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Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Heads Upside Down?

Like any other animal, cats have their eccentric behaviors and physical features, making them cute, curiosity-inducing creatures. 

Unless you get well-acquainted with your cat, you won’t be able to decode her body language. 

Just as when her ears get held back means that she’s mad or frightened, and when her tail straight up means she’s expressing her happiness; her sleeping position hides a lot more than just how tired or sleepy she is.

This article will tell you why cats sleep with their heads upside down and what to do when they do so.

Why are cats so flexible to tilt their heads upside down?

Have you ever admired your cat’s weird gestures and wondered how she could be so flexible and agile?

Well, there are 4 body characteristics that make cats so flexible.

It starts with their spines

Cats have highly flexible bodies, thanks to their elastic and flexible spines. Their spines are so flexible that they can extend and stretch their backs better than any other animal. 

This allows them to run at high speed, tilt their heads upside down as it perfectly aligns with their spines, and sleep in weird positions.


Cats’ spines are connected with 53 vertebrae-bone disks, and thanks to this high number compared to humans and other animals, they can rotate 180 degrees effortlessly.

The collarbone

Cats’ collarbones are so small, which makes them liable to fit in tight spots and adjust to any size. 

The shoulders

Cats’ shoulder blades are connected to their bodies with muscles rather than bones, unlike humans and dogs, allowing them to lengthen and stretch their bodies at will.

Should I be concerned if my cat sleeps like this?

No. In fact, it’s common for cats to tilt their heads upside down, and it shouldn’t be worrisome in most cases. 

That said, head tilt is known to be a medical condition, and it can be a sign of illness. 

If your cat constantly tilts its head upside down or remains longer than usual, it may be hard to find balance or comfort in its normal position.

It may signal that she’s suffering from what’s called idiopathic vestibular syndrome, an ear-targeting disease. It’s usually important to check with your cat’s veterinarian if you have any suspicion. 

Why do cats sleep with their heads upside down?

Seeing your cat sleeping curled up like a ball with her head upside down is cute and relieving, but it’s not random. This is a typical sleeping position for cats for many reasons. 

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This may be the most obvious reason. Don’t we all sleep in our most comfortable position? Cats are no different. 

It may seem uncomfortable to you, but it’s the total opposite. Cats can sleep in this comfy position for several hours. 

Because their bodies are flexible and their heads are light, which causes them no pressure, this twisty position seems to be their typical comfy sleeping position. 

It just perfectly aligns with their body’s flexibility. Having their heads upside down also helps cats blocks any light and allows them a comfortable and undisturbed sleep.  


This position helps them maintain a warm temperature in their body, which feels more comforting and soothing.

Cats have wet noses and thin ears, which is why they feel the cold most on their nose and ears. That explains why they tuck their nose and ears in as they curl into a ball. 

By having their ears and nose covered, they maintain a degree of warmth and resist the cold. 

When a cat’s ears and noses are exposed, it means that they are satisfied with the outside temperature and have no need to keep themselves warm. 

Safety and security

When indoor cats sleep with their head upside down, they cover their ears and eyes. This is their universally acknowledged vulnerable position. 

Thus, it entails that they feel homely, safe, and secure, and they are not anticipating any looming threat. 

That explains why it’s uncommon for outdoor cats to sleep with their head upside down because they want to be prepared for defense. 

Instead, they adopt a position that allows them to hear and sense any potential danger by keeping their eyes and ears uncovered.

If you look at outdoor cats, you’ll notice they sleep with half-opened eyes and their ears outstretched.

This is because they fear or anticipate danger, and they do so to sense any unnatural sound or potential attack. 

What should I do when my cat does that?

Check the temperature

Because cats sleep with their heads upside down to maintain a warm degree of temperature, it’s important to make their sleeping spot as warm as they need. 

The ideal body temperature for cats is above 90 degrees to prevent catching hypothermia, which, as the name indicates, is a disease that results from excessive exposure to cold and is common among cats. 

Set your thermostat around 70 degrees to provide a warm sleeping spot for your cat. 

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Cats can tolerate 50 to 60 degrees, although they’ll try to find extra warmth by lying next to your radiator, snuggling in a blanket, or jumping right to you.

From 45 degrees downward, it gets too cold for cats. You can make a blanket fort for your cat during colder winter nights or even dress her in soft and warm clothes. 

Minimize the room’s brightness

If it’s daytime and the room is so bright, lower the curtain so that your cat enjoys an undisturbed sleep. 

If she’s sleeping with her head upside down, covering her eyes, it’s for a reason! No one finds sleeping in a bright room comfortable, and cats aren’t different.

Light can annoy cats and prevent them from having a good nap.

Draw the curtain and try to minimize any luminosity therein. If it’s nighttime, turn off any lamp, and ensure it’s as dark as she needs.

Cats prefer dark places, especially for sleep. If your cat is still young, it’s even more crucial to prevent any intense light from penetrating her sleeping spot, as younger cats are highly sensitive to light. 

Provide a comfortable and quiet environment

Like humans, cats need a quiet place and silence so that they can enjoy a good night’s sleep. 

Your cat is not only tucking her ears to keep them warm but also to minimize exposure to intense and disturbing sounds.

To ensure a comfy sleeping spot for your cat, make sure to eliminate any source of disturbing sounds. 

For example, don’t place your cat’s sleeping box or bed near a washing machine, in hallways, or near your other pets’ sleeping spots-if you have any.

Choose the quietest corner in your house, where nothing can disturb her.

Don’t forget that cats are sensitive to high-pitched sounds; they get easily scared and feel threatened by sudden and loud noises. 

To keep your cat healthy and anxiety-free, make sure to minimize noises as much as possible.

Final thoughts

Cats are too sensitive to the cold, loud noises, and light, all of which they can fight by sleeping with their heads upside down while covering their eyes, ears, and noses- the most fragile body parts. 

It’s a typical cat sleeping position as it provides comfort, warmth, and safety and aligns with their highly flexible body nature.

When your cat is sleeping with its head upside down, check the room’s temperature and set it around 70 degrees, turn off the lights or lower the curtain to minimize light disturbance, and provide a quiet environment.