The world of social media is as finicky as, well, a feline; a video of a cat's underside appearing to form an unusual shape while resting on a glass roof in Ankara, Turkey, has captured the zeitgeist, having gone viral on TikTok, garnering at least 5.2 million likes since it was first shared.
The clip captured in the Turkish capital, viewed from indoors looking up at the roof, and which was first posted by @psikologdilarasarnic, shows three cats resting on the glass roof of an enclosure. The camera zooms in on one cat that appears to be sleeping in what's described as the "bread loaf" position, where a feline rests upright, with its front paws tucked under the body.
The cat's underside, pressed against the glass, appears to form a shape that's similar to the iconic white face mask featured in the “V for Vendetta” movie starring Natalie Portman. Its resemblance to the mask has been catnip to TikTok users.
The “bread loaf” position, called such because the position resembles the shape of a loaf of bread, is when a cat keeps its front paws curled underneath its body with its head up. Cats can sleep for up to 18 hours a day, or even more, as they age, according to an article by Dr. Stuart Hovis, a vet, on PetMD, an online resource for pet owners.
Hovis wrote that the position “preserves a cat’s body heat and protects their vital organs. Cats sleeping in a loaf position may be relaxed, but they are also poised to spring into action and use their claws if they’re suddenly in danger.”
According to Vicki Jo Harrison, president of The International Cat Association Harrison, the "bread loaf" sleeping position may indicate something about a cat's mental state.
"When a cat sleeps this way, they are trying to get some sleep while still being ready to spring into action," Harrison told Newsweek, which picked up the story on Nov. 26. "Cats who sleep in a loaf position are comfortable around their owner but still anxious," she added.