Of all the adorable things cats do, few are as charming as cat bread. Cat bread, cat loaf, potato cat, turkey cat, hover cat – whatever you call it, this precious resting position is common among our felines.
Walk into a room and you’ll find your cat lounging on the back of the couch. Or, they may be mimicking a bun in a sunny spot by the window.
Some cats also relax while watching their humans do chores like cooking or working. If you notice your cat striking one of these favorite poses, try to stifle the happy purring. You don’t want to ruin the moment.
But have you ever wondered why cats strike these adorable poses? Science has provided the answer.
Cats lie on their backs and put their paws on their chests.
What is “loafing”?
If you haven’t heard of “cats lounging on their backs,” you may be very confused right now. However, if you work with cats on a regular basis, you’ll recognize the “cat on its back” position, if not the term.
The cat is lying on its back with its front paws scrunched up on its chest. The tail may be curled around the flanks, and the hind legs are tucked tightly underneath. This creates a plump rectangle, much like a loaf of bread. This is how cat bread came to be.
In addition, there are several variations of this adorable bread. There’s even a “face-punching bread” in which a tired kitten is punched in the face. There is also the Sphinx bread, which contains a cat with claws outstretched, resembling the Sphinx monument in Egypt.
Although it can’t be proven, many cat experts say it’s safe to assume that cats slouch and sit because they’re comfortable.
Why do cats sit like sloths?
Now that we’ve established what makes a cat slouch sit, here are some of the most likely reasons why cats prefer to slouch sit.
Although it can’t be proven, many cat experts say it’s safe to assume that cats slouch and sit because they’re comfortable. We all know that cats are connoisseurs of comfort. They have a favorite spot on the couch and a special talent for hogging blankets. They also know how to adopt positions that don’t tax certain parts of their body.
Sleeping on your arms may not be comfortable, but remember that cats have a different body structure than humans. In addition to having a different bone structure, cats are much more flexible than humans.
They can put their body parts into strange positions that may seem physically impossible. However, for cats, these poses are delightful. You may notice cats curling up into a bread-like shape and blinking their eyes slowly and lovingly. This shows that they enjoy your company.
Even pampered house cats know that warmth is necessary for survival.
2. Keeping Warm
Cats may lie on their backs to keep warm. Cats like to stretch out on a sunny spot on the floor or curl up next to a heater. One reason for this is that warmth equals comfort, and we already know that cats like comfort. But it’s also about survival.
Even pampered house cats know that warmth is necessary for survival. Maintaining a small amount of body heat can mean the difference between life and death, and it’s an instinct seared into the brain of every cat. It’s a gift from their wild ancestors that sometimes influences their behavior.
As mammals, cats produce their own body heat. However, even covered in fur, they are susceptible to cold. A cat’s paws lose heat quickly. Just as feet and hands get cold more easily than other parts of the body. Cats will curl up and keep their limbs close to the rest of their body to ward off the cold. This helps maintain valuable body heat.
The muffin position for cats is ideal for keeping their paws warm. If you see a cat in the “bread” position and wonder if it’s cold, take a look at its tail.
Cats usually wrap their tails around their bodies when they are cold. You can also try feeling the cat’s ears. The ears are another part of the body that can get cold quickly. If you touch your cat’s ears and notice that they seem cold, they are probably feeling cold.
A cat’s non-scratching body language indicates that it is not feeling threatened or anxious.
3. Neutral Position
When a cat loafs, they’re feeling comfortable, but they’re not so relaxed that they’re ready to fall asleep. With their claws tucked away, your cat’s body language shows they aren’t feeling threatened or anxious. They don’t feel like they need to be ready to spring into action or run away quickly. If they did, they would be tense, and their paws wouldn’t be trapped underneath them.
Cat researcher Mikel Delgado with the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis told Inverse Science, “Generally speaking, a cat who is lying with their paws tucked underneath them is considered relaxed. They aren’t preparing to defend themselves or run away.”
At the same time, however, the bread loaf position is protective. The vulnerable internal organs aren’t exposed, and the cat’s head is still upright to give them a good view of their surroundings.
These body language signals suggest the cat is feeling calm, but they still want to be aware of what’s going on around them. It’s not time to nap, but it’s also not time to sprint through the house or defend the family’s honor. Cat loafs are perfectly neutral.
The next time you spot a cat loaf in your living room, think about how your cat might be feeling. Are they watching you intently, or are their eyes squinty and soft? Are they near a natural heat source?
These body language signals indicate that the cat is feeling calm, but it still wants to know what is going on around it.