why do cats loaf?

Why do cats loaf?

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Why do cats loaf?

By Zoë Monk Content Writer

Updated on the

Did you know that when cats sit with their legs and tails tucked underneath them, it's called loafing? But why do cats loaf and what does it mean?

Most cat owners will have seen their feline friends sitting in their favourite spot with their legs underneath them. It seems to be a natural position for cats to get into and they'll happily sit like that for quite a while.

But while it makes your moggy look like a neat furry package, there are good reasons why they sit in this position.

What is a cat loaf?

Picture your cat lying with their tail and legs tucked in underneath them. Don't you think they look like an adorable furry cat loaf? When cats curl their front feet up underneath their chest and tuck their back feet under the tummy, it miraculously transforms them into an adorable fluffy cat loaf.

The term cat loaf, cat loafing or just loafing has become increasingly popular online to describe a cat sitting with its limbs tucked under its body, forming a loaf-like shape. Loafing usually shows that a cat is comfortable and content. But it can also mean that your cat isn't feeling well, is trying to get warm or is conserving its energy. Learning the usual cat behaviour for your feline friend will help you determine why your cat is loafing.

Why do cats loaf?

There are several possible reasons, but to tell which is relevant for your cat involves learning to read your cat's body language. Here are a few explanations as to why cats loaf:

It feels comfortable

Your cat might loaf simply because it feels comfortable and relaxed in your presence. This is a sign that it trusts you so much that it feels it can let down its guard. When a cat sits in this position, it can show that it doesn't feel it will have to defend itself. This is especially true if it is happily purring away simultaneously.

To get warm

Sometimes, cats tuck themselves in to maintain the perfect body temperature. A cat's normal body temperature range is between 38.3 and 39.2°C as opposed to a human's 37°C. Just as with our fingers and toes, a cat's paws will lose heat quicker than the rest of its body. Tucking their paws in underneath themselves helps keep them warm and preserve their body heat without having to expend any energy. If you spot your cat in this position with its tail covering its nose or encircling its body, it could be that the room is too cold for them.

They are on alert

Your feline companion may loaf because they are on alert. For example, you may notice your cat tucked in when they sit by a window and listen to the birds or other noises outside. You can tell they are not entirely relaxed by their twitching ears and their eyes opening occasionally to look at the source of the sounds. A cat loaf position means that your cat can relax all the while remaining alert to its surroundings and be able to quickly untuck their paws so they can prepare to defend themselves or run if needed.

Do not disturb

While cats may sit in the loafing position because they feel comfortable and relaxed, this doesn't necessarily mean they want to be disturbed. If you see a cat in the loaf position, it may not be the right time to try to play with them. See how they respond to a stroke, but don't be offended if they show no interest or move away. Let them be a loaf of bread for a while; sure enough, they'll come running to you when they decide they want some attention.

They don't feel well

Unfortunately, our feline friends are masters at concealing their minor aches and pains. When a cat tucks in their paws, especially if it's not their normal behaviour, it can signify that they are concealing some illness or injury. If your cat sits in this position more than usual, don't panic. Look out for other cat behaviour, such as favouring one leg or excessive paw licking. If you notice this behaviour, getting your cat seen by the vet as soon as possible is a good idea.

There may not always be an obvious reason your cat sits like a loaf of bread. It could simply be that sometimes your cat wants to lie on its back with its tummy up, or it wants to lie on its tummy with its paws tucked in. After all, sometimes we choose to sleep on our backs and then we might sleep on our side or front other nights. While loafing can mean that your cat doesn't feel well, in most cases, it's because it feels happy and safe or wants to keep itself warm.

Do you think cats look like a loaf of bread?

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