Can Cats Legs ‘Fall Asleep’? 

You will often find your cat lounging around. But does all of that lying about ever cause your cat’s paws to fall asleep? Let’s take a look and see.

While we would need to conduct controlled experiments to know definitively. By looking at evolutionary properties and observed behaviors in our feline friends, we can make an educated guess to say that cats probably do not suffer from their legs falling asleep.

Aside from lab testing and controlled experiments, it really is hard to say as this is not a subject specifically that has been previously documented as far as I was able to find. But if we start to compare a cat with a human, we can start to potentially make a good guess.

How does it happen?

To start to understand whether or not cats are susceptible to their limbs falling asleep, we must first understand the process in which it is caused.

‘Numb limbs’ or Paresthesia as it is medically known, is caused when pressure is placed upon the nerves of the body and is the body’s natural response to tell you that you’re not getting enough blood circulation to the affected area. When the pressure is removed, then circulation can continue as normal – sometimes aided by a shake of the appendage when seen in humans – alleviating any numb feelings. Remember this point, because we will be cycling back to it later.

From that, we can figure out that pressure constricting blood circulation, will cause the nerves to send a signal to the brain which is where we get the feeling of a limb falling asleep or going numb.

So, now that we understand the cause and treatment for this condition, we can start applying this to our furry friends.


In general, it is to be expected that a cat would have evolved to avoid this circumstance. In the wild, cats have natural predators and as such, need to be able to jump up and flee at any given moment from a potential threat. 

When we feel numbness, it is usually at the areas furthest away in our bodies, i.e the hands and feet. However, when we look at how a cat is built, none of its limbs are ever too far away and this coupled with rounded pads instead of long fingers, provide a better route of circulation and reduce the likelihood of causing the kind of pressure needed to elicit the ‘numbness’ response. 

Then when we take into consideration a cats innate ability to distribute themselves like water, it starts to become less probable that our torpid tabby would be causing any sort of restrictions to their blood flow that would result in the feeling of a limb ‘falling asleep’.

Observed Behavior

Anyone who has ever spent an extensive amount of time with a cat will tell you, you will quite often find them sleeping. Cats are known to sleep, on average, 15 hours a day, with some even going as far as 20 hours!

But at any point after those naps, you will very rarely find your cat having any sort of issues with just getting up and going. Whether it be languidly getting up and stretching, or being startled into flight mode by a firework outside. You do not tend to hear of people mentioning their cat having any such problems with dashing from sleeping to fully alert zoomies.

Any potential issues with them getting up, could suggest illness or injury and should be looked at by a vet.

As such, going back to what was mentioned before, when we experience this, it takes a while to be able to relieve the feelings of pressure on the area and we may even shake the appendage to bring back some of the circulation and feeling. Hereby gives us a fairly accurate distinction in behaviors to suggest that a cat does not experience the same symptoms after prolonged lounging.

Final Thoughts

The fact this is something that we are almost completely unable to test – and your feline friend cannot speak to express their opinions on the matter – it leaves us with only the ability to speculate on an answer to this question.

With that being said, we are able to take a look at a few different factors and compare them to an animal we can ask and understand – ourselves. By doing so, we can start to see distinct differences in behaviors that would heavily suggest that when it comes to legs falling asleep, your mischievous mouser won the genetic lottery and does not tend to experience the feeling of their legs falling asleep.