If you’re asking yourself or anyone who will listen, ‘Why does my cat watch me sleep?’ – you’re not alone.
It’s actually a fairly common behavior. My cat stares at me when I sleep more often than I’d like. Although I’ve found ways to deal with it as I’ll explain in this article.
If waking up to find your cat staring at you is starting to creep you out, figuring out what they are thinking will probably help you change this behavior.
So, if you’re wondering – why does my cat stare at me when I sleep? I can provide some interesting insight into your cat’s behavior for you.
Why Do Cats Stare at You When You Sleep? 5 Explanations
Cat’s Are Awake Because They Are Nocturnal Hunters
It’s easy to forget that cats are actually nocturnal hunters by nature. I say this because most domestic cats are more likely to sleep all night than stalk prey outside.
But this accounts for one of the reasons why your cat may be awake at night and have some energy to burn off.
I had a Maine Coon many years ago and for the first 6-7 years of his life he was awake most of the night.
I didn’t always want him being outside if the weather was bad, and didn’t want him hunting and bringing half-dead prey back into the home, so I would keep him in overnight sometimes.
That’s when he would come into my room and stare at me while I was trying to sleep.
It was actually quite annoying. I’d often think he was going to go into hunting mode and jump around the room. But the reality was worse, he’d stare at me…
They Want to Get Your Attention
I know, I know, for you it’s the worst possible time. But your cat is likely staring at you because they want to get your attention.
Much like they might do during the day, a little eye contact to try and get you to read their mind and find out what they want.
It’s probably food or wanting to be let out, right? You’ll know your cat best and what they probably want, but for my Maine Coon as discussed in the last point, he really wanted to be let you.
If your cat is bothering you to eat overnight I suggest feeding them a little later in the evening, or leaving out some dry food for them to graze on if they get the munchies.
Either way, it’s worth trying to figure out what they are after and doing something about it if you want to stop them staring at you night after night.
Your Cat Is Showing You They Love You (Shame About the Timing)
Cats communicate a lot through their eyes and how they make eye contact with us, other cats, and other living things.
Making good eye contact with you is a sign that your cat is comfortable with you. Blinking, winking, or slowly closing their eyes shows they feel safe and secure, and staring actually shows they think a lot of you.
While we can’t know exactly what our feline companions are really thinking if they are in your room at night staring at you it’s a sure sign that they love you.
It’s a small consolation if it’s interrupting your sleep and making you feel uneasy, I know. Let’s chalk it up as one of the perks of owning a cat!
They Are Watching over You (Keeping You Safe)
Despite all the jokes that cats own their owners and please themselves, they do form a pack mentality in the home and look out for one another. Which includes you.
Your cat may be watching over you just out of a sense of protection. It would be nice if they could do this without staring at you while you try to sleep, but we can’t have everything, can we.
Obviously, we know that there aren’t any risks or dangers to look out for while sleeping, but telling your cat that isn’t going to make a difference.
But it’s just part of their innate behavior. There isn’t much you can do to redirect this attention if this is the root cause, but I think they’ll stop in time.
They Want Your Pillow – Beware!
Cats and pillows, it’s a struggle that cat owners have had to endure since a cat first curled up and enjoyed a good night’s sleep on a pillow I bet.
If your cat is staring at you there is a good chance they are trying to tell you that they want you pillow. It’s true.
Do they ever sleep on your pillow in the day? Have they made attempts to force themselves onto it in the night? It wouldn’t surprise me, I know it’s happended to me, and plenty of my cat owning friends.
So, now it’s up to you. What is worth to stop your cat watching you while you’re trying to sleep?
You could offer up a pillow. Try and share your pillow. I’ll leave it up to you and your kitty to negotiate, but if this is the reason, I have a feeling I know who will win in the long run. 🙂
Do Cats like It When You Stare at Back Them?
You’ve probably heard it said that cats hate being stared at and see staring as a form of aggressive behavior.
This is true in most instances when two cats are staring each other down. But not always the casewhen humans stare at them.
Sure, most cats would not like it if you got right up close and stared at them. But who would like that?
They really don’t mind for the most part, as long as you’re softly staring and they have no reason to feel threatened.
Just give it a try for yourself and you’ll see. Stare at your cat from across the room and see what they do. My bet is that they ignore you.
It’s not a solution to stop them staring at you because you don’t want to freak them out. You’re better off investigating the reasons above and trying to find out what they want.
Do Cats like Making Eye Contact?
Cats do like making eye contact and they use eye contact as a way of communicating to us, other cats, and other living creatures.
It’s the type of eye contact you need to be aware of. For the most part, they like the same kind of eye contact we do, so it’s not hard to figure out how and when to look at your cat.
I’m sure you interact with your cat by making eye contact whether you think about it at the time or not. Especially when you’re playing with them, talking, or calling them in.
Which is why I’ve been explaining that if your cat is staring at you during the night they are probably trying to tell you something.
Why Does My Cat Stare at Me and Blink Slowly?
This is the question all cat owners love talking about – and boasting how often their cats blink slowly at them.
Because when a cat blinks slowly at someone it’s believed to mean that they are showing you they love you.
I don’t always subscribe to this. There are some other reasons why a cat would be blinking of course, but it’s a really nice explanation.
It does, however, show that your cat is comfortable and happy at that moment. Cats only close their eyes, even for a brief moment, when they feel secure and happy with their surroundings.
So, interpret it as meaning whatever you want. It’s always a good sign to see a cat blinking slowly, and I find it quite relaxing to see.
If your cat is blinking or winking at you when you’re in bed then it’s likely to be the reasons above explaining that your cat is showing you they love you or watching over you.
Hopefully, I’ve helped you understand some of your cats curious nocturnal and staring behaviors in this article.
More importantly, I hope you figure out what they are trying to tell you and come up with a solution that means they are happy, and you’re getting quality sleep without worrying that if you open an eye you’ll see that big cat eyes peering at you!
If you enjoyed – why does my cat watch me sleep? Please feel free to browse some of my other posts looking into some of the stranger and more interesting aspects of cat behavior in the blog.