Why Cats Turn Their Head Upside Down (With Real Examples)

Cats cycle through many kinds of positions, but you may be wondering why cats turn their head upside down.

For a multitude of reasons, cats turn their heads upside and oftentimes, they are trying to tell you something.

Cats turn their head upside down when they feel comfortable and relaxed, when they feel safe, or when trying to conserve warmth. When outside or in unexplored territory, cats keep their heads up to listen and scout for predators, so they only turn their heads upside down in safe environments.

This peculiar behavior is generally a good sign when it comes to owning a pet cat. If a cat feels comfortable around you, then the cat may turn their head upside down from time to time.

Our own cats love to turn their heads upside down when sleeping or when lying on the bed and watching us walk by.

It’s only through years of a great relationship with our cats that we’ve noticed they trust us enough to be able to do it regularly.

In this article, we go into more depth about the reasons why cats turn their head upside down.

Why Do Cats Turn Their Head Upside Down?

There are three primary reasons why cats turn their head upside down:

  • To conserve warmth
  • When feeling safe and relaxed
  • To feel comfortable 

Cats are sensitive creatures, so unless they are in a safe environment or feel relaxed, they will most likely refrain from turning their upside down.

To Conserve Warmth

If you look at a cat’s ears, you will notice that they are quite thin.

Cat’s also have sensitive noses that will react to fluctuations in temperature. For this reason, cats will tuck in their nose and ears when experiencing colder weather to conserve warmth.

Cats can also lay down on their heads upside down to shield their ears from the cold.

Often, cats will curl up in a ball while turning their heads upside down to more effectively preserve body heat. If you are interested in capturing cute cat moments on-camera, a curled-up cat with a tucked-in head is both adorable and photogenic.

In more ideal conditions, cats will expose their ears and nose when they are comfortable with the temperature. Temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) are optimal for cats and will increase the likelihood that they expose their thin ears and noses.

This may sound confusing since cats also turn their heads upside down when they are comfortable. However, the difference is that when cats lay with their heads upside down, there is usually an additional requirement: they must feel safe and relaxed.

When Feeling Safe And Relaxed

Unless cats feel safe and relaxed, cats usually avoid turning their head upside down since this makes it more difficult to see or hear predators.

When cats turn their head upside, they also cover their eyes and ears most of the time.

Most outside cats avoid sleeping or lying down in this position since there are more potential dangers. As previously mentioned, this position makes cats more vulnerable and prevents them from reacting quickly to potential threats.

Outside environments do not provide a safe enough environment for cats to feel safe and relaxed.

In most cases, a cat will turn their heads upside down indoors in a safe and stable environment without any possible dangers. They can sleep or take a nap in this position for prolonged periods as long as there are not any sudden disturbances.

If you see a cat turning their head upside down, then they probably like you and feel friendly towards you.

For cat owners, investing time and energy into your relationship with your cat is important. Especially if you want your cat to feel comfortable around you. Once your cat feels friendly, they will show you!

Making Cats Feel Safer Around You

There are some additional things you should know when it comes to making cats feel safer and more comfortable around you.

This is important not only to maintain healthy relationships with your cat but also increases the likelihood they will turn their head upside down around you.

Here are some tips you can apply to make cats feel safer:

  • Move slowly and do not make sudden movements
  • Let the cat come to you
  • Learn your cat’s body language
  • Give your cat vertical spaces
  • Maintain peace and quiet in your home

Depending on whether you are approaching an outside cat or your indoor cat, these tips are more or less applicable to the cat.

When approaching an outdoor cat for the first time, you will need to approach slowly, but that may not be the case for your indoor cat. You need to consider the trust built into the relationship.

Learning cat body language will help you identify behaviors that signal to you whether a cat feels more or less comfortable around you. Just like you can practice reading people, you can also practice reading cat body language as well.

Whether you realize it or not, cats are always telling us something with their bodies.

Giving your cat vertical spaces is important so your cat can get a good view of the spaces they are living in. Cats are territorial animals, so getting a better view of their territory will make them feel safer and more comfortable.

Also, make sure to keep your home quieter and less chaotic to avoid inflicting unnecessary stress on your cat.

To Feel Comfortable

Believe it or not, cats love to turn their heads upside down because this position feels comfortable.

Unlike humans, cats have light heads and do not find laying down on their heads bothersome at all.

Here are some reasons why cats feel comfortable in this position:

  • Flexibility and Mobility
  • Pleasant for napping or sleeping

Later in this article, we provide you some tips on how you can make your home more comfortable and safer for your cats.

Flexibility and Mobility

Cats enjoy laying on their heads upside down since this allows them to stretch out their body with ease. This position enables cats to take advantage of their natural flexibility in various ways.

When turning their head upside down while laying down, they can move laterally to either side of their body, giving them more control over their body positioning.

This extra mobility is especially useful for cats that are playing with a toy or are simply enjoying the feeling of their head lying upside down.

Pleasant for Napping or Sleeping

Whereas humans generally get eight hours of sleep, cats sleep up to 16 hours each day.

This means taking more naps and sleeping for a large portion of the day when cats are resting and inactive.

Cats enjoy napping or sleeping with their heads upside down. At this point, you do not need to wonder why that is because we have discussed all of the reasons cats favor this position and what situations they like to use it in.

Whether they are trying to maintain warmth or to position their body more comfortably, cats find turning their heads upside down to be pleasant for napping or sleeping under ideal circumstances.


Cats like to turn their heads upside down for practical reasons, not just to look cute.

When cats feel comfortable and relaxed, they sometimes like to use this position to lay down, nap, or sleep.

Taking time to make cats feel comfortable around you is important but also might lead to cute rewards when they turn their heads upside down to show that they feel friendly towards you!