Why do cats cover their faces when they sleep?

Gloria Towle, Special to The County
6 years ago

As I heard a storm warning for 6 to 8 inches, I threw another log on the fire and glanced over at my two kitties, one on the window bench curled up in her new leopard print bed and the other on a sheepskin bed on top of an Amazon box. Both were curled up tightly with their paws over their eyes. I smiled and thought, life is good for these two felines.

Willie and Annie makes sleep look easy. Actually, Annie spends about 23 hours a day, every day, on the window bench.  Even though she is pushing 16 years of age, that really isn’t any excuse; she has always been a pretty lazy little girl.  Willie, who is around 15, on the other hand prowls half the night and is always on the lookout in case you’re heading towards the kitchen or, better yet, the “treat cupboard.”  He is very inquisitive and is always underfoot. If you sit down to watch TV, he quickly curls up on your lap and is happy to keep you company.

Covering the faces is just one of those little feline behaviors that virtually all cats do.  If you haven’t already noticed, your fur ball will catch some Z’s anyplace it’s warm. Kitties prefer sleeping where it’s toasty and cozy. The downfall of zoning out on the rug and catching that one single beam of sun is that it goes right into her sensitive little eyes. Fortunately, her two front paws act like sunglasses when she covers her face, shielding her eyes from the sun’s painfully bright rays.

PAWS of Chicago explains, “Your high-maintenance ball of fur spends roughly one-third of her waking hours grooming herself. That’s a lot of work to stay clean and pretty. So naturally, she gets worn out easily. During her grooming session, she could start to zone out from pure exhaustion while cleaning her face. So her paw just lands right there, over her eyes, because making the extra effort to move it back down towards her body takes too much effort.”

I’m thinking that Annie must be grooming a lot; she seems exhausted all the time.

Cats also need to feel secure at all times. That’s not an easy task during a snooze session. This is why you may have seen your kitty poke her head under the comforter, while leaving her body out in plain view. Burying her head in a dark secure spot gives her a sense of security. She doesn’t always feel like hiding under something, though. Sometimes she just wants to sleep in her favorite wide-open spot on the couch. The only thing she can do for security is cover her face. It may not look safe, but she feels fully protected.

You can check out more fun stories and information at www.cuteness.com.

Stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society if you are looking for a new furry family member.  Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing for lunch from 12 to 12:30. You can also check us out on Facebook.

Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

“Those who teach the most about humanity aren’t always human.” (Donald L. Hicks)

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.