Last Updated: 3 months ago

Why does my cat cover her face when she sleeps?

Cats often sleep in various funny positions, but there’s nothing more adorable than a cat covering its cute face with paws.

So, let’s learn more about this curious cat behavior and discover some exciting cat sleeping facts.

10 Reasons Why Cats Cover Their Faces When They Sleep?

kitty sleeping covering her face but Why Does My Cat Cover Her Face When She Sleeps?

As specialists explain, “more than half of cats sleep between 12 and 18 hours a day.”

So, it’s not surprising cats have mastered the art of napping and have many cute sleeping positions to rest during the night/day. 

But why do cats cover their faces when sleeping? Is it normal feline behavior? 

In most cases, cats hide their faces with paws or tails to preserve warmth, block the light, or get comfortable. To interpret the behavior the right way, you should consider your cat’s whole body language

So, let’s talk in detail about all the reasons cat hide their faces when sleeping and how to tell what’s going inside your cat’s sleepy mind. 

#1 Retaining Heat

orange cat sleeping covering her face

Usually, cats curl in a ball and cover their face with paws or tails when they’re cold. It’s an attempt to retain as much body heat as possible and conserve the energy they need for other activities. 

Cats don’t like being cold because it’s harder for their bodies to maintain core temperature, and they burn off too much energy.

In the wild, staying as warm as possible without spending too much energy is vital for the cat’s survival. Otherwise, they won’t have the strength to hunt and find food.

So, cats sunbathe in the garden, cuddle next to you at night, curl into a small ball, or see an external heat source (the radiator).

Moreover, your cat’s nose, paws, and tails are the first body parts to lose heat. Can you imagine having a good nap with a cold nose or feet? 

So, it makes sense that your kitty curls as much as possible to stay warm, especially in cold weather or during the winter. 

In the summer, you’re less likely to see your cat in this position because the weather is warm, and hiding its face will make your kitty too hot

#2 Blocking the Sun

cat sleeping covering her face

It’s tough for some people to sleep soundly and peacefully with lights turned on. The same thing is valid for your feline friend.

And while people have various ways to block the light, cats don’t have the luxury of using sleeping masks or pillows to deal with the discomfort.

As such, some cats cover their faces to keep the sun rays or other sources of light from bothering them. And when the paws and tails aren’t enough, cats will get up and move to a darker location.

You can help your cat sleep better by using some blackout curtains to keep the room dark and cozy.

#3 Sense of Security

Cats are both predators and prey. As such, they’re hardwired to seek a secure and comfortable place to nap during the night/day where they can let their guard down.

Curling into a ball turns your cat into a tiny target, making it less likely for predators to notice them and allowing them to fit into a small space.

Moreover, the face is one of the vulnerable parts of the cat’s body. A direct attack on the face can result in a scratched eye and incapacitate your cat for days.

So, cats cover their face when sleeping when they want a little bit of extra security and safety.

Of course, domestic cats don’t have to look out for predators, but sudden changes in the house can make your cat anxious and afraid.

As such, curling and covering the face can be signs of stress in cats, especially if your cat’s behavior seems weird or obsessive.

Interestingly, some cats will bury their heads in blankets or a laundry basket for the same reason. Even though their bodies are mostly visible, they still feel better when no one can see or reach their heads.

#4 Comfort

cat sleeping with covered face

Most cats cover their faces when snoozing because it’s a comfortable sleeping position. Think about it for a moment. 

Like their owners, cats have favorite sleeping positions. Some felines like sleeping in the loaf position, while others sprawl on the sofa or cuddle next to you on the bed. 

As such, some cats love curling into a ball to hide their face with their tail or paws. It makes your kitty feel safe, protected, and secure. 

#5 Blocking Out the Noise

Do you know how sensitive your cat’s sense of hearing is? As a study explains, “the cat is one of the most accurate sound localizers” able to hear very high-pitch sounds. 

This superb sense of hearing allows cats to detect other animals – threats or prey – from a great distance and hear you opening the fridge even when they’re in the back of the house or deep sleep.

However, such a strong hearing means the slightest noise can disturb your cat’s peaceful nap and put them on high alert. Imagine how uncomfortable it is to sleep when you can hear everything!

So, when your feline friend doesn’t feel up to checking the noise, cats cover their face when sleeping to block the noise. 

#6 Not in the Mood to Move

cat sleeping with covered face

All cats spend the better part of their day licking and cleaning their magnificent fluff. Grooming takes a lot of effort, so some cats frequently fall asleep in the middle of a grooming session.

So, sometimes cats cover their faces when sleeping because they’re too tired to move into a more comfortable position. And when the cat wakes up, they can get back to grooming right away! 

#7 Not Feeling Well

Cats tend to hide in tight spaces and curl into a ball when they’re ill. They feel vulnerable and want to avoid the attention of larger animals or their human owners. 

So, sometimes when cats cover their faces, they’re saying, “I don’t feel so well. Don’t bother me anymore!”

Fortunately, face covering isn’t a typical sign of an illness. Still, if your cat’s behavior seems off and it shies from your touch, you should bring it up to your vet.

#8 Go Away!

cat sleeping on a bed

Sometimes when I want to move my cat out of bed, she curls into a tight ball, covers her face with her tails, and fakes being in a deep sleep.

The position says, “Don’t you seem that I’m sleeping? Go away!” It’s a cute trick that always gets my cat what she wants.

So, cats sometimes hide their faces because you’re bothering them too much, and they want you to leave them alone.

Check out this funny video!

#9 Storms Are on the Way

Cats are known for their acute senses, and one of the senses that they are susceptible to is sound.

It’s not uncommon for cats to cover their eyes when they hear a storm coming, and there are a few reasons why they may do this.

Firstly, cats may be trying to block out the flashing lightning that often accompanies thunderstorms.

Cats’ eyes are more sensitive to changes in light, and the sudden flashes of lightning can be uncomfortable or even painful for them.

Secondly, cats may be trying to reduce their exposure to the sound of the storm.

Thunder can be incredibly loud, and the noise can be overwhelming for some cats. Covering their eyes may reduce their overall sensory input, helping them feel calmer and in control.

Finally, cats may be trying to find a dark, quiet place to hide until the storm passes.

Covering their eyes may be a way for them to create their own little refuge where they feel safe and secure from the chaos outside.

#10 Relaxation

cat sleeping

Cats are natural hunters, and their whiskers are essential to their survival.

Whiskers, also known as vibrissae, are specialized tactile hairs that are located on a cat’s face, above its eyes, on its chin, and on the back of its forelegs.

Cats use their whiskers to navigate their surroundings, detect prey, and judge distances in the wild.

When a cat is in pursuit of prey, their whiskers will fan out, helping them gauge the size and position of its target. Additionally, their whiskers can pick up subtle vibrations in the air or ground, alerting them to any potential danger or prey nearby.

When a cat covers their whiskers while sleeping, it may be because they feel secure and relaxed. Covering their whiskers can create a sense of darkness and solitude, which is comforting to cats.

Additionally, it may help block out any excess sensory input, allowing them to relax more fully.

How Do Cats Sleep?

As you can see, cats cover their faces when sleeping for various reasons.

To help you better understand your cat’s sleeping behavior, let’s learn some interesting facts about how cats sleep. 

#1 Cats Are Crepuscular

cat climbing the cat tree

Many people believe cats are nocturnal animals because they love to run around the house in the middle of the night. But they are crepuscular creatures. 

Cats are most active in the hours before dawn and dusk, the perfect time to catch rodents and other small animals unaware and avoid bigger predators from attacking. 

Moreover, snoozing during the day allows cats to save their energy for hunting mice or searching for food during the night. 

#2 Cats Don’t Sleep Deeply

While cats sleep up to 18 hours a day, they don’t spend the whole time deeply asleep. Instead, cats alternate between deep sleep and dozing.

As specialists explain, “Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing.” This pattern repeats until the cat is ready to wake up and pester you for food. 

In this way, cats are ready to spring into action when they sense something interesting happening in the surrounding area, such as detecting mice squeaking.

Short naps also allow your cat to converse its energy, which is vital because hunting for food or playing is very energy-consuming. 

So, even if your cat is covering her face when she sleeps, don’t assume your kitty isn’t alert enough to hear you opening the tuna can. 

#3 Cats Dream

Have you ever seen your cat twitch or move while sleeping and make weird growling sounds?

It’s nothing scary – your cat is just dreaming. 

As it turns out, cats have similar sleep stages to ours and are likely to experience dreams during the REM stage of the sleep cycle.  

However, specialists still can’t say what cats dream about or if they dream in the same way humans do. But likely, cats dream about their day-to-day activities.

So, the next time you see your cat covering her face when she sleeps and making weird moves, they might be dreaming about chasing toys or mice. 

#4 Cats Can Adjust to Your Sleeping Routine

While cats are crepuscular creatures, they can adjust their circadian rhythm to match your sleep schedule and routines. 

So, your cat won’t always run like crazy in the middle of the night or wake up in the wee hours screaming for food. They will settle and go to sleep when you go to bed and get up with you in the morning. 

However, it takes time for your kitty to learn your schedule and adapt its napping sessions to it. And you can employ plenty of tactics to get your cat to sleep at night and not bother you. 

#5 Bad Weather Makes Cat Sleep More

Have you ever noticed that your cat sleeps more during the winter months or becomes less active when it’s cold?

Cats don’t get sad and depressed on rainy days, but cold weather requires more energy to keep up their core temperature.

So, most cats prefer napping for the best part of the day and hiding their faces to preserve energy for important business, such as eating and grooming. 

#6 Cats Change Sleeping Places

Have you noticed that your cat sleeps several days in one place and then moves to another?

It’s part of your cat’s preservation instinct.

Changing sleeping areas is the best way to avoid predators or prevent you from waking the cat from a deep sleep.

So, don’t be surprised that your cat doesn’t spend much time napping in the cool cat bed you’ve provided and prefers curling in the sink with a paw over their face.

#7 Cats Like to Bury Their Face in Blankets

orange cat in blanket

Usually, cats use their tail or paws to cover their faces when sleeping. However, some felines will bury their heads in a heap of blankets or your arms. 

You’re very fortunate if your cat likes to snuggle in your arms in this way. It shows that your kitty loves you very much and feels so at ease with your presence that it can let its guard down.  

Conclusion

As you can see, it’s normal for your cat to cover her head she sleeps. Your kitty is likely seeking extra warmth, security, and safety. 

So, while it’s hard to resist petting your cat when you see her asleep and hiding her face with a paw or a tail, you shouldn’t disturb your cat’s peace. Or you can spook your cat and lose their trust. 

And if you’re worried about your cat sleeping more than usual or hiding their faces due to pain, you should speak with your vet as soon as possible. 

Resources:

kitty sleeping covering one eye but Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When Sleeping?
Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.