LifestyleIs your pet loafing around, or is it a cry for help? What your cat's 'loaf' position means

Is your pet loafing around, or is it a cry for help? What your cat's 'loaf' position means

The relaxed cat assumes the "loaf" position.
The relaxed cat assumes the "loaf" position.
Images source: © Adobe Stock

7:33 PM EST, January 10, 2024

Cat enthusiasts know that cats can rest in the most peculiar positions. One such posture is the "loaf" position, where the cat lies on its belly, hiding its paws and tail underneath, thus resembling a furry loaf. But how should cat owners interpret this position?

Understanding the "loaf" position: expert analysis

A cat imitating a "loaf of bread" indicates it feels safe and comfortable around its caregiver. Cats assume this position at their preferred spots in the house. Particular cats favor a comfy carpet or a plush couch, while others adapt this position on their beddings. Hidden claws and paws tucked under the belly suggest that the cats don't feel endangered and can unwind without hindrances.

"A cat with its paws tucked under its stomach is deemed relaxed. In this position, the animal isn't readying itself for defense or escape," - explains Mikel Delgado, an assistant professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Cats will exhibit this behavior only in those homes where the owners take proper care of them, ensuring their needs are met. However, the veterinarian pointed out that the "loaf" position doesn't always denote the cat's well-being.

Is your cat mimicking a loaf? This could denote discomfort

The frequently chosen "loaf" position implies lesser strain on the animal's spine, which enables the cat to relax completely. This position also helps protect their paws from the cold as the pads that aren't covered by fur get cold much faster. Cats love to tuck their paws under their belly where they can keep them cozy.

Dr. Mikel Delgado suggests that cats may indicate their health status using this position. The loaf position can sometimes be a sign that a cat is experiencing discomfort or pain.

"A cat persistently sitting on its paws can be in pain and maybe trying to hide it by assuming this position," emphasizes the specialist.

If the pet seems lethargic, shows less enthusiasm for activity, or seems reluctant to approach its bowl, it warrants a visit to the vet. Otherwise, there's generally no cause for worry. More often than not, the "loaf" position is a sign of a good mood.

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