Why do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep? (8 Shocking Reasons)

Did you know that one in three American households owns a cat? In addition, of those 37 million households, on average, each one has 2.2 cats. If you’re a cat owner or love cats, you likely know that cats can sometimes do some strange things. Did you ever wonder “Why do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep?”

There is a lot of information out there on cat behavior and explaining it.

Watching your fur baby take a nap, might trigger more questions. Like, why do cats cover their face when they sleep? 

If you’re interested in learning more about your cat’s sleeping habits, keep reading for the answer to that question and more. 

Why do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep?

Sleep Behaviors of Cats

Cats sleep between 12 and 18 hours a day. However, the amount your fur baby sleeps could increase as they get older. 

Cats are by nature nocturnal creatures, and most of their sleeping hours are during the day while they’re more active at night. However, certain factors can change your cat’s sleeping patterns.

When they do sleep, they prefer a place that is warm, comfortable, and safe. This is one of the reasons you might find your cat sleeping in some unusual spots. For example, you might notice that your cat loves boxes and other small places. 

One of the reasons that cats love these spaces includes that it allows them to hide out from potential threats. They also like to stalk their prey from spaces like this. However, when it comes to sleep, it goes back to feeling safe and secure. 

Cats have two different sleep stages, NREM and REM Sleep.  

NREM Sleep

NREM stands for non-rapid eye movement. This stage of sleep lasts for around 15 to 30 minutes. 

While in NREM sleep, cats remain alert, and they’re ready to protect themselves quickly if needed. You might also see your kitty sleeping in a sitting position. This is NREM sleep. 

In this position, they will stiffen their muscles to hold them upright, and it allows them to respond quickly if they are threatened. 

REM Sleep

REM stands for rapid eye movement. In this stage, your cat will move from light sleep to deep sleep. You might notice that they go limp or stretch out and roll to one side during REM sleep. 

While humans experience REM sleep for around 90 to 120 minutes at a time, your cat will usually only be in REM sleep for approximately six minutes. 

During REM sleep, you might notice your cat’s tail, paws, or whiskers twitching. This could indicate that your cat is dreaming.

Your cat might also snore or make strange noises. 

Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep? 

It would be simple if there was one answer to this question; however, there’s not. There are multiple reasons that your cat might cover their face when they are sleeping. 

However, different aspects of your feline friend’s body language can cue into the reason behind why they might be covering their eyes while sleeping. 

Retain Heat

Have you noticed that your cat tends to seek out warm spaces?

A cat’s normal body temperature ranges between 100.4 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Your cat doesn’t like being cold because it can make it more challenging to maintain its core temperature. This can lead to them burning off too much energy. 

This is an evolutionary response because energy is vital to hunt for food in the water. Sleeping is one of the ways your cat regains energy.  

Because of this, your cat might seek out warm sunny spots, cuddle next to you, find heating vents to sleep near, or adopt a sleeping position that helps them retain heat. 

For cats, this sleeping position consists of them curling into a ball and covering their face with their paws or tail. 

A clear sign that your cat is attempting to stay warm is if your cat tends to curl into a ball and cover their face with its paws or tail.

Your cat’s nose, paws, and tail are the first part of its body to lose heat. This position helps them keep their little noses nice and warm and the rest of their body too. You might notice that as the days warm up, your cat changes its sleeping position. 

Your cat also doesn’t want to be too hot, and by covering its face, it can get too hot. 

Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep many other reasons. Keep reading to find out more.

Block the Lights Out

Have you ever tried to sleep with bright lights shining all around? Humans can block lights out with curtains, sleeping masks, or pillows if the light is preventing them from sleeping; however, cats don’t have that ability.

While your kitty might enjoy the warmth of a spot in the sun, the light can bother them. Because of this, they’ll use their paws and tail to block the light out. 

If that’s not enough, they might get up and move to a spot that’s darker. If you’re worried that the light in your house is preventing your cat from getting the sleep, they need you could consider using blackout curtains for them as well. 


It isn’t easy to sleep if you don’t feel safe. Your cat might be a predator, but they’re also prey. Part of their response to this is to find a place to sleep that allows them to feel safe and secure so they can let their guard down. 

While your domestic cat probably doesn’t need to look out for predators, sudden changes in your home might make your kitty feel anxious and afraid. Your cat covering their face and behavior that’s strange could be signs of stress in your cat. 

Your cat’s face is a very vulnerable part of its body. Because of that, covering their face makes them feel secure and protected. 

You might also notice that your kitty curls into a ball. This makes them a smaller target and allows them to fit in smaller spaces. Predators are not as likely to notice them when they’re in this sleeping position. 

Some cats even choose to bury their heads in laundry baskets or blankets. You can still see their body, but they feel more secure because potential predators can’t see or get to their heads. 


When you’re trying to get to sleep, do you have a favorite sleeping position? Will you toss and turn until you achieve the perfect state of comfort? 

Your cat is no different. Sometime’s, there does not need to be a particular reason for your cat’s sleeping position. It could simply be because that is the most comfortable position for them to sleep in. 

Block Out the Noise

Have you ever noticed that your cat is easily startled by noises? Your kitty has very sensitive hearing. 

Researchers have looked at different cat vocalizations and how they communicate with each other. While they state more research is needed, what we do know is that cats have the ability to hear sounds that are very high pitch.  

Cats use their sense of hearing in the wild to detect threats or prey. However, for a household cat, the sound of a door opening from another room might be enough to wake them. 

Because of this, your cat might be covering their face when they sleep to help block out the noise. 

Too Tired to Move

If you’ve ever had a day so exhausting that you’re too tired to move, your cat understands. 

Grooming can sometimes be hard work for your cat. Typically your cat will spend anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of its day grooming. 

As your cat is working to achieve the “purrfect” look, they might fall asleep for a quick cat nap. If in the midst of grooming, it’s possible they were just too tired to move their paws from their face. 

Leave Me Alone

Have you ever tried to move your cat, and they curl up into a tighter ball and cover their face with their tail? It’s possible that this is your cat telling you to leave them be, they’re comfortable, and they don’t want to move. 

Who knows, you might just cave in due to the cuteness factor. 

Your Cat Is Feeling Sick

When your cat feels sick, they want to feel secure. This sometimes means they want to avoid attention from other animals and their humans. 

You might notice that they’re hiding tight spaces and not as receptive as normal to attention from you. In this instance, cats cover their face because feeling secure for cats is essential when they’re sick. 

However, remember, your cat covering their face can have many meanings. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sick, but if you notice other atypical behaviors consider calling your vet to check in.

Learn More About Your Pets Behavior

Why do cats cover their face when they sleep? How cats sleep goes back to the ability to feel safe and secure so they can sleep. However, your cat might cover their face for a variety of reasons, including comfort. 

Are you looking to learn more about the behavior of your pet? Here at Animal Fate, we love animals and educating you on your pets. If you’re ready to keep learning, check out more of our articles on cats

Now that you have learned about Why do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep? we like you to learn more about other Cat Habits. Read our other articles related to Cat behavior below

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