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Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep? (2022) 8 Reasons

Nothing makes your heart skip a beat like finding your little pussy cat curled up with a paw delicately placed over its face. It’s a cuteness overload few cat owners can resist, and virtually all cats exhibit this behavior in their lifetimes. But why do cats cover their face when they sleep?

Cats spend a lot of time sleeping, after all. So noticing their behavior while they’re dreaming away the day or night is natural for a doting pet parent. You may even notice that your cat tends to cover their face a lot and be curious why.

Is it a bad sign, you might wonder? Or just your cat being a cat? Stress no more, for this article has the low-down on the most common reasons why cats cover their faces while sleeping. Get ready to learn a lot about this cute pose and what it might mean for your feline friend.

white-cat-sleeping-covering-face Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep
Image by Shanon from Pixabay

Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep? 8 Reasons

Is your cat being stand-offish? Or are they just comfortable? Here are the answers you’ve been looking for to this curious question about your kitty.  

1. They’re Keeping Warm

This is the most common reason for that dainty paw across their face. It helps keep their nose warm and retain general body heat around their faces, protecting them from draughts or cold air. 

They’ll typically curl up into a ball shape to retain maximum body heat for the most comfortable cat nap. While in this sleeping position, they may even use their tail to cover their face if they prefer to tuck their paws in. 

red-cat-sleeping-with-face-in-paws

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

If your house is naturally cold or winter hits your area pretty hard, why not get a heating pad that’s suitable for pets to help your kitty keep their most comfortable temperature? Otherwise a plush blanket might just be what they need.

2. It Provides Them With a Sense of Security

Cats might be adept at hunting prey, but they’re also small enough to fall into the vulnerable prey category themselves. They know this very well, so they’re almost always on their guard. 

By covering their face while sleeping, they’re protecting their most assailable body part. After all, if a cat is attacked in the face and their teeth or eyes are compromised, it wouldn’t be able to ward off attackers. 

Because of this deeply ingrained instinct, you might catch your cute kitty burying its face in a laundry basket or beneath a cozy blanket, all in the name of protecting its bodily asset. 

Two cats sleeping next to each other.

This same instinct may drive them to sleep in a high place where they have a vantage point like a cat tree. A snug cat cave on the floor will also help them feel more secure and hidden away from those imaginary attackers. 

3. They’re Blocking Out the Light

No one likes sleeping with bright lights around to bother them, and your feline friend is no different. It can interrupt an otherwise peaceful and restful sleep and just make you feel more tired. 

This is why cats tend to choose darker spots to have their naps during the day. Even if your kitty prefers to sleep at night, they’ll still choose a room where the lights aren’t all on. If they feel they can’t find a cozy dark space to keep the light from their eyes, though, they’ll make do and tuck their face into their paws or tail

cat-curled-up-covering-face

Image by Ben Wicks from Unsplash

You might want to do your pet a solid and make sure they have somewhere dark to snuggle and sleep, like a cat tunnel

4. It Feels Comfortable

What better reason to sleep in a certain position beyond the fact that it just feels great? Every cat will be different in terms of which is their favorite dozing pose, whether it’s an outstretched loaf or a curled-up ball. 

Some cats just find sleeping with their paws on their face more comfortable, and the more comfy they feel, the better quality of sleep they’ll get. If you often catch your kitty with their paws or tail like this while they snooze, there’s a good chance this is the reason for it. 

It’s good to note though that it’s more normal for a cat to have a variety of different sleeping positions, even if they do have a favorite. If you notice your cat is always sleeping in exactly the same position, it might be due to some medical discomfort or illness, so a vet visit might be in order.  

5. They’re Blocking Out Noise

Yes, your kitty might be trying to block out a noise that’s preventing their restful slumber. Just like light, noise is an ambient issue that can prevent a decent doze. That is, depending on the type of noise. 

ginger-cat-sleeping-with-tail-by-face

Image by Himanshu Choudhary from Unsplash

Loud, abrasive sounds coming from the television or the clanking of glass dishes and cutlery being put in the dishwasher are disturbing. But white noise and soothing sounds can often aid in peaceful sleep cycles for humans, and it appears that the same might be true for cats

Of course, the music has to be very specific to appeal to their feline eardrums and brains, so this playlist is a great place to start if you want to help your furball drift off. This might be especially useful if you’re trying to encourage your kitty to sleep at night rather than during the day. 

6. They’re Over-Tired 

Cats are pretty active pets. Super active, in some cases. While they might spend two-thirds of their lives sleeping, that remaining third is spent grooming, hunting, playing, and prowling, to mention a few. 

Tabby cat asleep with its paw over its eye.

While it doesn’t sound like much, it can be exhausting to your feline friend. Sometimes, they may even fall asleep mid-grooming, so their paws aren’t necessarily put across their face purposefully. 

True to cat form, it might have felt like too much of a hassle to move their paws downwards when they started to doze off, so they were happy to leave them on their face. 

7. It’s a Cat’s “Do Not Disturb” Sign

We all need our space, and sometimes your cat might not want to have its nap ruined by an ill-timed pet. They do look adorable, after all, so the urge to pet your cuddled kitty can overcome owners easily. 

ginger-cat-cleeping-curled-up

Image by Ray Mon from Unsplash

Your cat might not always be as impressed with your affections, though. They may be quite enjoying their sleepy solitude. If you do happen to succumb and pet them anyway and you notice their paws drawing further up their face rather than downwards, it’s definitely a sign to leave them be—for now, anyway. 

8. They Might Be Marking Territory

Although it’s not a usual habit when they’re sleepy, it’s possible. Cats have scent glands on their faces that release pheromones. If your cat has a preferential spot on the couch, they might bury their face under a cushion or beneath the blanket as a way of claiming it while they sleep. 

This has the dual purpose of blocking out distractions like noise and light that may otherwise disrupt sleep, too. If you have more than one cat in your house, it’s especially possible they’re signaling to your other pets that this is their sleeping space by rubbing their head on it

siberian tabby sleeping

Final Thoughts on Why Cats Cover Their Face While Sleeping

Whether they’re over-tired, super comfy, or simply blocking out unwanted noise, there are many reasons for your feline friend to cover their face while they sleep. Providing your pet with a convenient and private place to sleep may be just what they need. But try to restrain yourself when you want to reach out and pet the cuteness of it—rather let sleeping cats lie. 

Have you ever wondered why cats sleep in a ball, even when their paws aren’t up on their face? Here are the top reasons you’ve been dying to know.

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