Cats Lying Flat on Stomach with Legs Out

Have you heard about cats splooting? When cats lay flat on their stomach with their hind legs out, they look absolutely adorable. But what is splooting? Can all cats do it? And is it bad for them? Let’s look into this feline relaxation position. Get ready to see our collection of pictures of cats splooting! Enjoy!

**Thank you to all of our awesome readers who took the time to send in photos of their kitties splooting for this post.**

Ragdoll Cat Splooting Cat Lying Flat on Stomach with Legs Out
Bubbles, a Ragdoll cat splooting, loved by Tanya

What is Splooting?

If you’re not familiar with the term, splooting is when a cat lays out flat on their stomach while having both of its hind legs spread all the way to the back. Usually, cats keep their hind legs tucked neatly under them and spread their forelegs, but sometimes, they spread both their fore and their hind legs. This is called splooting.

Maine Coon mix cat splooting Sven is a pro at sploots
Sven does a sploot in the bathroom

There is also a name for when cats keep both their fore and hind legs tucked in under them. This is called “cat loaf” or “cat loafing” because they look like loaves of bread. Sometimes, you can’t even see their legs anymore, especially in cats with longer hair. They almost look like they’re floating.

Why do animals sploot?

There are two main reasons why your cat is splooting. When it gets into this adorable position, it is either because it wants to relax or because it wants to cool down. Here’s why:

Ragdoll kitten Niko splooting when he was a baby
Pam writes, “Niko splooting when he was a baby. He does not do it much now. He rather sleep upside down.”

Splooting for relaxation

As all cat owners know, cats are extremely flexible, so the splooting position is nothing more than stretching. It is also a very relaxing position for their backs, which is why cats love to sploot.

Soba, the Ragdoll Seal Point
Soba, the Ragdoll Seal Point

So, the next time you see your kitty with its hind legs stretched out on the floor, take it as a reminder to relax. Your cat surely is.

Splooting to cool down

When cats lay on their bellies with their fore and hind legs spread out on the floor, they could also be trying to cool down. They take this position to expand the contact area with the floor, which is usually cool.

Doing this, they can lower their body temperature quite quickly. In fact, cats prefer to sploot on floor tiles rather than carpeted areas, precisely because these are cooler. On hot sunny days, cats just love to sploot all over the bathroom floor.

Ragdoll Cat Honey Splooting Cats Lying Flat on Stomach with Legs Out
Debra writes, “Honey with her legs extended back. She also will lay like in the first photo with her arms back- to me like an airplane. Seems not common and cute.”

3 levels of splooting

Like there are many yoga positions guaranteed to help you relax, there is also more than one type of splooting that your cat can do to stretch its limbs. Here are the three levels of splooting:

The Complete Sploot

When your cat has its fore legs spread out in front of it and both its hind legs stretched all the way behind itself, that is the complete sploot. That is the maximum level of relaxation for the cat’s joints, muscles, and spine.

Maine Coon mix cat splooting Sven does another sploot
Sven does another sploot across the coffee table in living room

The Side Sploot

When one of your cat’s legs is tucked in under it, cat loaf-like, but the other hind leg is stretched out to the side, that is the side sploot. Because sometimes, your cat might have different relaxation needs in its legs.

Maine Coon mix cat splooting Sven is a pro at sploots
Sven does yet another sploot on the kitchen floor

The Halfway Sploot

When one of your cat’s legs is stretched out all the way back, but the other is neatly tucked in under its belly, it is doing the half sploot. Because sometimes, your cat needs to do it one leg at a time.

Is splooting bad for cats?

No, splooting is definitely not bad for cats. While the position might seem a bit out of the ordinary at first, rest assured that your cat is not at risk of any damage. Cats are extremely flexible, so stretching out their hind legs is not a big leap. Even if they sploot for a longer time, they are not at risk for any type of injury, so you have nothing to worry about.

Ragdoll Cat Pippin Splooting
“This seems to be Pippin’s (1 year old) favorite way to lay! Ever since he was a baby!”

This position actually helps them relax their leg muscles and their spine. It is also called cat yoga, that’s how relaxing it can be for your cat to sit in this position. You might notice that it is also purring while splooting. That’s another indication that it’s relaxation time.

People often get scared when they see their cats splooting because most cats don’t do it very often. Not only does the position seem extreme, but it also resembles the position that cats paralyzed from their waist down lay in. Just in case you get scared, rest assured that you can pick up your cat and put it down to check if it still has control over its legs.

Ragdoll cat Ollie Splooting IMG_0317
Anneke writes, “Ollie chilling doing the splooting.”

Can splooting be dangerous for your cat?

While the position itself does not put your cat at risk in any way, the place where it is splooting might. The greatest concern with splooting is tied to a large temperature difference.

Cats sploot to lower their body temperature, so if they are heated up and they lay on an area that is significantly cooler than they are, this does pose a risk.

If the temperature difference is too big, then it might be dangerous for them. This could lead to health issues such as acute arthritis or UTIs. That’s why you should prevent it. On hot days, make sure, if possible, that your cat doesn’t have access to areas with cold floors or air conditioning.

Can all cats sploot?

Ragdoll Cat Delilah Splooting Picture taken by Marliese Walter
Delilah Splooting (Picture taken by Marliese Walter)

Yes, all cats can sploot, but young cats do it more than older cats do. That’s because they are more flexible and they have healthier joints. Cats that are overweight might find it difficult to sploot because this position can become painful for them.

This happens because there is a larger weight pushing down on the joints in their hind legs. So, they may do it rarely and for short periods of time, or not at all. Cats with joint issues may also avoid this position, also because it causes them pain. Splooting can also be painful for cats that have undergone traumas in their hind legs or hips.

“Huckleberry splooting while warming every inch of his long body.” Photo taken by his Mom—Amy Wren
“Huckleberry splooting while warming every inch of his long body.”
Photo taken by his Mom—Amy Wren

Is splooting dangerous for old cats?

When a young cat sits with back legs out, there is no risk, but when an old cat does the cat sploot, it can put a strain on its joints, so you may not want your elderly cat splooting for too long. But you probably won’t have to intervene because cats usually do very well on self-preservation. If a cat experiences pain when laying in a certain position, it will change it itself.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our collection of pictures of cats splooting. Have you ever seen your cat splooting? Does it like to sit in this position often? Does your cat do the full sploot or is it more of a side splooter? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.