Why Cats Sleep With Their Head Hanging Down

If you’ve ever caught your cat sleeping with its head hanging down from its perch, it might leave you scratching your head and wondering how that position could be comfortable on its neck, or maybe even wondering if your kitty is sick.

Why do cats sleep with their heads hanging off things?

Cats sleep with their head hanging down usually simply because it’s comfortable for them. If your cat is sleeping with their head or paws hanging from the edge, there shouldn’t be any cause for concern. Your cat just feels comfortable that way.

Sleeping with their head hanging off their perch isn’t the weirdest way cats sleep, as any owner can tell you.

Our own cats can often spend much of their time sleeping during the day with their heads hanging off the end of the bed.

We’ll explore why they do it in further detail, other common but awkward looking cat sleeping positions that are totally fine, and even cover a few of the more confusing sleeping habits of cats.

Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Heads Hanging Down?

It isn’t uncommon to look over at your cat and think, “how can that even be comfortable?”

Without a doubt, they can be some of the strangest animal companions, and it’s not a surprise that our kitties can get themselves in some distressful looking positions to take a nap.

One of these positions is hopping up on a table or chair and then dangling their head off the edge. In some cases, it’ll even throw a paw or two over. This position could make your cat look as if it might be sick or even dead.

If your cat finds itself in this cliffhanger position, don’t worry too much. All it means is that your cat finds this positioning comfortable and relaxing!

Thankfully, finding a cat sleeping in an awkward or contorted position rarely indicates any sort of serious underlying issue, medical or otherwise.

But the way a cat is sleeping can still give us some information about what they’re feeling, and we’ll talk about that next.

4 Awkward Cat Napping Positions And What They Mean

Cats are by nature contortionists and can seem to get themselves in some bizarre positions.

While many of them may be just a relaxing way to lay for your cat, others can indicate their current mood or even just be instinct driven decisions.

1) Belly-Up And Arms To The Sky

In this position, your cat will stretch out on its back and fall asleep almost wholly sprawled out.

This is one of those instinct driven behaviors. When an animal feels anxious, unsafe, or threatened, it will curl up and keep its most vulnerable parts (such as its stomach and neck) hidden away.

So, when your cat is exposing its belly when napping, it signifies that your cat is entirely comfortable with its surroundings and feels safe and secure.

You’ve got one happy and content kitty!

2) One Eye Shut The Other Eye Open

Cats have a strange ability to be asleep yet conscious at the same time, so you might find your kitty dozing off with one eye still open.

This was a helpful tool for wild cats before they were domesticated, as it means they can get some rest while still remaining somewhat alert so a predator can’t sneak up on them too easy.

So, if your cat is sleeping with one eye open, that means it feels like it can’t fully doze off.

It could be an indicator of stress or unfamiliarity, but it can also just as easily be due to a myriad of other reasons (not all of them bad) so you shouldn’t worry too much.

3) The Paw Over Face Belly Tuck

This one might not be so peculiar. Many people do this, and for just the same reason as cats.

Cats will unconsciously put their paw over their face when they’re in a deep sleep.

This position is a sign that they don’t want to be bothered, so best to just take some cute pictures without disturbing them. It’s also a way to keep that pesky sunlight out of their eyes.

4) Contorted Relaxation

This position is a random one where your cat will decide that it’s done being a cat and would prefer to be a pile of sticks, with limbs bending every which way.

While it might look like some sort of strange and exhausting yoga, don’t worry; it’s just another position that shows your cat is supremely relaxed and comfortable.

4 Weird Sleeping Habits Of Cats

Cats don’t just have strange sleeping positions. They also have abnormal sleeping habits; here are four of the habits cats exhibit that can make humans scratch their head but aren’t cause for concern.

1) Falling Asleep On People

Cats are solitary animals by nature and prefer a life of independence, so it is a little strange that cats will quite often find your lap a great place to nap. Quite often, people think it’s because their cat loves their company.

However, there are several reasons cats will sleep on your lap:

  • They are seeking warmth
  • They like your smell
  • They feel safe and content with you

It turns out that they might like napping on your lap because a chemical called Oxytocin is released when they make contact with their owners. Oxytocin is a hormone that is responsible for feeling good.

So, just by touching and being near you, your cat feels good. Enjoy the love!

2) Sleeping In Small Spaces

It’s not uncommon for a cat to find the smallest space available to sleep.

Though it might seem strange that your cat would rather try to crawl into a small box than rest in the open, there’s a good reason for this.

In the wild, cats need a place to call home, and the safety and concealment offered by small cubbies can be an excellent way for a mother cat to keep her tiny kittens safe and hidden. Another possibility is that cats are ambush hunters and rely on stealth to capture their prey, so it could just be your cat’s instinct to rest in a hidden place.

3) Sleeping During The Entire Day

Cats are definitely some of the laziest animals in the animal kingdom. They can sleep anywhere and for a total of 10 to 16 hours per day.

There are two reasons cats sleeping so long, and they feed into each other:

  • Cats have a very protein-rich diet, and long sleep periods aid digestion
  • Cats hunt at dusk and at dawn, so that tends to be their most active periods

So, don’t be alarmed if you find your cat lounging about for most of the day. That’s only normal cat behavior.

However, you find that your feline isn’t active, constantly refuses to play, or is completely lethargic 24/7, then there could be cause for concern and you should go to see a veterinarian.

4) Snoring The Day Away

Snoring is not very common in cats and happens for the same reason that it happens to humans. So, in general, there isn’t much cause for concern unless it’s a frequent issue and your kitty isn’t getting enough good, deep sleep.

However, it’s important to note that flat face breeds such as Persians are prone to diseases like brachycephalic syndrome and respiratory issues.

It’s not uncommon for these flat-faced breeds to breathe loudly even when they are awake! Take that into consideration when deciding whether or not it’s time for a vet trip.

Are There Any Cat Sleeping Habits I Should Be Worried About?

If you find your cat tends to get into strange sleeping positions all the time, there is no need to worry.

Cats are contortionist and can find the worst-looking positions to be quite relaxing.

So, the odds are that there is nothing wrong and you have no reason to worry.

However, one of the biggest actual signs of distress is constant lethargy. If your cat is exhibiting extremely low energy levels or sleeping more than usual, it might be a good idea to take it to the vet.

While cats have some strange habits and love to sleep all day, a cat who lays around for days or sleeps more than 16 hours may have some medical issues that need addressing.


Your cat’s strange sleeping habits, like hanging their head over the edge, aren’t usually anything to concern yourself over, and most of the time doesn’t mean anything else except that your cat likes the position and feels safe and comfortable where they are.

Strange body positioning isn’t the only weird sleeping habit cats have, though. They also tend to sleep in strange places and prefer a lovely sock drawer over a cat bed in the living room.

In any case, unless your kitty is overly lethargic, there isn’t any need to be worried over their strange sleeping positions and habits.