Why Do Cats Stretch So Often?

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on April 12, 2017

Every time your cat wakes up, they immediately stretch and yawn. Have you ever wondered why? With information from Live Science, Way of Cats blog, and Nature World News, here are 5 reasons cats stretch so much.

#1 – Stretching increases blood pressure.


Just like humans, a cat’s blood pressure drops when it’s sleeping or otherwise inactive for a long time. Stretching increases the blood pressure to normal levels, which increases the amount of blood going to the muscles and brain. Increased blood flow to the brain helps your cat wake up and become more alert.

#2 – It helps flush out toxins.

Image source: Hisashi via Flickr


Once the muscles start being stretched, it flushes out toxins and waste products that have built up. Carbon dioxide and lactic acid, for example, can accumulate. Stretching increases blood and lymph circulation, which helps remove toxins.

#3 – It elongates muscle fibers.

Image source: Hisashi via Flickr


Putting their muscles and joints through a full range of motion gets cats ready to spring into action to catch their next meal. A cat with stiff muscles can’t run or jump at maximum efficiency, making it that much harder to catch dinner. Stretching helps these muscles stay limber.

#4 – It shows that your cat is relaxed, comfortable, and trusting.

Image source: Hisashi via Flickr


A cat is vulnerable when they’re stretching, especially if they do it belly up. It’s a sign of trust and comfort that they’re able to do this in front of you. Yawning may partly be a display of teeth to warn you of what they could do if you chose to attack them while they’re vulnerable.

#5 – Stretching feels good.

Image source: Hisashi via Flickr


You know how good it feels to stretch when you first get out of bed in the morning or after you’ve been sitting or standing for long periods. The same goes for your cat. Cats sleep 12-16 hours a day, almost twice as much as humans. That’s a lot of time spent in one position!

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