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Cat Loafing: Why Do Cats Sit Like a Loaf?

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

If you own a cat, you’ve probably witnessed them “loafing” at some point. But why do cats loaf?

To those who aren’t familiar, “loafing” is when a cat sits with its paws tucked underneath its body. As a result, the cat ends up looking like a furry loaf of bread.

This position can be a bit puzzling to newer cat owners. Fortunately, loafing is usually nothing to worry about in most cases, as sitting in the cat loaf position simply helps a cat regulate their body temperature.

While it is adorable, there may be more to cat loafing than you realize. Read on to learn a little more about loafing and other potential reasons behind this behavior. We’ll go into a little more detail about the cat loaf meaning, and compare it to other similar instances of feline body language.

Why Do Cats Loaf?

Cat in the loaf position
Cat in the Loaf Position

So, why do cats loaf? The most common reason for cats to loaf is to regulate body temperature. Tucking their limbs underneath themselves can help keep those hairless paw pads warm. Resting in this position also helps keep their entire bodies at the ideal temperature.

Cats tend to loaf year-round, but you may see it more often during autumn or winter.

Another reason for loafing is that your cat is feeling content. It could even indicate a sense of safety or trust. With their main source of defense–their claws–tucked away, loafing is a sign that your cat feels safe around you!

Overall, loafing is generally not a cause for concern. But there are a couple of signs to watch out for.

Does your cat cover their face while they’re loafing? Or are they suddenly loafing more often than usual? It could mean they’re having trouble staying warm.

Cats get cold more easily than humans do, so it’s important to keep a watch out for this. At an average of 100 to 102.5 degrees, they have a higher default body temperature than we do. So if your cat is loafing more often than usual, it may be time to turn up the thermostat.

Cats may also sit in the loaf position if they’re in pain. This may be a way of concealing an injury to the paw or limb. It’s in your cat’s nature to hide injuries, so be sure to pay close attention to any changes in behavior. Limping, lethargy, or excessive grooming of a specific paw are just a few signs that your cat might have an injury.

Read Also: Why do cats wink?

Do All Cats Loaf?

Loafing is a very common behavior in cats. Some cats may loaf more than others, but a few cats may not loaf at all.

Like humans, cats have individual personalities. If you find that your cat has never been one to loaf, it’s not a cause for concern–they may just prefer a different resting position.

However, any sudden change in your cat’s behavior is a different story. If your cat used to loaf regularly and suddenly stop, keep an eye on their behavior to make sure nothing is wrong.

How to Keep Your Loafing Cat Warm

Temperature regulation is the most common reason for loafing in cats. If you notice your cat loafing more than usual during the chillier seasons, you may want to consider providing some extra sources of warmth.

If you’re reluctant to crank up the thermostat, there are other ways to help your cat stay at its ideal body temperature.

You may see your cat loafing most often in specific areas. It may be a particular spot on the couch, or the arm of a chair, for instance. To help them stay even warmer, consider laying a soft blanket in these designated loafing areas.

A proper diet can also help your cat regulate their body heat in the long run. High-quality cat foods, especially ones that are high in omega-3 acids, can help keep your cat’s fur healthy and strong. And when your cat has healthy fur, it will do a better job at keeping them warm.

You can even sit next to your cat while they’re loafing to help keep them warm. By simply being near your cat, your body heat can help them better regulate their temperature!

Similar Body Language and Positions

When you think of feline communication, the first thing to pop to mind is probably meows and purrs. However, cats will also use their bodies to convey their emotions and needs, and loafing is just one example of this!

Here are a few other instances of feline body language that are similar to loafing or often accompany it.

The Sphinx:

The Sphinx position is very similar to loafing. Some people may even use the terms interchangeably.

While loafing involves all four limbs tucked beneath, a cat in the Sphinx position will have its two front paws exposed–just like the Egyptian Sphinx statue.

Cats rest in this position for the same reason as loafing. It can help regulate their body temperature, and it is a sign that they feel safe and content.

Kneading:

Kneading, or “making biscuits,” is when a cat kneads their paws against a soft material, often while purring. This behavior mirrors how kittens will knead their mother’s body while nursing.

As adults, cats will knead to show that they feel content and safe. This behavior may also activate scent glands in their paws, allowing them to mark their territory.

If you notice your cat is making biscuits, it is a sign they are getting ready to relax. After a long session of kneading, you can expect them to settle down, often in the cat loaf position.

Slow Blinking

If your cat goes into the loaf position, you may notice them blinking slowly. New cat owners or those unfamiliar with cats may find this a bit puzzling. However, slow blinking is merely a sign that your cat loves and trusts you!

If you notice your cat slow blinking, try doing it back at them. Alternatively, you could try slow blinking first and see if your cat returns it; more often than not, they will.

About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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