portrait of a tabby cat lying on womans chest staring intently at woman

Why Does My Cat Watch Me Sleep?

Why does my cat watch me sleep? Most likely it is bored, looking for something to do, anxious or hungry! Can you do something about it if this weird behavior makes you feel uncomfortable? Yes, you can. You can alter their living patterns and even go as far as shutting them out of the bedroom!

Read on to learn more…

Why Is My Cat Wide Awake At Night?

Your cat is a crepuscular predator. Therefore, it’s in its nature to be wide awake at dusk and dawn. The half-light provides cover for hunting, and your cat’s large eyes make it easy for them to see everything around them in low-light conditions.

It’s for this reason that your cat loves getting out late evening and early morning, and some cats protest if you lock them up for the evening. Cat’s love chasing mice at night, and their super night vision allows them to detect the slightest movement.

If you lock your cat up at night and don’t let them outside to explore, they’ll likely sit by the window and start to cry until you let them out. However, if you live in a city where you can’t let kitty out, you’ll need to train them to stop them from requesting to go out.

If you end up keeping them indoors, you’re going to have to find a way to divert all the excess energy your feline friend has in them. Cats that don’t get enough exercise of socialization start to develop strange behavior.

striped tabby cat lying on a bed

Why Does My Cat Watch Me Sleep?

Why does my cat stare at me when I sleep? Cats are naturally curious animals, but sometimes this behavior is borderline creepy. It’s probably going to come as a surprise to you that your cat probably spends a few hours every night watching you as you sleep.

So, are they staring at you because they love you and can’t get enough of you? Why don’t they do it during the day? Your cat stares at you during the night for various reasons.

Your Cat Is Anxious

Anxiety is a big thing with your cat. When they first experience separation from their mother, they undergo “separation anxiety.”

Your cat overcomes the fear generated by the situation with your care. By feeding, sheltering, and loving your kitty, they become adjusted, and the anxiety lifts.

However, cats that don’t adjust properly for whatever reason might develop behavioral disorders, such as staring at you while you sleep or sleeping at the foot of your bed.

While behavioral anxiety disorders are a problem, if you have a well-adjusted cat and find them staring at you at night, it’s not anything out-of-the-ordinary.

In most cases, a cat staring at you is entirely normal. They might also have some anxiety about the thunderstorm booming in the middle of the night and seek you out for security.

This staring behavior occurs across all breeds and at all ages. Typically, cats with a stronger attachment to their owners will adopt the action of sitting on your chest while they stare at you sleeping.

They might just miss you in the middle of the night and decide to check in with you to see if you’re okay. Staring at you while you sleep soothes your cat‘s nerves, letting the anxiety subside.

Your Cat Is Feeling Hungry

As we mentioned, your cat is a crepuscular animal, and they typically prefer feeding at dusk and dawn. If you forget to leave some kibble out for them before you go to bed, they might try to come and wake you up because they need a snack.

Keep the water bowl filled and half a bowl of kibble out for your cat at night, and they won’t bother you with midnight snack requests when they feel hungry.

black and white cat lying on the chest of a sleeping bearded man watching him sleep.

Your Cat Is Feeling Bored

Cats are more active at night. Unless you train your cat to stay awake and play during the day, they’re likely to spend it sleeping in their favorite hiding spot.

Since the cat’s nature is to remain active at night, they need a stimulus to keep them busy. Most cats rely on toys to help them pass the time inside at night and burn off the excess energy they build up from sleeping during the day.

Get your cat a few toys, but make sure you leave out the ones with the bells and squeakers. During your downtime, the last thing you need is your cat flying around the living room with the squeaky rubber chicken at 3 AM.

However, if your cat doesn’t get enough playtime during the day, they’re likely to cause a stir in the living room with their toys at night.

When they eventually give up, it’s common for your cat to decide to go and check on you. When they see you sleeping, and they feel wide awake, some cats might think you’re going to wake up in a minute. They’ll crawl on top of you and sit on your chest or head until you wake up.

It’s common for your cat to sit on your chest because it’s the part of your body with the most body heat. Do you know how your cat likes sleeping on your car bonnet in the winter after you get home from doing errands? It’s the same with your chest.

The most common position for them to sit is facing you. That way, they get a better sense of balance, and they know the second you wake up.

Some cats might also sit and “needle” where they knead the blanket or duvet with their claws while you sleep. If the razor blades on the tip of your cat’s paws get through the fabric, it’s an unpleasant way to wake up.

Your Cat Is Trying To Get Your Attention

While your cat is sitting on your chest waiting for you to wake up, it might start needling, as mentioned above. However, the entire point of staring at you is an exercise intended to get you to wake up.

It’s like your cat is magically hoping they can use “the force” to wake you up, like Yoda or something. They sit and stare at you with one thought going through their mind, “Please, wake up!”

Your cat knows you’ll scold it if it wakes you up with a head bump or meow, and they’ll usually only do this if something’s wrong.

Cats Enjoy Fluffy Pillows

Cats love sitting on comfortable objects. Since your bed has multiple pillows, they’ll find the comfiest spot, and that’s usually right next to your head. Your cat needs something to do while they’re relaxing in luxury, so they look at you for entertainment.

To a cat, watching you sleep is like checking out the discovery channel. They’ll watch every micro-expression in your face as you sleep, trying to understand what you’re thinking.

young woman lying on a bed with a tabby cat lying on bed in sphinx pose

How Can I Make My Cat Stop Staring At Me?

So, is there any way you can get your cat to stop staring at you when you’re asleep? Maybe it’s freaking you out, and you’re starting to wonder if you’re in a re-run of “Pet Cemetery.”

Here are three action strategies to keep your cat from staring at you while you sleep.

Schedule A Regular Playtime

Try to tire your cat before you go to bed. Make sure you play with them a few hours before you decide to turn in for the night.

Playing with them right before you go to bed revs them up, and they’ll want to keep playing while you want to sleep. Give them time to get their heart rate up and time to wind down.

Make Sure Your Cat Has Food And Water

As mentioned, fill their bowls with kibble and water to keep them content. If they feel hungry, they don’t need to come and stare at you, hoping you’ll wake up and feed them.

Keep Kitty Out Of Your Bedroom

Keeping your cat out of your bedroom is the best option. Set up an automatic sonic sensor at your door. When your cat approaches the device, it emits a subsonic noise you can’t hear.

However, your cat can hear it, and they’ll run away. Another idea to keep the kitty away includes scenting the door frame with diluted lemon juice. They hate the citrus smell.

Alternatively train your cat to stay in a particular room at night – give them ownership of a safe room where they will feel most comfortable and importantly, won’t bother you!

Wrapping Up – Why Does My Cat Watch Me Sleep?

Waking up to find your cat staring at you while you sleep is somewhat disturbing, but it’s not out of the ordinary. Cats are more active at night, and you’re their best friend. When you’re not awake to hang out with them, they start to miss you.

There are several reasons for this staring behavior. However, most of them are nothing to worry about, and it’s entirely normal behavior for any feline. We assure you that your cat is not plotting your demise while you sleep – although it might feel like that.

If their staring is bothering you or interrupting your sleep, follow our tips for preventing the nighttime stare down with your cat. Alternatively, you can attempt to train them to sleep at night rather than during the day.