Why Do Cats Cowl Their Faces When They Sleep?

White cat curled up on a couch with paws covering her face

We love to look at our cats sleep, however have you ever ever questioned why they cowl their face? It might be straightforward to imagine that your cat covers their face whereas they sleep as a result of they’re merely simply cute and cuddly creatures.

Fast Overview


Cats sleep for round 16 hours a day, going by cycles of REM and non-REM sleep. They even dream, similar to we do.


Cats cowl their face whereas they sleep as a result of it helps them to really feel secure, safe, and guarded


Overlaying their face permits cats to enter a deeper extra restful sleep, serving to them preserve power

Whereas this can be very heartwarming to see your cat asleep like this, there are some very wise and sensible the explanation why they wish to cowl their faces whereas they sleep: to dam out gentle, for defense and for consolation. On this article, we’ll discover these scientific causes behind this conduct, and study a bit extra concerning the science behind your cat’s sleep.

Details About Cats and Sleep

All cat house owners know that our pets love to sleep. Cats truly spend a mean of 16 hours a day catnapping, that’s two-thirds of their life asleep! They do that to preserve power. What you may not know is that, similar to people, felines expertise REM (speedy eye motion) and non-REM phases of sleep.

Additionally, like people, cats expertise atonia whereas within the REM phases of sleep – a type of lowered muscle tone that causes short-term paralysis whereas they’re dreaming. That is if you may spot your cat’s whiskers, ears, or tail twitching, or hear a couple of vocalizations.

This REM/dream part sometimes lasts round quarter-hour earlier than coming into into non-REM sleep for an additional quarter-hour, when the deepest relaxation interval happens. These cycles repeat all through the night time, so cats truly get a lot better sleep than we do!

Cats have three eyelids – an higher, decrease, and third eyelid (nictitating membrane) whose main perform is to permit imaginative and prescient whereas additionally defending the eyes. You may need seen your cat sleeping, or half sleeping, with their eyes partly or totally open – the third eyelid is what helps them to get slightly relaxation whereas additionally staying alert.

Cats cowl their face to sleep in a number of methods, not simply with their paws. Some cats press their face into your arm or physique, or their bedding as effectively. It’s like their means of claiming ‘don’t disturb’ after they need to get some correct relaxation.

Cat Sleep Cycles:

Californian Vet Dr. Gary Richter has divided a cat’s sleep cycle into 4 phases:

  1. ‘Loafing’ – cats’ sleeping positions can inform us what sort of sleep they plan to have. ‘Loafing‘ is a typical, comfy sleeping place the place cats sleep with their paws tucked beneath their chest, trying able to pounce. That is normally after they take certainly one of their many cat naps of round 15-20 minutes all through the day
  2. ‘The Zoomies – cats are crepuscular creatures, so daybreak and nightfall are their most energetic instances of the day. That is when the intuition to hunt kicks in, or only a recreation, or to zoom round the home!
  3. Deep Sleep – normally that is the sleep that happens throughout the night time (after the pure exhaustion brought on by the zoomies), when cats curl up, cowl their face, and drift off right into a deep and restful sleep
  4. ‘Morning Zoomies’ – after a superb night time’s deep sleep and a little bit of breakfast, cats are prepared for his or her subsequent spherical of zoomies earlier than taking a couple of quick naps once more all through the day

Causes Why Cats Cowl Their Face When They Sleep

cat covering its face

A cat sleeping with their face coated is commonly in a deep, restful sleep.

A Sense of Safety and Consolation

Wild cats are each predators and prey – they hunt birds, mice, and different small mammals, however they’re hunted by bigger animals like coyotes, wolves, and leopards.  Sleep techniques are important to their survival – a sleeping cat is a weak cat. So that they have developed methods of staying safe and guarded whereas getting the remainder they want.

Cats wish to cowl their face after they sleep to assist really feel safer – that is sometimes called ‘tenting’. When selecting your cat’s mattress, decide one thing smooth with excessive sides, or a cushion that they may like to make use of to assist cowl their face.

Cats additionally depend on their whiskers to assist them navigate and hunt, so the whiskers are very delicate. Overlaying them with their paws whereas they sleep helps them to calm down and really feel secure. It’s additionally thought that it could assist cats to manage their physique temperature by conserving the information of their noses heat and stopping them from dropping their physique warmth.

To Block Out Gentle and Environmental Stimulation

We people, use blackout curtains and switch the lights out once we need to sleep. Cats wish to cowl their eyes to dam out the solar’s rays and different gentle sources. This helps them to relaxation right into a deep sleep and keep away from disturbance from their environment.

A Comfy Place for Deep Sleep

Consolation is vital to getting a superb night time’s sleep, and all of us sleep higher once we are in a toasty, cozy, and cozy place with all of the pillows and blankets we’d like. The identical goes for cats, they sleep higher when they’re most comfy. Cats reside an energetic life, so conserving power and getting loads of relaxation is essential.

Sometimes cats sleep within the ‘lordosis place’ – with their again legs behind them and their entrance paws tucked beneath their chest. Cats drift off simply into sleep on this place. Overlaying the face with their paws helps them to delay the cycle of deep sleep, get extra relaxation, and preserve extra power.


gray striped cat sleeps with her muzzle covered by a paw

Cats are weak after they sleep, in order that they usually curl themselves right into a secure and guarded place.

As we’ve discovered, there are a number of the explanation why cats wish to cowl their face after they sleep, whether or not that’s utilizing their paws or hiding beneath one thing. It offers out cats a way of heat and safety, as after they disguise their face they’re hidden and protected against predators.

Cats are very non-public creatures, particularly after they sleep. So subsequent time you discover your kitty hiding their face or curled up cutely with their paws over their eyes, they’re simply having fun with a deep and restful snooze!

Associated Situations:

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Why do cats cowl their face together with your arm?

Cats will usually head butt to alternate pheromones from their scent glands and as an indication of social bonding, territory marking, and belief. In case your cat presses their face into your arm, it could be as a result of they belief you to guard them whereas they sleep.

Why does my cat cowl his eyes whereas he sleeps?

Cat’s sleeping positions inform us what sort of sleep they intend to have. Cats cowl their eyes to assist them drift off right into a deep and restful sleep. On this place, they really feel secure and safe and may also help to dam out disturbing gentle.

What’s cat head urgent?

Cat’s head bump with each other and with their human household to depart their scent on you. It’s an indication of belief and a type of social bonding. However urgent their head onto partitions or furnishings might be an irregular conduct brought on by a medical downside, so all the time communicate to your vet when you’re involved about your cat’s conduct.

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