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Why Do Cats Loaf? Vet Experts Reveal the Sweet Reason Behind This Cute Behavior

Plus, 9 photos of kitties demonstrating how to make a purr-fect loaf

Allow us to introduce you to cat loaves, one of the most adorable cat photo trends on the internet these days. Even if you’ve never heard the phrase “cat loaf” before, you’ve probably seen it, especially if you have a fur baby at home. So what is a cat loaf? And why do cats loaf, anyway? Keep reading to see what vets and animal behavior experts say about this adorable act, then scroll on to enjoy some of the most adorable photos of fuzzy kitty loaves we could find.

What is a cat loaf?

If you have a cat, you’ve probably seen her loaf, even if you’re not familiar with the term. “Loafing” is when a cat lays down on her stomach and tucks all her feet up underneath herself so you can’t see them. In this position, she looks like an adorable fuzzy loaf of bread, hence the name. (Click through for other fun slang pet terms you may not have known.)

Why do cats loaf?

Cats do lots of things that are adorable yet mystifying. If you’re a cat parent and you see your cat lounging (or even sleeping!) in this cute position, you’ll be happy to know one reason they do it may be a compliment toward you.

“The act of loafing is generally a sign of contentment,” says Dr. Sabrina Kong, DVM and veterinary contributor at We Love Doodles. “When cats loaf, they feel secure enough in their environment to rest without needing to be ready to spring into action.”

A kitty in loaf is often just focused on staying cozy and warm in your presence. “Loafing means that their paws are fully tucked underneath themselves, meaning they aren’t preparing to run away or defend themselves. They feel pretty safe,” notes Dr. Mikel (Maria) Delgado, cat behavior expert with Rover. (Speaking of their little paws, click through to learn more about toe beans.)

Another common reason cats loaf is to conserve body heat, notes Dr. Kong. “Tucking their limbs under their body minimizes heat loss, which is especially useful in cooler environments.” So if your kitty has turned into a loaf of bread, she might be indicating she’s a little chilly. (Another cute way cats keep warm? Curling up in cardboard boxes!)

9 photos of the perfect cat loaf

Having trouble visualizing a cat loaf? No worries. Keep scrolling to see some of the cutest kitties going loaf mode. Which one do you think is the best cat loaf? Let us know in the comments below.

1. White cat loaf

white cat on pink blanket loafing

We love a white loaf — both bread and cats.

2. Mustachio cat loaf

White and brown cat resting

This sophisticated kitty loaf has a dapper little mustache!

3. Golden kitty loaf

Cat resting on white duvet

If this cat were bread, we think she’d be a hearty rye.

4. Grumpy kitten

squinting gray cat

This loaf looks like she might want more time baking!

5. Orange loaf

Orange cat laying on a bed

Talk about a citrus sweetie!

6. Lakeside loaf

Orange cat loafing by a lake

We can’t think of a cozier way to take in nature.

7. Calico loaf

Calico cat resting

With those happy eyes and relaxed ears, this might be the perfect cat loaf.

8. Bread basket kitty

fuzzy white and brown cat in a small basket

We love that this cat loaf came with her own basket, but she might need a size bigger.

9. A stately loaf

Cat in loaf position

She looks alert and regal, all while looking like bread. That takes skill.

When loafing — or not loafing — is a cause for concern

While many cats loaf, not all of them do it regularly. And since loafing is a sign of contentment and relaxation, you might worry that your loaf-averse kitty isn’t happy in your home. Is that the case? Not necessarily, says Dr. Kong. “It’s about individual personality and comfort levels. Some cats might loaf more frequently because they’re laid-back, while others might do it less often because they’re more alert or active.”

If you’re worried about whether or not your cat is relaxed, there are some other body language signals you can look for. “There’s more than just the loaf position,” says Dr. Delgado. “Signs of a relaxed and happy cat include laying on their side or curled in a bun, or showing positive behaviors like playing, stretching, grooming or exploring their environment.”

Maybe your cat is a perma-loaf, and she’s almost always laying around with her little toe beans tucked up underneath. She’s probably just content or trying to stay warm, but it’s important to keep track of her energy levels to make sure she isn’t too lethargic. “If they’re always in this position and seem reluctant to move, it might be worth checking for any signs of discomfort or pain,” says Dr. Kong.

Click through for more on cats and their habits:

Why Cats Stick Out Their Tongue — Vets Reveal the Quirky Reason and When to Be Worried

Why Do Cats Knock Things Over? Vets Reveal What’s Going On In Their Kitty Brains — And How to Get Them to Stop

Why Cats Make Biscuits — Vets Reveal the Cute Reasons Behind Their Need to Knead

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