Why do Cats LOAF?
Cat owners are familiar with the adorable pose where kitties tuck their paws under themselves and neatly fold up their body into a loaf shape. This cuddly cat position where cats look like furry bread loaves has sparked the affectionate term “cat loafing.” But why do cats loaf? The reasons reveal insight into comfort, defense, and communication.
Loafing provides a comfortable way for cats to rest and relax. By tucking their limbs in, they conserve body heat while remaining alert. Cats have core temperatures higher than humans and lose heat more easily through their extremities. Compacted loafing helps cats stay cozy.
The loaf pose also makes cats feel physically and emotionally secure. With their paws safely tucked, vital organs protected, and claws hidden, it puts shy or anxious cats at ease. And a curled up loaf shape takes up less space, relieving social stress.
Additionally, loafing gives cats a better vantage point for observation. With their paws tucked away rather than splayed out, it’s easier for cats to survey their surroundings. Their limited peripheral vision also focuses forward in the loaf pose. Like turrets, they can scan the area better while loafing.
Loafing may serve as a social signal to humans as well. The cute, cuddly nature of the loaf position elicits a caretaking response in cat owners. Cats may have learned loafing gets them extra attention and affection.
Certain physical factors can also prompt loafing. Older, arthritic cats may loaf to take pressure off stiff, sore joints. Overweight cats find loafing comfortable. Declawed cats unable to fully stretch out may opt to loaf instead.
So the next time you find your cat in a cozy loaf, appreciate the comfort and security it represents. Resist the temptation to “unwind” the loaf — this cat position is not to be disturbed! To a cat, curling into a furry loaf is the ultimate form of feline self-care.
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