Cats are known to be very mysterious creatures with very quirky but adorable behaviors. You may have noticed your cat or a friend’s cat that always sleeps on their back sometimes and wondered, why do cats sleep on their backs? They always look so at peace and comfortable in this position.

There are so many reasons out there that try to explain why cats sleep on their back. You may have thought about some yourself already, and there are no definitive explanations, but in the meantime, let me tell you what it could mean when your cat sleeps belly up.

What does it mean when cats sleep on their backs?

They Are Comfortable That Way:

There are various positions cats sleep or sit (we may have seen them in some of these positions) that many of us humans would consider being really uncomfortable or plain ridiculous, but that’s not the case for our feline buddies.

Cats are very popular for their flexibility. They can fit into tight corners, or stretch themselves like yoga masters. Why should it be strange if they want to relax on their backs with their paws in the air? Cats can sleep on their back and could be totally comfortable in that position after all. Even humans have special positions; we feel comfortable enough to sleep in.

They Are Seeking Attention:

It is admittedly almost impossible to ignore a cat lying or sleeping belly up. Even those people that won’t consider themselves cat-lovers steal a quick look of a cat on its back sleeping.

Cats love being the center of attention. Well, some might like the attention more than others, but they all need some attention. So, when cats sleep that way or lay on their backs when they see you, they might simply want you to interact with them.


They Might Be Holding On To Childhood Behaviour:

Little kittens can’t go to the bathroom without some help. Their mothers have to stimulate them to pee and poop with her tongue, and after the kittens are done, the mothers lick any bit of leftover. A lot of kittens learn to sleep on their back so that their moms won’t have to disturb them by flipping them over when she’s trying to help them eliminate waste.

From that period, they learn how to turn over onto their backs when it’s time for them to go to the bathroom, to hint their mom that they are ready but need their help. Grown cats may have never forgotten the habit of sleeping on their backs after all.

They May Be Asking To Be Groomed:

Kittens grow to become cats old enough that they don’t need any assistance to eliminate waste. When a mother cat knows that her kitten no longer needs help to go to the bathroom or clean him or herself, she licks their face and chest rather than helping with the washroom.

According to an excerpt from a Quora comment,

“Those kittens, when at the stage of using a litter box (4–6 weeks old) and no longer needing stimulation help to eliminate, would love to continue the ritual.

At this stage, Mom cat essentially does what I do. Often just licking their face and chest. She will no longer lick the potty area and make it about grooming.

Older cats that got the full transitioning (completed mostly at 5–6 weeks old) can most likely use this language to ask to be touched/groomed/petted. Whatever laying on their backs would get them as kittens.”

They May Be Luring You Into Giving Belly Rubs & Petting Them:

Cats can be simply irresistible, and sometimes they like to use their cuteness to get what they want. Cats love petting and belly rubs, so sometimes when they are on their backs, they are trying to hint that they want you to gently stroke their very sensitive sweet spot. If you ignore your cat when they’re like that for some time, they might meow at you, as if to say, “Pet me please.”


They Feel Completely Safe, And They Trust You:

The belly of your cat is considered to be one of the most vulnerable areas of their body. When your cat is laying or sleeping on its back, exposing its most vulnerable areas to you long enough to even fall asleep, it is a clear sign that your cat feels completely safe around you, and they trust you.

If they were to suddenly be in danger, it would take a long time to get on their feet. So, a cat sleeping on its back is quite certain that they won’t be attacked.

They May Be Taking In Some Sun:

Cats love warmth. You can find them curled up close to the room heater or other sources of heat. For cats, there is something soothing and relaxing about soaking up as much of the sun as possible. So, a cat could be sleeping on their back so that the sun rays can hit a large surface area of their body that is usually hidden.

There are so many other beliefs and ideas on why cats sleep on their backs, and even though we don’t understand the language of cats, sometimes we can only assume and speculate.


For whatever could be the real reason why cats like to sleep on their backs, our cats seem to enjoy being in that position. We have been able to highlight some theories and ideas on why they sleep that way, like affection, safety, or old habits from their days as kittens. We hope that we have been able to help you understand your cat a little bit more.

We believe that you’ve had your speculations about this cute habit, so go ahead and tell us what you think. It would be nice to hear your ideas.