cat loaf

A Cat Loaf, What Is It?

Cat Loaf is a term used to describe the appearance of a cat who is sat with all four legs and its tail tucked in, they look very similar in both shape and size to a loaf of bread.

cat loaf
Spot the difference!

What Does The Cat Loaf Position Mean?

Loafing is a very comfortable position for a cat, yet it is also a position which they can quickly spring out of if they feel under threat.

Loafing cats aren’t completely at ease like a cat lying on their back is however the position isn’t one which they would adopt if they were feeling anxious.

The cat loaf position can mean a number of different things but generally it means that your cat is keeping themselves warm and comfortable while allowing themselves to observe their surroundings.

If your cat is loafing you rarely need to worry, it is a normal cat behaviour.

Why Do Cats Loaf?

There are numerous reasons why a cat may loaf, the most common reasons are:

1. To Keep Warm

A cat’s ideal body temperature is 38.6 degrees C (101.5 degrees Fahrenheit), significantly higher than ours.

The ancestors of the domestic cat lived in deserts which is why cats love heat and are much more comfortable in the summer months.

If there’s a patch of sun to sit in, a warm radiator, a well-insulated box or an inviting warm lap to snuggle up on you can be sure your cat will find it and make the most of it!

a cat loaf

Loafing helps them maintain their core body temperature.

By tucking their feet and tail in under their body their extremities become well insulated so little heat is lost.

Maintaining their high core body temperature requires quite a bit of energy, especially in the winter months, so loafing around is the perfect way for them to keep warm and conserve energy.

2. It’s Comfortable

Cat’s love comfort almost as much as they love warmth. Curling up comfortably on something nice and soft is what cat’s love to do.

However, if they can’t find something particularly soft to rest on they can always loaf instead.

a cat loafing

Cat’s skeletal structure work in a way that means that folding their arms, legs and tail in beneath their body is a very comfortable and natural thing to do.

It probably feels similar to them as folding our arms does to us – it’s comfortable and keeps us a bit warmer.

3. It Allows Them To Be Aware Of Their Surroundings

If your cat is in the cat loaf position it is fair to say they are fairly relaxed.

However don’t be fooled, in the loaf position their head is still up and they are well aware of everything that is going on around them.

out cat whisky, performing a cat loaf

If something suddenly happens they will easily be able to spring up out of the cat loaf position immediately and get out of there in seconds if they need to.

It’s not like sitting cross-legged is for us (a bit difficult, slow and fiddly once you pass a certain age!)

4. They May Have An Injured Paw

If your cat is not usually a loafer and they suddenly start loafing then this may indicate that they have hurt one of their front paws in some way.

Unlike sitting upright, loafing allows them to take the weight off their front paws.

It also means that their head is very close to their paws if they have a wound to lick.

cat loafing with injured paw

Another reason why a cat sits in a loaf if they have an injured paw is to hide the injury.

When they tuck their paws underneath their body it is inaccessible and unseen by other cats or potential predators that your cat may be wary of.

Typical cat paw injuries include things like:

  • A cracked paw pad
  • Ingrowing claws
  • A scratch

Don’t pull your cats paw out from underneath them to inspect their claw. A cat will not thank you for disturbing them from loafing…and if their paw is injured then they may react aggressively.

Wait for them to get up and then have a close look at their paws and the way they walk to see if there is any indication of an injury or any limping.

5. ..Just Because!

Cats like humans don’t always have a reason for everything they do, sometimes they just loaf because they have nothing else to do, sometimes they’re probably not even aware of the fact that they are loafing.

Your cat’s behaviour doesn’t always directly correlate to them feeling something.

If you notice that your cats loaf more often than usual you don’t have to worry that they are feeling cold, uncomfortable, on edge or they have an injured paw…chances are everything in their life is absolutely fine and they just want to sit in a loaf for a bit!

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