Why Do Cats Sleep With Their Face Down?

If there is one moment where I can spend hours just looking at my cat, that would be when my cat is asleep.

There’s something quite relaxing and peaceful just seeing my cat sleeping in total bliss and oblivious to the world around him.

The funny thing about cats is that cats sleep in a variety of positions. And the one sleeping position that many cat lovers find rather hilarious is when cats sleep face down.

Cats sleep in a face-down position because it is a comfortable sleeping position for them. By keeping their faces close to the ground, it helps block out the light from their face and also keep their noses warm.

Let’s try and have a deeper understanding of why our feline friends sleeping behavior and why they can be so comfortable sleeping in this rather awkward position.

Why Do Cats Face Plant When Sleeping?

Cats are master sleepers and need close to 18-20 hours of sleep every day. It can be somewhat disturbing to see your cat sleeping face-first on its cat bed or sofa. But fear not as cats have perfected the art of blissful slumber since their very existence.

It Is Too Bright For Your Cat

It is hard to grab some shut-eye when it is too bright. For humans, we can just dim the lights, close the curtains and put on an eye mask.

Our cats have much fewer options than us and have to rely on innovative ways to block out the light from their face if it is too bright.

Hence the invention of your cat sleeping face down at times.

If you have ever taken a close look at your cat’s eyes, you’ll realise how beautiful they are. A cat’s eye is also very sensitive to sunlight, at least 6x more sensitive than a human’s.

What can seem like a slight glare to us just be blinding for your cat.

This high sensitivity to light allows cats to see very well in low light scenarios. Cats in the wild use this to their advantage when hunting for prey at night.

Although our darling cats have food served to them by their personal butlers at home, they still retain the same acute vision as their wild cousins.

Sleeping face down allows the cat to block out some light and get a good night’s sleep. You might even find your cat covering using its paws to cover its eyes if the light is really too bright.

Your Cat’s Nose Is Feeling Cold

cats with big noses

Although cats can handle the cold, they prefer to bask under the sun or near the heater. This is because a cat’s natural body temperature is higher than ours.

A cat’s core temperature ranges from 100-102.5 F. This means that they do need a fair amount of heat to maintain optimum body temperature.

When your cat sleeps with its face down, it could be doing so to keep its nose warm. Unlike humans, cats and dogs don’t have sweat glands to help them regulate heat.

Therefore a cat has to depend on several body parts to help regulate its body temperature. A cat can control the flow of blood to its ear to regulate heat. By licking their noses, cats can help keep themselves cooler.

But when your cat’s nose feels cold, it could be that the room temperature is too cold for your cat.

Your cat can help regulate its body heat by burying its nose in the blanket or bed while sleeping.

Your Cat Likes Sleeping In this Position

From a human’s point of view, sleeping face down anywhere has to be one of the least comfortable sleeping positions known to man.

It isn’t easy to breathe while sleeping in this position.

But it might be a different story for cats given how they are biologically built. For all you know, your cat is the most comfortable sleeping in this position.

As a cat owner, I do worry when my cat sleeps in such a position that I think might be dangerous. But I’ve grown to relax and let my cat sleep how it wants to.

A cat that is comfortable while sleeping will fall into a deep sleep. It is during this sleep phase that cats repair and restore their body and mind.

If your cat is like sleeping face down, then it is better to just let it be. My friend’s cat, Tabby, loves to burrow under the sheets and go to sleep in this position.

He behaves more like a mole than a cat.

Your Cat Is Exhausted

There are some cats that can sleep on a dime when they are really tired. Such behavior is more commonly seen in kittens who might be totally exhausted after a long play session with their littermates or with you.

You will see your cat sitting very still and slowly starting to close its eye and sway from side to side. And all of a sudden, without any notice, the poor thing will just topple forward and pass out from exhaustion.

You don’t have to worry about your cat sleeping in this position for long as they usually wake up on their own after a while if it isn’t a comfortable sleeping position for your cat.

Is Your Cat Sleeping Too Much?

why won't my cat sleep with me anymore

Cats sleep close to 20 hours daily which is normal for them. However, if you find your cat sleeping all the time and not very interested in eating or playing, then something might be wrong with your cat.

Cats that are feeling lethargic or weak usually have some form of underlying medical problems. It could be a virus or disease that is affecting their immune system.

If you find other symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, lack of appetite, vomiting or difficulty in breathing, please bring your cat to the vet for a proper checkup and veterinary advice.

How to Prepare A Comfortable Sleeping Area

If you find that your cat has been recently sleeping face down first, it could be due to the fact that it is not able to get comfortable enough when it is time to sleep.

Try turning up the aircon a few more degrees to see if that helps your cat keep warm. If it is during the winter season, put a portable radiator near your cat’s usual sleeping area to help warm it up.

You should also ensure that the area that your cat sleeps in is dark and cosy. It might still be too bright for your cat even with the curtain drawn and the light turned off. You can get your cat a tented cat bed which helps to keep the light out.

It will be your cat’s own little cat cave to retreat to when it is time for a cat nap.

Some other ways that you can help make your cat sleep more comfortably is to place its cat bed in an area that is quiet and elevated.

Cats prefer to sleep on high ground where they feel safer and away from predators. Being higher up also allows the cat to have a vantage view of its surroundings.

Your cat might be a domesticated indoor cat but you can’t suppress the survival instinct in it.

Why Do Cats Sleep In A Ball?

Seeing your cats sleep in a ball is probably the most common sleeping position for cats and across the animal kingdom.

When cats sleep in a ball, it gives them a sense of security while asleep. This position allows them to protect their bellies and heads from predator attacks in the wild.

It also helps the cat maintain its body temperature when it gets too cold.

Different Sleeping Positions In Cats

Besides curling into a ball or sleeping face-first into the blanket, there are a few other sleeping positions that are common in cats.

The Loaf

This has started to gain popularity on Youtube with many cat owners posting videos of their cats sleeping in the loaf position.

A cat in this position is lying on its front and with all its legs tucked snugly under its body. They resemble a loaf of bread hence the name of the sleeping position.

Most cats when sleeping in this position are just taking a cat nap and can still be alert to what is happening around them.

Belly Up

Some cats like to sleep with their head upside down. When a cat sleeps on its back while exposing its belly, it is usually in a deep sleep. In general, cats will only expose their belly when they feel totally safe and comfortable in their environment.

This is because the belly is a very vulnerable area for cats as any injury to this part can cause a lot of pain and eventually death.

When your cat exposes its belly to you, it shows the total trust that you are not going to hurt it. But don’t mistake that gesture as an invitation to rub that soft fluffy belly.

Many cats aren’t fans of having their bellies touched and can lash out at your hand with a firm bite or scratch as a warning.

Be Careful Of Head Pressing In Cats

Do not mistake a cat suffering from head pressing as a cat sleeping with its face down. Head pressing is when a cat continuously presses its head against a hard surface like a wall or flat object.

The cat will be doing this action when it’s both asleep and awake.

This condition usually means that the cat is suffering from neurological damage.

A number of causes that can result in head pressing in cats:

  • Brain tumor
  • Trauma
  • Stroke
  • Liver failure
  • Toxin exposure

The above conditions can affect the proper functioning of your cat’s brain and needs to be checked by a vet immediately. Any delay could result in fatality.

Conclusion

Cats are so adorable looking when they are in deep sleep or just taking a catnap. It can get rather comical to see them move from one sleeping position to another as time goes by.

The best thing that you can do is to make yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy the view.

If you ever notice your cat pressing its head against a hard surface when it is awake or asleep, make sure to bring your cat to the vet to make sure it isn’t due to any form of neurological damage.

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