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Why Do Cats Loaf?

When a cat loafs, it conceals its legs beneath its body like an Egyptian Sphynx. The term loafing is used because a cat sitting this way can look just like a loaf of bread.

Owners and experts like to come up with viable reasons for every little thing cats do. Have you ever wondered why cats loaf?

Cats loaf when they feel secure in their environment. You’ll notice their eyes are usually open and they appear to be daydreaming or casually watching whoever is nearby. Though cats loaf when they feel safe and relaxed, it is a position they can spring into action from if necessary.

The reasons why cats loaf
Our Maine Coon Charlie loafing

12 Reasons Why Cats Loaf

What does it mean when a cat loafs? Here are some ideas we’ve come up with for why they love to adopt this position and what makes them choose the spots they loaf in.

1. Loafing for relaxation

If your loafing cat looks relaxed and happy, it must feel safe and not in imminent danger. Its legs are tucked away and it doesn’t think it is going to have to take flight any time soon. If it is purring as it loafs it is one very chilled out and content cat.

Picture above is of a white cat loafing on a lawn

2. The heat-conserving loaf

A cat might loaf to trap as much body heat as possible and prevent it from escaping from its extremities. Cats are adept at conserving energy which stems from the days when they needed to store it up for hunting sprees.

By tucking its legs beneath it, a cat will keep as warm as possible without having to use up resources.

3. Loafing to keep the cold at bay

If a cat is feeling chilly you might notice it in the loaf position with its tail wrapped around its body. This position conserves heat as mentioned before and the tail adds an extra cozy layer.

You might want to be kind to your cat and put a heater on. Alternatively, you could buy it a Thermokitty Heated Bed (link to read reviews on Amazon)

4. The under-the-weather loaf

Loafing can be a sign that your cat is unwell or in pain. It probably won’t look relaxed, might be in a corner or under a bed, and most likely will not want your attention. A lack of appetite is another sign that all is not well. Don’t take any chances – get your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

5. Loafing on your laptop

One of our Maine Coons is very guilty of committing the laptop loaf. He doesn’t care if it’s open or closed. There are a few reasons why cats might like loafing on your keyboard:

  • It’s warm.
  • It gets your attention.
  • It smells of you.
Picture above is of a cat on a laptop
Harry loafing on my laptop

6. Loafing on your satellite TV receiver

This is definitely a warm spot. Try to deter your cat from laying there as it may block the vent and cause your box to overheat. It’s unlikely to do your cat any harm though.

7. Loafing on your clothes

The familiar smell of you makes your clothes irresistible to your cat. it will happily loaf on them all day long, especially the ones on which cat hair stands out the most i.e. your black stuff.

I recommend every cat owner purchases a good supply of lint rollers (link to read reviews on Amazon). Here’s Harry loafing on my jumper!

PIcture above is of a cat loafing on a jumper

8. Loafing on beds

I know our cat loafs on our bed – he likes the heat from the electric blanket! It’s his favorite place when he’s been out in the rain. I should really get paw print patterned bed sheets.

Picture above is of a Maine Coon loafing on a bed

9. Loafing in a box

For added draft exclusion, a box is another favorite place for your cat to do some loafing. Any time you get a cardboard box with anything in, make sure you give it straight to your cat!

10. Loafing on your lap

Some cats love to loaf on laps. You’ll usually find they face outwards from you and that you are being used as a heat source while they keep their batteries fully charged ready to keep you awake all night.

You may find your cat loafs on you for hours whilst your bladder almost bursts because of course, you won’t want to disturb it.

11. Loafing by the food bowl

Personally, I think they hope you will serve food right under their nose so they wait in the loaf position which is also the eating position for most cats.

12. Loafing in the sun

Cats will just chill out in the sun in the loaf position. Here’s Harry in our front garden just soaking up some rays.

Picture above is of a Maine Coon loafing in the sun

Why does my cat loaf and stare at me?

When a cat loafs it is a sign that it feels safe but is still aware of its surroundings. If your cat stares at you from this position, it is checking what you are up to.

It will actually watch any other person or animal so as to be ready to spring to safety if necessary.

The Reverse Loaf

This is our Maine Coon Harry doing the reverse loaf.

Picture above is of a cat showing its belly

For more on the subject of the unspoken language of cats, see The Complete Guide to Cat Body Language.

For an explanation of why Maine Coons sometimes lay with their bellies exposed, as Harry is above, have a look at our article, Why Do Maine Coons Lay on Their Backs?

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