Why Do Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep?

Cats naturally sleep for around 18 hours a day. They typically sleep on their sides with their face covered and often make subtle movements while slumbering. 

Sometimes they’ll curl up on their side or stretch out on their back. Some cats may also twitch or make other noises when they are dreaming.

Why do cats cover their face when they sleep?

Cats cover their faces when they sleep to block out light and feel safe. Cats fall asleep quickly when covered up and can keep warm in cold weather by using their fur to insulate them. They also conserve energy by not needing to work hard to stay warm. 

Covering their face when sleeping also protects cats from being disturbed while asleep, which is why cats are less likely to be disturbed when sleeping than other animals.

Block out light

Cats use several techniques to block light when they sleep, including closing their eyes and furrowing their brow. While all of these techniques work to some degree, the cats that use the most extreme technique are those who cover their entire face with their fur. 

This is done to reduce the amount of light that reaches their eyes and brains, which can help them get a good night’s sleep.

Make them feel safe

Cats cover their faces when they sleep to feel safe from predators. In the wild, cats expend a lot of energy trying to stay hidden so they can hunt and survive. 

When a cat curls up in a ball, it exposes only its face, neck, and chest. This reduces the size of the target predators see and makes it harder for them to grab the cat. Covering their face also keeps them warm in cold climates and cools them down in hot climates.

Conserving energy

Cats cover their faces when they sleep to conserve energy. Cats spend about one-third of their total life sleeping, so they must conserve as much energy as possible. 

When awake, cats use a lot of energy in activities like walking and hunting. They can conserve energy by hiding their face and body when they’re asleep.

To fall asleep quickly 

Cats naturally cover their face when they sleep to help them fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. This behavior is common in cats but can vary depending on the individual cat. 

Some cats will curl up into a ball and cover their face with paws, while others will lie down with their head and shoulders covered. The purpose of this behavior is unknown, but it may play a role in helping the cat fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Keeps them warm

Cats cover their faces when they sleep to keep themselves warm in cold climates. They do this by placing their front paws over their eyes and drawing their tails between their legs. This position traps air around them, which helps them stay warm.

Cools them down

Cats instinctively cover their face when they sleep to keep cool in hot climates. This behavior is common among cats in warmer climates, as increased exposure to direct sunlight can cause them to overheat. 

When a cat covers its face with its paw or front legs, the fur on its head and neck will trap a layer of air that can help keep the cat cool during the night.

The benefits of cats covering their face when they sleep

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our lives, and cats are no exception. When cats sleep, their faces are covered to avoid becoming prey for predators. Cats who cover their faces when they sleep have several benefits:

  1. They reduce the risk of getting into fights with other cats.
  2. They improve their chances of experiencing a good night’s sleep because they’re less likely to be disturbed by other cats or animals.
  3. Covering their face while they sleep also helps them conserve energy and stay healthy.
  4. They reduce the chance of catching cold or other infections and can also get a good night’s sleep.
  5. Cats covering their face when they sleep often have fewer health problems overall, less prone to developing allergies and asthma.
  6. Cats also tend to be more content when sleeping with their faces covered, making them less likely to wander and explore during the night.

The risks of cats covering their face when they sleep

Sleep-associated behaviors are common in cats and humans, but some behaviors during sleep can be risky for both species. Cats cover their face with their front legs when they sleep, one such behavior that can be dangerous. 

The coverings of the nose and mouth reduce the exposure of these areas to air, which can increase the risk of suffocation. Besides, cats who sleep with their faces covered are more likely to experience increased aggression from other cats and to be rejected by their human companions.

What should the owner do when seeing their cat sleeping with covering their face?

When you see your cat sleeping with its face covered, it may seem like they are in a deep sleep. However, if you notice that their breathing is slow or shallow, then you should take action. 

If your cat shows any signs of difficulty breathing, such as struggling to breathe air, then you should call a veterinarian immediately.


When cats cover their faces with their paws when they sleep, they are thought to regulate their body temperature. The fur on a cat’s face can act as a natural insulator and keep them warm in colder climates or cool in hotter climates. 

When cats close their eyes and curl up into a ball, their ears and whiskers also protect them from being hit by prey when they are asleep.

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