Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep? (5 Reasons)

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

why do cats cover their face when they sleep

Among all the adorable eccentric things a cat can do, like going into tiny holes and places or catnapping in funny positions, in today’s episode, you will find out why do cats cover their face when they sleep.

Primarily, most domestic cats prefer to sleep with their faces covered in order to feel secure. They tend to stifle their teeny little heads to stay warm, block out light, or make themselves more comfortable while sleeping.

What Does It Mean When My Cat Covers Its Face When Sleeping?

It has been quite an open secret that domestic cats enjoy sleeping just like most other cats do. In fact, the average amount of sleep time for an adult cat is 15 hours per day, and for the kittens, they could even reach around 20 to 24 hours!

Impressive, isn’t it? But moving on, there could be a variety of specific reasons why cats cover their nose, eyes, or whole face when they sleep.

1. A Sense of Safety and Security (SSS)


If your cat covers its face when sleeping, it could be interpreted as a sense of safety and security.

Despite being domesticated, cats are still cats. From their predecessors, who have evolved both as predators and prey, it has been rooted as part of their instinct to look for safe places or ways to sleep soundly, in this case, covering their faces.

Another thing, similar to us humans, cats are also vulnerable when they are asleep. So if suddenly your cat hides their face in your arm, it may imply that it has confidence and trusts its hooman enough in its vulnerable time.

2. A Nest of Cozy and Warm


In connection with their intuitive gesture of seeking safety and security, another possible reason cats bury their heads when they sleep is the coziness it gives.

Interestingly, like how some people feel comfortable sleeping in a fetal position, there might be instances when you find your cat the same.

Furthermore, warm-blooded animals such as domestic cats find relief by maintaining relatively constant body heat. Hence, a cat covering its face with its paws, while curling up is a way to warm itself.

In addition, the parts that get cold easily include the tips of your cat’s nose, ears, and paws.

So if you notice, cats cover their nose when they sleep, using their totes adorbs paws! Doing so will assist them in minimizing the amount of heat they lose while they sleep.

3. Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Nah, it’s not about the song. And we’re not saying Whiskers might be expressing despair or existential angst just because he’s covering his eyes while sleeping. Whiskers, the cat, might just be doing it to protect its eyes from unnecessary light while asleep.

In relation to their biological upbringing, cats are crepuscular animals by nature. This indicates that even though they might not particularly “love” the dark, they are most active at dusk and dawn.

That being said, it’s not entirely accurate to say that cats enjoy sleeping in general and will happily snooze anywhere at any time.

Some cats prefer sleeping in the dark or shade, just like most humans do. They are increasing their chances of getting a good catnap by covering any light with their paws.

The same also when they are sleeping while covering their ears. Cats may tend to have heightened auditory abilities. With that, they could just be indirectly saying, “I’m trying to sleep here, hooman. Keep your voices down.”

4. Tired


Have you ever experienced working in front of your computer and suddenly dozing off due to exhaustion without knowing? #Tired, it is! Your cat might have also experienced a quite similar case before!

Aside from covering their face with their paws when sleeping, cats use their paws for grooming or keeping themselves clean. So, one reason your cat covers its face when sleeping could be that your cat dozed off in its self-grooming period. How cute!

But if you happen to notice your cat grooming and falls asleep suddenly, be sure to try to somehow detach its paws from its face (especially, the eyes) to avoid catching some allergies.

5. “Hands Off, Hooman! Do Not Disturb”

Just like most living creatures, cats do not want to be disturbed during their resting time. And they may show it to you by covering or burying their faces.

Or perhaps it could also be Fluffy’s way of telling her other pet friends that she wants her peace.

Either way, if you touch Fluffy, the cat, and then she starts grumping, that’s your cue to give the peace she deserves. We know, those paws are just too cute, sighs.

Is It Normal That My Cat Covers Its Eyes When Sleeping?


Yes, it’s normal. The reasons mentioned in this article about why cats cover their eyes when sleeping is just among the usual wonders of cat behaviors.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why does my cat sleep on my lap?

Nothing beats the fluffiness and satisfaction of finding your cat sleeping on your lap, your feet, or your chest, as they snuggle themselves in you.

If you’re wondering why they do that, it could only mean that they trust you enough for them to feel safe and cozy around you (or they might be indirectly hinting to you that they want your attention! *Winks*).

Why do cats sleep with their belly exposed?

Similar to how your cat sleeps with a paw over the face, or how you find them sleeping on your chest, various cat sleeping positions, such as curling up or revealing their tiny bellies, may also signify their level of trust toward their owner.

For instance, considering that cats have an innate desire to protect their delicate internal organs—in this case, their little tummies—it could indicate that they are feeling very secure and confident around you.

But remember that some cats do not want to be disturbed when they are asleep, so try to avoid rubbing their belly as much as possible.

My cat’s sleeping behavior is strange

There might be instances when you notice the sleeping pattern of your cat suddenly becomes unusual. If that’s the case, and you are not sure and worried about your cat’s sleeping behavior, it may be best to have a consultation with your cat’s veterinarian.

Having irregularities in their sleeping pattern might indicate that something’s going on with your little fur ball.


Cats are one of the most adored animals on the planet. Even when they are asleep, you just can’t help but have a soft spot for them.

It may seem strange and baffling why do cats cover their face when they sleep, but worry not because it could just simply mean that they feel secure and cozy in that position.

Also, if you want to hear more or read some urgent testimonies and responses to the question, you may want to check out Reddit and visit some subreddits like r/cats, or r/CatAdvice as your go-to cat guru.

We hope that we have somehow helped you solve one of your cat mysteries!

5/5 - (2 votes)