Siiri and Ilona hang out

Cats can be surprisingly flexible. They twist and contort themselves into all sorts of odd positions. Sometimes it’s to try and squeeze themselves into some unusual place. It might be a box, a tunnel, the gap between the computer monitor and keyboard… Or sometimes they just do it for fun.

Flop!I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a great many cats, and I’ve seen them attempt many different positions. Some of them more successfully than others. There are still times that I wonder at the strange places cats get into and the way they bend their bodies to do so.

Luckily the cats have almost always been clever enough not to attempt any contortions that would put them in danger of injuring themselves. Although there was that one time that one of our foster kittens managed to tie himself in the handle of a laundry basket… Thankfully that story had a happy ending, but it certainly reminded me of how important it is to be careful what our kitties are able to play with.

Elvis wants a tummy rub!But perhaps that’s a theme for another blog post.

From my observations cat contortionism is often an invitation. It’s a way of saying “rub my tummy!” Sampson and Elvis, for example, will often roll around to show their tummies more if my husband or I walk past whilst they are taking a cat nap.

It can also be an invitation to play, especially when aimed at another cat. This may involve a twisting of the body followed by waving one’s paws at the legs of a passing cat. If this other cat happens to be Lola the invitation will most likely be rebuffed with some well-chosen cat swears and perhaps a whack around the ear. If one or both of the cats involved is a kitten (and, as previously stated, the other is not Lola) there will almost certainly be hijinks to follow.


Lady Joyful

Are your cats contortionists? Do they contort more often for the purposes of sleep, to invite love, or to incite play?

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31 thoughts on “Contortionists

    • imaginealpha says:

      Yes! Tess always twists herself into odd shapes and tries to get into the smallest places possible (even if she knows she’s too big for it), but I never have the camera when she does it!

      • Lady Joyful says:

        I think cats have a sixth sense for knowing when to be in a picture perfect position without having to suffer the indignity of an actual photo being taken..! Thanks for commenting 🙂

    • Lady Joyful says:

      It certainly can be difficult to get the camera before they move. Our cats seem to have learned the sound of the camera turning on and will instantly move at the noise! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  1. franhunne4u says:

    I think every cat owner knows the awkward position of a cat lying around twisted in a way that the cat looks decapitated and the head lies in front of the chest – or somewhere under their front legs at the back …

  2. amariesilver says:

    My cat rolls around on her back, stretching out her belly – suggesting I should rub it. When I bend down to do so, she bites me. I don’t know if I’d call her a contortionist but she’s definitely psycho.

  3. jmnowak says:

    I was privileged to have known a gorgeous Tonkinese called Luschka. Whenever she lay on my chair, she loved to do her daily calisthenics there, whilst I was watching, only one of which was stretching. It was then I realised that cats are really quite long creatures. One of her most favourite was doing the four-in-the-air stretch, but lying on the chair with her feet towards the edge of the chair, if you can picture it, rather than up in the air. I loved that one and have a photo of it, and others as well. I miss her! We used to have fun together.

    • Lady Joyful says:

      Lushcka sounds like she was a sweetie 🙂 And yes, you are right, cats are surprisingly long! Sometimes Lola likes to stretch her back legs out behind her and her front legs forwards so she’s properly stretched out to her full length. It always surprises me how long she is like that! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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