The Most Common Pet Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

Do you and your fur baby love to cuddle up close at night? You’re in good company! A study by revealed that two-thirds of pet owners share their beds with their fur babies at night. Often this isn’t by choice, but because pets are so darned cute when they are snuggled up beside you and it’s sooo hard to kick them out. 

When we first brought home our little two-month-old Shih Tzu, Gerty, my then-husband was adamant about her not entering our bedroom, let alone sleeping on our bed. But her cuddly sweetness and adorable personality soon won him over and before we knew it she was sleeping with us.

But how you and your pet co-sleep actually says a lot about your bond. Check out the most common pet sleeping positions according to ItchPet to see where you and your fur baby line up. 

10 Most Common Pet Sleeping Positions

1. The Faithful

pet sleeping positions - the faithful
Source: Itchpet

In this common pet sleeping position, your pet sleeps at the end of the bed, usually around your feet. You both have your own area of the bed and there’s plenty of space to move around.

While many may see this as a sign of your pet’s loyalty, hence the name, it may merely mean one of you is a restless sleeper, most likely you, and that your pet doesn’t want to be kicked in the head all night.

2. The Knee Nuzzle

pet sleeping positions - knee nuzzle
Source: Itchpet

Considered somewhat submissive, this position allows your pet to cuddle into the bend of your legs as you sleep in the fetal position, almost like they are trapped in a soft, warm human cage. Ah, bliss for them. Semi-awkward for you when you try to move in the night. But either way, your pet feels soft, safe, secure and protected in this tight spot. 

3. The Donut Divider

Pet sleeping positions
Source: Itchpet

This position is for all those back-sleepers out there who also happen to have an animal nestled in between your legs. Your pet is clearly pretty content with life and with you as their master and barrier throughout the night. The noise protection, warmth, and light pressure from your legs allow them to have a peaceful, unbothered slumber.

4. The Wall

Pet sleeping positions
Source: Itchpet

Also known as the Middle Child position, the Wall is your pet’s way of ensuring they get to be next to you. No human cuddles allowed!  They want all the attention, even in their sleep! Those sneaky little fur babies, they’re no different from our human bubs.

If your pet does like to sleep on their back this is also a sign that they are 100% comfortable. Life is good. 

5. The Pillow Bandit

pet sleeping positions - pillow sleeper
Source: Itchpet

Cats and dogs who have uncovered the joy of pillows belong in a league of their own. If you’ve got a furbaby who doubles as a pillow thief, you’re dealing with a smart animal who knows pillows are soft but is also in prime position to annoy the crap out of you early in the morning when they are hungry or lick you when they feel the need for attention.

If you do snore, however, you won’t find your furry friend anywhere close to your pillow.

6. The Undercover Lover

Pet sleeping positions
Source: Itchpet

If you’ve got an under-cover sleeper, you’ve got an extra special cheeky pet under your wing.  In this position, your pet makes a little den underneath the covers. The darkness and your familiar scent provide your cuddly pet with the warmth, comfort, and security they seek while they sleep. Sleeping under the covers provides them with a feeling similar to the way we enjoy weighted blankets.

While you might be the master, your pet thinks otherwise and rules the bed completely.  

7. The Cuddle Bug

Pet sleeping positions
Source: Itchpet

If your pet enjoys sleeping into the bend of your arm, this means they love being close to you, to your face, and to feel your heartbeat and breath, just like a little bitty bub. You are their world and they will even put up with your stinky night-time breath just to be close to you. #PetLoveGoals 

8. The Sneak

pet sleeping positions
Source: Itchpet

The ultimate pet sleeping position for extra determined pets, the Sneak involves stealth ninja moves as your pet slowly inches their way closer to your head at night, most likely aiming for your pillow or your face.

The Sneak pet sleeping position is reserved for the extra brave and loving pets who want nothing more than to be thisclose to you, even when you’ve most likely kicked them off your head several times in the past. 

9. The Superhero

pet sleeping positions
Source: Itchpet

If your pet likes to sprawl out like a superhero, it could mean you’re in for a restless night. Often when dogs lie on their belly, they are still ready to play or at least keep watch of you. So protective! 

10. The Octopus

pet sleeping positions
Source: Itchpet

Our final most common pet sleeping position is the Octopus which involves your pet taking up ALL the space and you sleeping on the edge wondering what the heck happened. Your pet may not start out in the middle of the bed. Oh no. It will be a sneaky takeover that involves all the limbs, sprawled out everywhere and careful movements. Only the cleverest of pets will attempt this one.

So there you have it – the most common pet sleeping positions and what they say about you, your pet, and your bond.  Stay tuned as we put together our kid sleeping position guide, which will feature the most common co-sleeping positions which prove why parents are so tired all the time! 

Pet sleep safety: According to, our pets do change positions throughout the night, just as pet parents do. Things influencing such changes can include the changing seasons, ambient temperature, space, health issues, and feelings of security.

You know your pet better than anyone. If you notice they cannot get comfortable, whimper when they can’t get up or change positions, keep getting up at night or sleep more than usual, contact your veterinarian for assistance as it could be a health issue.

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Avatar of Gloria Ramirez

Gloria Ruby Ramirez is a writer, mother, and lover of coffee, twinkle lights, and rain who believes in the magical power of words. She is passionate about parenting, mental health, and the environment. She is a former agricultural microbiologist/plant pathologist with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. Born in the desert of northern Mexico, she is mum to her beautifully energetic son and Shih Tzu, Gerty. When not writing, Gloria can be found spending time with her son and family, reading, or embroidering.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Yana

    One of my cats is the pillow bandit AND the under-cover lover, and the other is the sneak + the knee nuzzle. I love them both so much!

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