Have you ever noticed that your cat will find something – anything – that’s a circular shape to lie or sit in? What’s the deal? Does your kitty recognize the circle shape, or is this evidence that cats are waiting for the Mother Ship’s return?

No matter how strange, there is a real phenomenon at work. The internet exploded recently with pictures and posts of cats in circles made out of everything from tape on the floor, to shoes, to bananas. No one truly knows the answer to why cats are drawn to circles, but the team at Union Lake Pet Services explored some theories, and here are a few of the possibilities.

The Nap Time Dance

Cats who are drawn to circles may be responding to the same instinct that drives them to turn around in circles before sleep. If you watch, you’ll notice that cats never just plop down for a nap. They spend some time preparing their bed by turning around in circles and won’t sleep until they’ve completed this elaborate task. But again, why?


One theory is that cats circle before sleep to conserve body warmth. In the wild, cats cannot control the temperature, so they curl up to stay warmer. The circle mystery could be some basic instinct telling them that a circle equals warmth.

Survival Instinct

Another theory put forward is that cats are sitting in circles to protect their territory. Cats in the wild are constantly alert to predators. They position themselves to keep a close watch on their environment, as well as wind patterns, so they can immediately catch the scent of an intruder. Sitting in circles may give them a sense of security.

Turning around and scratching the ground also indicates to other cats in the area that this spot is taken for the night. This behavior can potentially decrease fighting over territory.


Of course, cats in the wild don’t have the comfort of blankets and pillows. They make their own beds in nature and will tramp down tall grass and remove stones, twigs, and stickers. Once a clear circle is made, they pat down grasses and turn around and around to get comfortable. Sitting in circles may be a signal that this is a comfortable area (even though it might not be, in reality).

Cats in Circles

So, there you have four possible theories as to the mystery of cats in circles. Whatever the true reason, it is fun to check out some of the photos on social media that have gone viral over this phenomenon. Have you noticed this in your own cats? Give us a call and let us know if this occurs in your household!