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Do Cats Protect You While You Sleep? | Night Activity Explained

From snuggling on sleeping faces to curling up in the nook of arms, cuddly cats provide an extra blanket of comfort during sleep. While you might think your purring pal has strange sleeping habits (can running on the bed at 4 am really be considered normal?), certain behaviors can be explained.

Whether it’s intense stares into nothingness or attacking objects in the dark – but do cats protect you while you sleep? We’ll guide you through protective nocturnal behaviors and give you insight into whether your kitty bed partner can be considered a guardian angel in your nightly slumber.

Young bearded guy sleeping on sofa at home.


Why Are Cats So Active at Night?

Cats naturally tend to roam the streets (or your indoor surroundings) at night to hunt prey. This nighttime activity tendency is called crepuscular, indicating an animal’s peak “high alert” hours at dawn and dusk.

Hunting behavior goes hand in hand with protecting themselves against predators. So, your pawful sleeping partner is vulnerable when engaging in a cat nap. 

Thus, engaging in protective feline practices at night could mean they are on guard and ready for action against incoming enemies. 

Lilac point Siamese cat over a green blurred background.

4 Signs of a Protective Kitty in Bed

So, are your cats protecting you from the world’s evils at night? As cats tend to sleep next to their owners as a sign of affection and comfort, it’s safe to consider that your feline friend will be protective of you when on a nightly guard. 

In the same way, your cat at night could also rest near their owners as an extra layer of protection and security for themselves. With a sense of trust and an added supply of defense during the dark hours, these clawed cuties can get some shut-eye in their most active time.

1. Sleeping on top of you

What better way to drift off into kitty dreamland than falling asleep to the soothing sounds of your chosen human? A little furry loaf on your chest might indicate that your cat seeks protection while they sleep.

Woman asleep with grey cat in arms.

If your cat seems to be staring at you, it could mean they are watching over you during one of your most vulnerable states.

2. Sleep at the Door

If your cat prefers sleeping near the door, this could indicate that they are trying to guard their territory against potential threats.

3. Sleeping by the foot of the bed

This position is the ultimate space to be protected and offer protection. If a cat lies between your legs, they receive safety from a human companion they trust. If they get comfortable at the foot of the bed, cats receive an excellent vantage point to survey the area and escape quickly if needed. 

ginger cat on bed with two sets of human feet do cats protect you while you sleep

4. Sleeping with their back toward you

With an angle perfect for pouncing on incoming enemies, a cat turned away from you could mean he’s trying to protect you. So, try not to interpret this as your seemingly disinterested cat giving you the cold shoulder.

4 Other Reasons for Defensive Behavior During Nap Time

While we like to believe our cats are merely awake at night to protect their treasured gem of a human, these long-tailed beauties have a variety of reasons to be on guard at night. 

From seeking attention to more serious motivation, these seemingly protective displays could signify something deeper. Take a look at a few additional contributions to your kitty’s strange nightly behavior:

dark ginger maine coon cat stares are maine coon cats friendly
Maine Coon

1. A Scaredy Cat

A fearful cat generally has no problem trying to communicate its concerns. If your kitty is intently staring at you at night, your cat is possibly experiencing pain or stress. Be sure to check your cat for any external discomforts (such as a pestering furry sibling or injury) to ensure he sleeps without further disturbance.

2. Feeling Bored

Cats can be sleepy and nap-hungry creatures, but don’t let this fool you. Your cozy critter needs ample stimulation to swerve the late-night activity from your feline that might disturb your sleep. 

So, while you may think your cat is pacing around to protect you from harm, your cat could suffer from boredom. As their primary source of entertainment (i.e. you) is sound asleep, this will often lead them to engage in a playful and active behavior to stock up on playtime.

Cute kitten playing with colorful toy.

One way to combat this nuisance during the wee hours of the morning is to allow enough interactive and engaging play in the day to encourage a sleepy kitty. Get your furry friend some interactive toys to keep them busy.

3. Seeking Attention for a Specific Purpose

While you might assume your cat is simply keeping a watchful eye on you during your 8 hours of rest, feline staring can be an indication of a need not being met. Kitties have a way of feeling like royalty from their grand ancestry, so if you’re looking for sleep without any further interruptions, you can check the following:

  • An empty food and/or water bowl.
  • No toys to work out the nighttime zoomies.
  • No outside access to explore their surroundings when darkness falls.

4. Separation Anxiety

As stated, cats tend to sleep with their owners to facilitate a sense of comfort and safety during the night. If you experience your cat being attached to your hip excessively while you sleep, your cat is potentially suffering from separation anxiety.

Sleeping young man with fluffy red cat

You can spot a cat with this type of stress from various symptoms such as; insistent vocalization, destroying furniture, and overgrooming their coats. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to combat kitty separation anxiety. Speak to your vet about your options.

Final Thoughts on Do Cats Protect You While You Sleep

Whether slumbering on human heads or keeping their nightly watch at the foot of the bed, cats have a strange way of protecting themselves and others. While it might be challenging to determine whether your purrfect pal is actively protecting you when you sleep, a cat by your side is a great sign.

If a cat is engaging in protective behavior in your immediate surroundings, you’re safe to assume your cat finds your presence comforting enough to protect it. 

cat-sleeping-next-to-owner why do cats sleep next to their owners

Looking for more insight into your cat’s unique behavior? See why our feline friends like to lick and then bite us.

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