Learn Why Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep

When it comes to sleeping, cats usually spend a lot of time in peaceful slumber. And when they do, you may have seen them cover their faces most of the time. They also have a lot of cute and somehow strange sleeping positions. So let’s learn why cats cover their face when they sleep.

Different Cat Sleeping Positions

Needless to say, cat owners have surely seen their cats sleep in different sleeping positions- with some positions and behavior seemingly strange than others. For instance, cats can wag their tails while asleep. Here are the common cat sleeping positions and their meanings.

Curled Up / Crescent

Crescent or curled up is one of the most common sleeping positions in cats. In this sleeping position, your cat is curled up in the shape crescent. Cats sleep in this position to protect the vital organs in their tummy or to conserve heat.

Belly Up / On Their Backs

Cats sleeping with their belly up or on their backs may tempt you into rubbing their bellies! No matter how cute and fun it may seem, don’t try to do it because they are likely to respond in defense by biting or scratching you. 

Instinctively, cats tend to cover their vital organs as protection. So when cats sleep on their backs, they feel comfortable enough to trust their environment. 

In A Container

Cats love to hang out in boxes or any enclosed area. They may also try sleeping in the sink, which could be ironic because most cats hate water. Cats who try to fit into these enclosed spaces to sleep are trying to hide from threats. These threats could be an unknown visitor, a fellow cat, or someone they consider a predator. A cardboard box gives cats a sense of security, like a safe hidden spot.

Sleeping Sideways

A side sprawl sleeping position is when a cat sleeps on its side with its legs stretched outwards. When they sleep sideways, their vital organs are exposed. This could mean that they feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings. It may also mean that they are only napping because they are in a vulnerable sleeping position to deep sleep. 

How Many Hours Do Cats Sleep?

Cats spend a lot of their time sleeping. And while their sleeping behavior seems a lot different compared to us, this is normal for them.

On average, cats sleep for about 15 hours a day. However, some cats can sleep for 20 hours a day! They sleep for more hours daily as they grow old. 

gray cat sleeping

Generally speaking, cats are asleep during the day and are active during the nighttime. The reason for this is because of their physiology. Cats are innately predators- they were hardwired to hunt mainly during the night.

While cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day, they don’t do this in one long, restful slumber. They have a polyphasic sleeping pattern. It means that they sleep numerous times in a day, with their length of sleep ranging from 50 to 113 minutes.

Learn Why Cats Cover Their Face When They Sleep

More Security

Aside from the belly, a cat’s face is also a vulnerable part of its body. After all, they won’t be able to attack their predators if their eyes or teeth are badly damaged. Therefore, they are inclined to cover their face as an instinct to protect themselves from threats while they are asleep. 

white cat covering his face while sleeping

Retain Body Heat

Cats cover their face when they sleep to keep warmth, and this is their primary reason for doing so. Sleeping while covering their face keeps their noses and entire face warm because it prevents cold air from coming in.

As mentioned earlier, cats do the curled up or crescent sleeping position to conserve heat. Covering their face is also one way to keep them warm. Alternatively, they may also cover their face with their tail if they prefer tucking their paws.

To Block Out Lights

Many people don’t like sleeping with the lights on, and this is the same for cats. Sleeping with lights on could be bothersome. While humans have eye masks or blankets to block out the source of light, cats may cover their faces while sleeping to block out the light. 

In The Middle Of Grooming

Cats spend most of their day sleeping. The rest of their day is spent on activities like playing, eating, grooming, and more. Once they have used up all their energy, they will start to get too tired and may zone out while grooming themselves with their paws on their face. 

Marking Their Territory

While cats do not mark their territory by sleeping, they may be doing it just before they doze off. This is similar to how they can fall asleep during mid-grooming.

ginger cat sleeping

One way by which cats mark their territory is by burying their face into the objects they claim to be their own. Cats have scent glands on their face which releases pheromones. And when they rub their pheromones on objects or people, it’s their way of claiming ownership. 

They Find It Comfortable

Like humans who have preferences on which sleeping positions are comfortable, cats are just the same. They may cover their face when they sleep not to retain heat, not for security or other mentioned reasons. It could be as simple as they find it comfortable sleeping that way.


Were you able to learn why cats cover their face when they sleep? Many people consider cats as flexible and expert sleepers. They are also very charming even in their sleep as they hide their face with their paws. So why do cats cover their face when they sleep? There are multiple answers to this question, but the primary reason is to retain body heat.


At The Lovable Cat, we believe that every cat deserves to be loved and cared about.

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