Cats sleep on the floor because they are comfortable there. Comfortable in their safe territory and pleased with the feel of the surface. Cats may also be too hot, especially if they are lying fully stretched out on their side or stomach. Also, they could be overly territorial.
Find out how to tell when your cat sleeping on the floor is just relaxing, when they are feeling too hot, and when they are stressed and feeling over-protective of their territory.
Why Does My Cat Sleep on The Floor?
They feel happy and comfortable
Generally, anywhere a cat chooses to sleep is a place where they feel safe and secure, and which they have claimed as part of their territory.
So, in most cases, a cat sleeping on the floor is feeling secure.
Most cats sleeping on the floor are doing so because they are happy there. They might be in these positions:
- Curled around themselves into a ball: your cat may sleep on the floor curled into a ball or circle shape, with their paws and tail curled towards their head.
- On their side, stretched out and long: this is seen both in happy, comfortable cats, and in cats that are hot.
- On their stomach
- Lying on their back with paws splayed out: this is the most relaxed of all cat positions, as it makes them most vulnerable.
They are hot
Beyond about 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius, cats will feel hot. This applies whether they are indoors or outdoors.
Unlike us, who can take off a layer of clothing when we get hot, cats are stuck with their furry coats.
Since heat rises, often the coolest spot in the house is on the floor.
Floors are sometimes made of cooling materials too, such as tile or polished concrete, which can act like a cool-pack on the cat’s body.
What Does a Cat Look Like When It Sleeps on The Floor to Cool Down?
A cat who is using the floor to cool itself down will generally be stretched out in a very long and flat shape.
This is to press as much of its surface area as it can to the cool floor surface.
Cats who are stretched out on their stomachs are often hot, too.
Wild cats engage in this behavior on shaded patches of soil, which are cooling.
Cats can also sleep in a long and flat shape when they are not hot; they are just relaxed.
Is It Ok for Cats to Get Hot and Cool Themselves on The Floor?
Cats can tolerate most normal temperature ranges without any distress. They will just do what we do when it’s hot – engage in less activity, and seek cool spots.
However, you need to know the signs of heat stress or heatstroke in a cat. Cats can get heatstroke very quickly and die from it.
How Can I Tell if My Cat Has Heat Stress / Heatstroke?
If you think the cat is panting and having trouble or distress with its breathing, if it looks weak, or is staggering or confused, you should put the cat in a carrier with a cool wet towel close to the cat’s body and take your cat to the vet, in case there is heatstroke.
What Else Can Make a Cat Hot?
If the cat has been playing, or chasing prey, or has been chased, it may get hot and want to lie on a cool floor.
Is It Safe for My Cat to Sleep on The Floor?
While cats like soft surfaces, they also like hard surfaces as well as lumpy surfaces to sleep on.
A cat sleeping on the floor is perfectly safe. If they prefer that spot, you can leave them to sleep there.
However, if they are asleep in a spot where you might step on them or trip on them, you can move your cat.
Why Does My Cat Sleep on The Floor across a Doorway?
Some cats can be anxious about defending their territory.
This can move them to sleep on strategic spots, such as across a doorway, in the middle of a hall, or another high-traffic area in the house.
Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy calls this type of cat the Napoleon: a cat who is an army general of their territory, who may at times be a little aggressive. According to Jackson, the Napoleon cat is an over-owner of their territory.
Because of their anxiety to defend key positions, this type of cat will often pick strategic spots to sleep or rest, which can be an inconvenience to the household.
Sometimes they will also puff their chests or fur out, put their ears back, or hiss. They may also be leaving small marks with urine.
This is all to show displeasure at incursions into their territory.
Why Does My Cat Sleep on The Floor next to Their Food Bowl?
Cats may also sleep on the floor beside important things in their lives, like the food bowl, or your bed. This is normal behavior.
Why Does My Cat Sleep on The Floor on My Kids’ Toys?
Cats may sleep or rest on the floor beside activities that are going on there, for example, if children in their family are playing on the floor.
This is because the cat wants to feel part of the important activity you are doing. This is part of the charm of most cats.
There are lots of amusing photos on the internet of cats sleeping on the floor on children’s activity items, such as small building blocks or drawing paper.
Why Does My Cat Pick Different Spots to Sleep on The Floor?
Cats instincts tell them that it’s not safe to sleep in one place for too many weeks in a row.
In the wild, cats move their sleeping places every few weeks to avoid building up a trail of scent that would lead predators to their bed.
Also, the cat is driven to rub their scent throughout the house.
Should I Stop My Cat From Sleeping on The Floor?
It’s a normal behavior. In most cases, it would stress the cat (and you) to try and stop it from sleeping on the floor.
What Can I Do if My Cat Is Sleeping on The Floor to Be Territorial?
If the cat is sleeping on the floor in strategic positions because it is overly territorial, there are anxiety-reducing strategies that can help, such as a pheromone scent dispenser that helps the cat feel less stressed.
Playing with the cat as a regular daily routine before feeding them will also help them to feel more secure in their territory.
If troublesome territorial behaviors continue, discuss them with your vet or a cat behaviorist.
How Can I Stop My Cat from Getting too Hot?
Don’t leave your cat inside without the air conditioning on. Remember they have to wear a fur coat, and they are vulnerable to getting heat stress quickly.
Ensure they have water and that the access to water is the way the cat prefers: some cats will drink from a bowl, but many will only drink from running water.
Accommodate this with a running-water battery-operated fountain for cats or by running a tap when you are home.
If they will use a water bowl, try putting a few ice cubes in it during hot periods and see if they still like the water.
If you have more than one cat or dog, you’ll need to set up several water stations so that between them, they don’t run out.