Cat Behavior: Why Cats Stretch So Much

cats stretch

Cats stretch. A lot. And if any of us tried to replicate their infamous stretching poses, we might injure ourselves. Cats are gold medalists when it comes to this feat of physical prowess and it seems as if they are always training in this regard.

They constantly stretch their muscles, and for good reason: it feels good, plus it allows for increased blood flow.

Reasons Cats Stretch

Activates Muscles After Sleep

According to, cats sleep anywhere between 12 and 16 hours a day, twice as much as people do. Similar to human sleep, a cat’s brain paralyzes his body muscles to prevent them from acting out in their dreams, such as walking off the sofa during a cat nap.

Once the cat nap comes to an end, the stretching begins! It’s just part of the feline protocol…. stretching helps to get their muscles moving again after being in active for a while, whether they have been sleeping or just sitting still.

Just like blood pressure can drop in humans when they are sleeping, the same is true for cats. Stretching stimulates and activates muscles and increases blood pressure.

Stretching increases the amount of blood that gets to the muscles and ultimately to the brain. This is the process that assists in waking up the cat and making him more alert.

Eliminates Toxins

Stretching also aids in eliminating toxins from the body that build up during periods of inactivity. When a cat stretches, he is encouraging blood and lymph circulation, which then helps to get rid of the toxins.

Further, a good stretch gears up the body for movement, and if a mouse or a spider happens to walk on by, then your cat is better prepared to pounce if the ol’ muscles have been prepped! With the way cats like to lunge after things, being all stretched out and ready to go is a good thing! Being ready to explode into action means being flexible and at the ready!


Cats stretch to defend themselves from possible predators and to hunt prey.  Stretching elongates the muscles fibers to their fullest, preserving and enhancing their ability to attack when and if needed.

So, if you see a cat just sleeping and seeming immobile for hours, you have been warned.  The stretch is coming and his body is in preparation for “attack mode!”  He is in full control and ready to take on whatever is in front of him. (And we are not stretching the truth here!)


Written by Ann Butenas

Ann Butenas

An internationally-recognized author and writer, Ann began her professional writing career at age 12 and began speaking while in college. She has been published thousands of times over the past three decades in all media forms, was former editor and publisher of KC Metro Woman magazine, and has also hosted three talk radio shows in the Kansas City area.

9 Responses to "Cat Behavior: Why Cats Stretch So Much"

  1. Sounds like I need to stretch more! These are good, healthy reasons for stretching. My Chihuahuas stretch a lot too, but I don’t think it helps them prepare for hunting the same way it does a cat.

  2. Montecristo does all this … I try to stretch when I see him stretch because I figure it’s good for me too! He stretches on average about 2-3 times an hour. Unless we are hiking.

  3. LOL great play on words. I am envious of Rooster’s ability to perform these perfect yoga poses. If I slept for as long as he does, I don’t think I would be too stiff to move!

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