Our feline friends are capable of pulling off lots of tricks and funny postures. But once in a while, they will do something utterly bewildering, like curling up in strange poses while sleeping, forcing us to question the logic behind it. Such as, why do cats sleep with their heads upside down? It can be confusing for all the pet parents who are still trying to decode the feline postures.

You may wonder if you are doing everything right or if something needs immediate attention.

Let us assure you this is normal behavior and may have several explanations. Read along to find out.

Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Heads Upside Down?

Sleeping with their head upside down is a typical feline behavior and could be indicative of a cat that feels secure in the environment. It could stem from a human-like need to relax and get comfortable while sleeping.

The cat could also adopt the posture to retain its body heat by covering the ears and nose or to shut out all the noise. With an exposed nose and better chances of picking up scents, it could be the cat’s way of knowing whether their source of trust, which happens to be you, is still around. For it is a learned behavior and will be exchanged for another more secure position once their main caregiver is out of the picture.

A cat sleeps bundled up in a ball with its head upside down over a stair the outdoors

Exploring the Causes of Cats Sleeping With Their Heads Upside Down

Cats are crepuscular animals and split their sleep into numerous catnaps throughout the day. They have such a variety of postures to go along with their sleeping schedule that they have actual names, like the meatloaf, monorail, contortionist, and the ball. And each serves as a window into the feline brain, showing us a thing or two about how they feel.

Feeling Safe

A head upside down position inevitably exposes the cat’s belly, which happens to be a documented behavior associated with an environment the cat feels safe. Confusing? Let us take this statement apart to explain.

An orange tabby cat sleeps with its head upside down on a blue bedding

The cat’s belly is a vulnerable place, all its vital organs lie there, and if someone tried to hurt it on the belly, it could potentially cause lots of damage. Also, the position compromises the cat’s ability to escape quickly in case of danger. It is not something an outdoor or undomesticated cat would do. So, if your cat sleeps in a position that makes it vulnerable, it feels safe doing so. It is a sign of trust.

Feeling Comfortable

Now, this might be a little hard to wrap your head around, but sleeping in a position with its head upside down is very comforting for the cat. To understand that, first, you have to dismantle the notion that if something is not comforting for you, it is going to be the same for the kitty.

Cats are flexible thanks to a robust musculoskeletal system, enabling an astonishing ability to land on their feet after a fall. The same flexibility helps them twist and turn their body in odd positions and yet feel perfectly at ease. So, just as humans stretch, roll over, and stretch a hand in a fist while the foot on the opposite side dangles from the bed to feel comfortable in their sleep, cats hold their heads upside down.

Retaining Warmth

A practical aspect of the posture could lie in conserving energy. Naturally, the curved ball posture comes to mind when thinking of an energy conservation posture for a sleeping cat. But realize that the cat’s ears stick out, and the holes (ear canals) make them a good point for loss of heat.

So, if a cat’s ears feel cold, it will curl up and, at the same go, put its head upside down to warm its ears and nose if it is doing the curling job efficiently enough.

Avoiding Noise

We have all been through this exam time, a long day after work, or returning from a long trip to find noisy neighbors blaring music and partying to their heart’s appetite. We are lucky enough to have the option of using earplugs, soundproofing, and if nothing else, pressing the pillow hard against our ears.

A cute white kitten sleeps on a grey carpet with its head upside down and a paw covering its eyes

Besides the soundproofing that could be installed in some homes, cats do not have the remaining options. Not to mention the noise indoors that could be troubling them. But the kitty needs its sleep to function, so it improvises and sleeps in a posture that covers the ears.

Picking up Your Scent

Your cat is in a vulnerable position, remember? So, it needs a check on whether or not the person who ensures the safety is around long enough to allow it to continue sleeping care freely. If it slept with its head up, its chances of catching your or any other scents, for that matter, will be minimal.

But with its head upside down, the nostrils are exposed to all sorts of smells. A scent is one of the major ways a cat recognizes its territory and family. So, if you move away, the cat will know and will assume a more vigilant and ready-to-spring-into-action posture.

What Pet Parents Can Do to Provide the Cat a Comfortable Environment to Sleep?

Now that you know that it is perfectly fine for your cat to sleep with its head upside down, you may want to know what you could do to make it feel more at ease.

Regulate the Indoor Temperature

Provide a comfortable temperature indoors so your cat feels comfy. A good way to do so is to regulate the thermostat at a pleasant level and notice the cat to see if it is happy with the development.

Reduce Chances of Noise

If you see the cat napping, let it enjoy sleep by reducing any chances of noise. Turn the TV off, close the window if it gets noisy outside, and be careful with your activities to avoid disturbing the sleepy kitty.

A lovely cat sleeps underneath a table in a relatively dim lit room

Reduce the Brightness

You got the temperature right and blocked out the noise. Now what? Well, the brightness. So many of us stock up on sleeping masks to block out all the light as we sleep peacefully in our beds. We could strive to do the same for our feline friends by drawing the curtains, dimming or turning off the lights, and moving our screens away to spare them the blue light.

Control the Urge to Rub Their Belly

Having your cat sleep beside you with her face upside down, you might be tempted to give the sleeping cat a belly rub. But we suggest you do not do that as it might startle the cat and draw a knee-jerk reaction, possibly involving some scratching and violence.

Final Word: Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Heads Upside Down?

It is completely normal for cats to sleep with their heads upside down. It shows that your cat is feeling completely safe and secure in your presence, and thus do not worry about leaving her belly vulnerable. Besides that, a cat may also sleep in this posture when they have to retain warmth, cut noise, or track the scent of their surroundings. Support them by providing a congenial environment.