cat. Whether it is good or bad is what this article will make clear to you, the reader.

One of Cat Sleeping Positions When Sick

If it is really not like your feline furball to be sleeping on her back, she may be suffering from some sort of disease.

The most probable illness is arthritis. Your cat may be sleeping on her back, though not ideal, it may be to relief her joint of some pain.

Comfortable and Happy

A cat does not usually lie on her back. She always uses the front of her body as well as her paws to support her weight. When she lies on her back, she can be showing how comfortable and happy she is.

Her lying on her is a way of telling you that she feels comfortable and relaxed and happy. She is showing that she feels protected when she is around you. She is also showing that she is content.

While lying on her back, she may even purr and let you scratch her belly.

A Display of Trust

When a cat feels extraordinarily safe in her environment, she may become so rest assured that no harm will come to her when she is asleep. Safe enough to expose some of the most important parts of her body.

A cat sleeping on its back is a sign of her submissiveness. She knows that she is safe around you. 

The degree of trust developed between a cat and a human intimately developed from the cat’s kitten weeks is not something to be taken granted of. It is not easy to earn such deep trust from cats and it is not natural for them to easily give it.

A cat who lies on her back around you silently communicates that she knows you will not do anything to harm her. After all, lying on her back, a cat can not hope to possibly defend herself when attacked.

But when she intentionally goes to sleep in that very vulnerable position, it takes a lot more trust on her part to do so. 

Reproduction Purposes

According to Ohio State University’s Center for Knowledge Management, a female cat will also employ this position to attract potential mates.

Gratefully, it is quite easy to know whether your cat is just comfortable, or if she is being seductive.


When a cat suddenly drops on her back, it might be a sign of playfulness. In fact, it might even be her way of inviting you – no, demanding – to play with her.

The Center for Knowledge Management deduced that a cat lying on its back displays a lighthearted mood and is more than willing to play with you.

If you think this is the case, you should immediately grab her favorite toy because little miss fuzzball will not be waiting forever.

Being threatened

A cat will choose to sleep on its back when she feels threatened. In this position, she can easily use all of her paws instantly. This also allows her to use her teeth for defense.

This may seem starkly different from the other possible reasons why a cat would sleep on its back. It is. The question now is, “How could I tell the condition my cat is in when she sleeps on her back?”.

Listen to Her Voice

A cat exposing her tummy and yet growling is getting ready to attack. Not every time she turns on her back is she being cordial, she maybe being aggressive.

There will be times that your cat’s lying on her back will be accompanied with a purr. This definitely shows comfort and contentment.

If your cat’s general mood throughout the day is that off cheer and playfulness, and then she opts in to sleep on her back, she displays trust, happiness, relaxation and contentment.

If she avoids during the day, is aggressive and always seems on edge, and then she sleeps on her back, this could mean that she feels threatened and thinks that she should be on high alert at all times.

Cat Sleeping on Its Back

There may be different reasons why a cat chooses to sleep on her back. If you are confused about what it could possibly be meaning, you should just simply observe her daily behavior.

Her attitude during her waking times will carry on during her sleeping time. No matter how she felt and in what state of mind she was during the day, it will most likely continue in her sleeping hours.

A cat sleeping on its back is not a puzzle, but rather an answer to your cat’s state of mind. If it is a sign of underlying disease, go to the vet to have it taken care of.

If it is a sign of fear, find out what is wrong and strive to correct the situation. If it is a sign of happiness, contentment and trust in you, you should be proud of yourself and enjoy the cutest view of a cat sleeping on its back!

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