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Why Does A Cat Loaf – 6 Reasons & Factors

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Parents of felines will attest to seeing their pets do some weird maneuvers, especially loafing. From stretching like a gymnast to twirling like a ballerina – there’s plenty of cat moves that leave humans curious. So let’s get to the core question; why does a cat loaf?

Cats loaf to express a general feeling of ease. Cats will loaf to be comfortable, express contentment and satisfaction, and unwind. Other reasons for cats imitating a loaf include pain or injury, retaining body temperature, or the need for a quick nap. 

The good news is this feature is devoted entirely to breaking down why kitty cats love the loaf position and what you can do to ensure your pet continues to feel safe and happy in your company!

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Reasons Cats Loaf 

It’s possible your cat isn’t a fan of loafing, but that doesn’t mean it’s broken or anything. Felines have distinct personalities, and while some behaviors may be generalized, every cat will have its quirks. 

Conversely, if your kitty loves loafing and often assumes the position to sit near or next to you – congrats, you’re likely your feline’s favorite human. If you have difficulty believing that, go through our list of reasons for cat loafing and pick out the reason you think suits your feline best. 

1. To Be Comfortable

Did you know a cat’s shoulder blades aren’t attached to its body through bones but through muscle? Or that a feline’s spine can rotate more than any other vertebrates? 

The point of that brief version of cat physiology 101 is to explain to you that stuff that your cat finds comfortable may not necessarily look too comfy to you. 

So, when your kitty tucks all its legs underneath its body – you can stop wincing. Because one of the likeliest reasons cats loaf is they’re trying to get all cozy. This behavior is even more likely in spaces where your cat feels completely safe. 

Long story short, think of your feline assuming the loaf position as the human equivalent of relaxing on a recliner.

2. Expressing Satisfaction And Contentment

Unless we’ve missed something, cats can’t communicate through words. But, that doesn’t mean felines haven’t figured out the fine art of communication through body language.

That’s why, when your furball is feeling pleased with life in general – it’ll try and communicate its satisfaction to you through actions. And one of those actions is loafing. It’s kind of like the feline way of saying, ‘Not bad, human. Feel free to continue taking care of me.’

When a cat assumes the loaf position, its paws are tucked underneath its body, which means it’s relaxed and doesn’t fear any immediate danger.

Cats on their guard aren’t known to put their claws away, so to say. But, because your pet chooses not to flop on its side or expose its belly, it’s not 100% laidback either. 

However, here’s how you can tell your cat is trying to tell you it’s happy. If your feline assumes the loaf position in your lap or anywhere near your vicinity – where you’re in its direct range of sight – your cat is showing you its content for the time being. 

3. To Unwind And Loosen Up

Felines are creatures of habit, and they don’t like their routine observed. However, sometimes your cat may be put off by the slightest of changes. For example, you’re late for feeding time, or the family dog has done something to annoy your cat. 

Whatever the reason for the temporary upset may be, your cat will likely get over its bad mood after a while and will look for ways to get its zen back.

And, one of the most favorite feline ways of trying to unwind after some drama is to assume the loaf position. Why is that? Because the position allows them to loosen up and be in control at the same time. 

For example, if your cat isn’t entirely over its pout after something has ‘upset’ it, it may choose to assume the loaf position to ease up while making sure it’s still ideally situated so that it can run off at a moment’s notice. 

4. Pain And Injury

Generally, cats with a paw injury can sometimes loaf to ensure the painful pad stays safe. Think of it like this; if you’ve injured your hand, you’re more likely to keep it close to your side to avoid more pain. 

Believe it or not, cat paw injuries are pretty standard, and your cat can harm its paws in numerous ways. For instance, stepping on glass, swatting bees or wasps, walking over sharp metal objects like needles can all cause your pet pain.

Cats can also injure their paws by jumping for a spot that’s too high. And, of course, an ingrown claw can also be pretty painful. If you see your pet trying to keep its weight off one leg or notice swelling or a cut on the paw – it’s best to have your kitty checked out by the vet to get it the help it requires. 

5. Trying To Stay Warm And Toasty

Does your cat tend to loaf more often in the winter than compared to summer? If yes, then there’s a super-simple reason behind such behavior – conservation of body heat. 

A feline’s body temperature will generally range between 99.5 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, fur also helps thermoregulate your cat’s body temperature by not allowing your pet’s natural body heat to escape. 

However, when temperatures dip below a certain point, such as 45 degrees Fahrenheit, cats struggle to stay warm, and a constant exposure to anything below 32 degrees Fahrenheit can bring on hypothermia.

That’s why, if you catch your furball loafing on days where the weather touches or dips beyond 45 degrees – it’s trying to retain body heat by tucking its paws underneath its body so that no part of its body is left exposed to the elements. 

6. Prepping For A Quick Siesta

Another reason cats love to loaf is that it allows them to settle down for a quick nap without compromising vigilance. You’re more likely to catch your cat sleeping in the loaf position when it’s nowhere near the time your cat generally likes to rest. 

Felines may choose to take a speedy snooze for several reasons. For instance, after vigorous playtime activities, immediately after eating, or even when your pet’s recovering from an illness. But no matter the reason, the loaf position remains the preferred nap time position for cats worldwide.  

Types Of Cat Loaf Positions

Essentially, there are two types of cat loaf positions: the sphinx and the bread loaf. And you feline may assume either of the two for various reasons. But, before getting to the reasons, let’s discuss the two loaf positions in detail. 

1. The Sphinx Position

You can tell your cat is sitting in the sphinx position when its paws are visible under its body and appear side-by-side – just like the great sphinx statue located on the Giza Plateau. When your furbaby is in the sphinx pose, it’s technically bearing its weight on all four paws.

2. The Bread Loaf Position

Your cat’s paws aren’t at all visible in the bread loaf position because they’re entirely tucked underneath its body. Your kitty is resting on its belly and isn’t exerting any pressure on its paws in this pose. 

Cats in the sphinx pose are more alert than they seem. They’re merely resting in an arrangement that allows them to be on the move quickly if they choose. 

That’s why felines will assume the sphinx pose to look outside windows, to rest a while before the next round of running about, or for a quick nap. On the other hand, kitties relaxing in the bread loaf pose are more relaxed or trying to conserve their body temperature. 

Is It Normal For Cats To Loaf 

It’s normal for cats to loaf. Loafing among felines is a widespread phenomenon that cat parents often take to the internet to learn more about it. However, at times, loafing in senior cats may be a sign of chronic kidney disease. 

If your cat displays symptoms like weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, along with loafing with its head pointing down, book a visit to the veterinarian to rule out the chances of the disease. 

Do Cats Loaf When Happy

Cats may loaf to express their contentment and happiness. This is especially true when your feline deliberately loafs in your lap or next to you. Also, cats loafing when they’re happy will appear more at ease and have their paws tucked underneath their bodies. 

Do Cats Loaf When Sick

Cats, especially senior ones, may choose to sit in the loaf position when they’re not feeling well. That’s because being seated in this way allows your feline to protect whatever part of its body is hurting and gain some relief. If your cat tends to loaf with its nose on the floor and front paws stretched out completely – it’s likely it’s in pain, and a check-up at the vet is in order. 

Why Do Cats Sleep In Loaf Position

Cats can choose to sleep in the loaf position for numerous reasons—for instance, felines like loafing during the winters to maintain their body temperature. At times, cats will choose to sleep in the sphinx position when they’re not entirely sure of their surroundings. 

If your cat chooses to sleep in the loaf position next to you or your lap, it’s trying to cuddle with you and let you know it’s happy. Conversely, cats with paw injuries can also assume the loaf position to sleep to protect their paws. 

Why Does My Cat Loaf And Stare At Me

Cats are pretty self-sufficient, and reading them accurately isn’t always easy. However, generally, when cats are loafing and staring at their human simultaneously, it can be for one of two reasons – they’re either curious or trying to show affection. 

If your cat is sitting in the loaf position away from you but is facing you directly, it’s possibly trying to gauge how you’re feeling or what you plan on doing next. 

On the other hand, if your cat is bread loafing right next to you (within touching distance) and is staring at you with half-lidded eyes or slow blinks – it’s showing you affection. Pet experts affectionately term this behavior ‘eye-kissing’, and it’s your feline’s way of saying it trusts you and feels safe with you. Pretty cute, right?

Ways To Determine Why Your Cat Is Loafing

If you’re curious about discovering the reason behind your feline’s loafing habit, you’re going to have to put on your Sherlock hat and do some careful observation. More often than not, what your cat does before and after loafing can give you some helpful insight. 

For instance, if your cat’s daily routine involves loafing next to the window or in its bed, your pet is just trying to get comfortable or settle down for a quick nap. On the other hand, if your feline sidles up close to you and loafs on you out of nowhere, your furbaby is in the mood for affection. 

Things To Consider

Feline loafing is primarily harmless and is standard behavior among cats. Despite that, there’s a slight danger that your pet may be loafing due to pain or illness. 

Here are some valuable pointers to help you look for warning signs accompanying your cat’s loafing habit and a few tips to help you bond with your pet if all’s well. 

Warning Signs To Watch Out For

Felines in pain are also known to rest in the loafing position because it helps them gain some measure of relief. If you want to stay on top of your game and rule out the chances of injury or illness for your pet, here’s what you should look out for:

●      For injuries

○ Limping

○ Constantly sitting in the bread loaf position (with paws hidden underneath the body)

○ Unwillingness to put weight on one or more paws

○ Unwillingness to play 

○ Cut or visible injury on paw

○ Excessive licking or biting of the affected paw(s)

●      For illness

○ Lack of appetite

○ Lethargy

○ Vomiting 

○ Diarrhea

○ Weakness

○ Weight Loss

○ Excessive thirst

○ Bad breath

Tips On How To Bond With Your Pet

When your cat is loafing with paws tucked underneath its body and its eyes at half-mast, it’s feeling relaxed and content.

In other words, it’s the ideal time to build a deeper bond with your feline by showing it some TLC. Try approaching your pet slowly and gently pet or stroke its fur. If your cat starts purring – you’re on the right track. 

Another way to show your furbaby how much you love it is by gently grooming its fur with a soft-bristled brush to imitate how a mama cat licks its babies. This is a handy tip for cat parents with furballs who dislike grooming. 

Remember to observe your cat’s reactions as you continue brushing it. If your pet starts to close its eyes or purr, you’re helping your kitty cat relax further. If your cat starts to get a little fidgety, adjust your strokes and keep a light hand.