Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep?

We all love our cats – they’re so adorable with some of the things they do right?

One of the cutest things that our feline friends will do is cover their little faces with their mittens when they sleep!

Primarily, this is a tactic that cats will employ to keep their paws and nose warm when they are getting some shut-eye, but they do it for some other reasons too.

Whatever their chosen reasons, we love to see it!

This guide will look at why cats decide to cover their faces when they sleep and give you some other handy cat sleep information that you may not have known before.

So, cuddle up with your furry buddy and let’s explore why they’re doing it!

Cats Love Sleeping!

Before we get into the heart of this guide, it’s important that we recognize that cats absolutely love to sleep.

Typically, cats will sleep for around 15 hours a day, but other cats have been known to increase that for up to 20 hours a day!

As you can imagine, through such a keenness to sleep, they have developed a type of sleep which gives them comfort and warmth.

When they’re cuddled up into a ball, they can retain their body heat and keep themselves nice and toasty, providing a comfortable sleep.

Cats sleep more when the weather and climate conditions are bad outside, or they’re feeling unwell, but even if these factors are in play – they will only break their sleeping cycle for very significant things to do.

This can include going to the bathroom, eating, playing, prowling and hunting.

You may have noticed that your cat decides to be more active in the early hours or very late at night. This is because they are crepuscular.

These times are perfect for a cat to prowl around and play because there are generally fewer cars around, making it easier for them to hear their prey – but also because there are lots of nocturnal animals that become active at night – normally their favorite snacks!

Additionally though, through their evolution and habitat, they’ve grown to understand that dangerous animals to them are also nocturnal, and they need to remain alert – which include snakes and wild dogs.

Unlike us, cats do not sleep for one or two long periods of sleep, but rather lots of little ones.

Due to their heightened senses, they can detect things around them through smell and hearing at all times.

Cats’ sleep cycles usually go through slow-wave sleep, which means they still may be very alert, even though they appear sound asleep.

Much like us though, they will go from this level of sleep to a more deep sleep through REM sleep.

Once they’re in this state of REM, you will notice they are dreaming if they twitch their noses, snore or make little kicks.

Over a number of months and years, a cat will become very attached and familiar with their humans. This can be instant if it’s a specific breed of cat.

As a result, cats may change their usual sleeping patterns to coincide with their humans.

For example, some cats will wake up ready for you to return home from work – ready for feeding, play time and attention.

They may also follow you to your bed and curl up in a ball to sleep at the same time as you do.

If you’re lucky enough to experience this, you’ll both share more warmth and cuddles at night! Win-win!

Here’s Why They Cover Their Faces

So, now you know how their sleep works – here’s why you’ll notice your cats cover their faces when they’re sleeping.

It’s A Comfortable Position

We often forget that cats and humans are similar in their psychology and physiology.

Much like we sleep on our sides, backs etc. cats choose how they sleep which feels comfortable to them.

They Feel Safe

Cats love a sense of security and who doesn’t? When they’re covered up, they feel safer than if they were exposed.

This is primarily the same reason why cats love to play in boxes – because the box provides an enclosed space for them to know who and what is where.

You may also notice they increase their security by sleeping in your laundry basket or under blankets.

It’s Darker

Cats have a much better eyesight than we do, and as humans, we struggle to get some sleep when it’s too bright outside or inside – and so do cats.

They may be putting their paws over their faces to prevent the light getting into their eyes.

Remember, cats need to sleep for most of the day – so they’ll find a way to do it, even in the most difficult of situations.

It’s Quieter

Cats detest loud noises, and they don’t like being surprised. Covering their heads when they sleep can slightly reduce other sounds around them.

If they feel safe enough to do that, they’ll forgo their usual heightened hearing for predators and prey, so they can get a better quality of sleep.

They Fell Asleep Like That

Have you ever been doing something and fallen asleep right in the middle? Did you wake up in a strange sleeping position?

This happens with cats too.

When they’ve exerted so much energy and had enough for the day, they may have been grooming themselves and simply fallen asleep right in the middle of it!

The Best Sleep For Cats

As with other animals, if cats feel completely safe – their sleep will be much more comfortable.

The way to maximize your cat’s comfort when it sleeps is to provide them a comfortable and warm environment, give them all the love they deserve and keep them healthy and happy!

The Bottom Line

Cats cover their faces for warmth, security, comfort and simply out of tiredness. Either way, it’s always super cute!

Courtney Trent
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