Why Does My Cat Cover His Eyes With His Paws When He Sleeps?

As a cat parent, you’ve probably noticed your feline friend snuggled up in a cozy spot with their face covered by their front paws. It’s an adorable sight, but have you ever wondered why cats do this?

Theories abound about why cats cover their eyes while sleeping. Some believe it’s a way for cats to feel safe and secure, while others think it’s an instinct to protect their eyes from potential predators. But as a feline behavior expert who has researched and observed cats for years, I can tell you the real reason behind this behavior might surprise you.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deep into the reasons why cats cover their eyes with their paws when sleeping. You’ll learn how a cat’s sleeping patterns differ from humans’, the advantages of covering their eyes, and the evolutionary background of this behavior.

So if you’re curious about your cat’s adorable habit, let’s uncover the secrets behind it together and explore the fascinating world of feline sleeping behavior.

What is the Purpose of Cats Covering Their Eyes with Their Paws?

At first glance, it may seem like a peculiar behavior, but there’s actually a purpose behind it.

Cats are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. As such, they are more sensitive to light than humans. By covering their eyes with their paws, cats can block out any unwanted light that might disturb their sleep. It’s a clever tactic that creates a darker and more comfortable environment for them to rest.

But that’s not all – covering their eyes with their paws also provides a sense of security for cats. When a cat curls up and covers its face with its paws, it mimics the feeling of safety and protection they experienced as kittens. It creates a protective shield around their head, making them feel safe and secure.

Additionally, cats are known to be territorial creatures, and they often feel vulnerable when they sleep. By covering their eyes with their paws, they reduce their visibility, making themselves less vulnerable to predators or other cats that may pose a threat.

Blocking Out Light

Firstly, cats are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active during the dawn and dusk. During these times, the natural light changes quickly, making it difficult for a cat’s eyes to adjust. By covering their eyes with their paws, cats can block out any excess light and create a more comfortable sleeping environment.

Moreover, cats have a third eyelid called the nictitating membrane, which can also be used to block out light when the cat is sleeping. However, some cats may not use this membrane as effectively as others, so they rely on covering their eyes with their paws instead.

But that’s not all. Some cats cover their eyes as a way of feeling safe and secure while they sleep. By hiding their eyes from potential threats or predators, they may feel more protected and relaxed. This behavior is more common in cats that have had traumatic experiences or suffer from anxiety.

It’s worth noting that not all cats cover their eyes while they sleep. Some cats prefer to sleep in bright areas or may not be bothered by excess light. However, for those that do cover their eyes, it’s a natural behavior that helps them create a more comfortable sleeping environment and protect their sensitive eyes from excessive light.

Creating a Sense of Security

Cats are creatures of habit and routine, so it’s no surprise that they thrive in environments where they feel safe and secure. By covering their eyes with their paws, cats can block out any potential threats or disturbances in their surroundings. This behavior is especially noticeable when they’re sleeping or resting because they’re at their most vulnerable during these times.

But that’s not the only reason why cats cover their eyes with their paws. They also do it to create a darker environment that’s more conducive to rest and relaxation. Just like humans, cats need a certain amount of darkness and quiet to get a good night’s sleep or to fully recharge during the day. By blocking out excess light or visual stimulation, cats can fully rest and recharge, which is essential for their overall health and wellbeing.

As cat owners, it’s important to provide our furry friends with a safe and comfortable environment that meets their needs and helps them feel secure. This can be achieved by giving them a cozy bed, hiding spots, and toys that simulate hunting behaviors. And of course, plenty of love and attention will go a long way in making our cats feel safe and loved.

Territorial Nature

It may seem strange, but this behavior is actually linked to their territorial nature.

Cats are territorial animals, and they mark their territories by leaving their scent on objects or places they consider theirs. Covering their eyes with their paws when sleeping is just another way that cats exhibit this territorial behavior.

Experts believe that by covering their eyes, cats are protecting themselves while they sleep. They’re blocking out any potential threats and ensuring that they’re safe and secure in their territory. This behavior is especially common in cats that live in multi-cat households or in outdoor environments where there may be perceived threats from other animals.

In addition to being a protective measure, covering their eyes with their paws may also be a way for cats to establish boundaries and assert dominance. By doing so, they send a clear signal to other cats or animals that they’re not to be disturbed or messed with. It may also indicate that the cat is feeling confident and secure in its territory, which is crucial for its overall well-being.

Benefits of Cats Covering Their Eyes when Sleeping

It’s a sight that is both adorable and intriguing. But have you ever wondered why cats do this? As it turns out, there are several benefits to this behavior.

Firstly, covering their eyes allows cats to block out light and reduce stimulation from their surroundings. This behavior is particularly common in outdoor cats who need to stay alert to potential dangers while they rest. By covering their eyes, they can block out the sun and any other stimuli that might disturb their sleep.

Secondly, covering their eyes helps cats feel more secure. Despite being natural predators, cats can also be prey for other animals. By creating a sense of privacy and security, cats can relax and sleep more soundly.

Thirdly, covering their eyes may help cats regulate their body temperature. When a cat covers its face, it reduces the amount of heat that escapes from its body, which keeps them warm and comfortable while they sleep.

Finally, some experts believe that covering their eyes may help cats get into a deeper state of sleep. By blocking out stimulation from the environment, cats can fully relax and enter a more restful state of sleep. This is vital for cats as they need plenty of rest to maintain both their physical health and mental wellbeing.

How Can Cat Owners Help?

After all, sleep is vital to a cat’s overall health and well-being.

Let’s start with the basics: creating a peaceful sleeping environment. Cats like to block out any light or noise that may disturb their sleep, so it’s crucial to provide a dark and quiet space for them to rest. This can be achieved by setting up a cozy, secluded sleeping spot away from any loud noises or bright lights. Think of it as a mini oasis for your cat.

Next up, let’s talk about the perfect sleeping surface. Cats love soft, plush surfaces to snooze on – it’s no secret. Providing a comfortable bed or blanket will not only make your cat feel cozy but also give them a sense of security. Consistency is key here too – cats are creatures of habit, so try to keep their sleeping spot consistent.

Keeping your cat’s sleeping area clean is also important in ensuring they get quality sleep. Regularly remove any debris or dirt from their sleeping space to prevent unwanted odors or bacteria from accumulating, which could lead to health issues for your furry friend.

Lastly, pay attention to your cat’s sleeping habits and behaviors. If you notice any changes in their sleep patterns or if they seem restless or uncomfortable during sleep, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. Don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your cat’s sleep health.


To sum up, cats covering their eyes with their paws while snoozing is a completely normal and instinctive behavior. This adorable habit helps them block out excessive light, feel more secure, regulate body temperature, and achieve a deeper state of slumber. It’s particularly prevalent in crepuscular creatures like cats who are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk.

As devoted cat parents, we can assist our furry companions by providing them with a peaceful sleeping environment that’s free from noise and bright lights. Moreover, it’s crucial to observe their sleeping patterns and behaviors to ensure they’re getting sufficient rest.

Understanding the rationale behind your cat’s cute habit of hiding their face with their paws when asleep can help you provide them with optimal care. By creating a cozy and safe space for your feline to rest in, you’ll be promoting both their physical health and emotional well-being.