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Why Does My Cat Stare at Me While I Sleep? 7 Likely Reasons

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

cat staring its sleeping owner

If you’ve ever lived with a cat, you can probably remember waking up to find them staring at you at least once. And, let’s be honest, you’ve probably caught them more times than that!

There are several possible reasons your feline may decide to stare at you while you sleep. These are entirely benign. And no, your cat is not plotting your ultimate demise!

Of course, there is little scientific evidence to back up any of these potential theories. Figuring out why cats do what they do is notoriously tricky for science, and we can’t exactly ask them!

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The 7 Reasons Why Your Cat Stares at You While You Sleep

1. Protection

Cats are typically most active in the evening and early morning hours. Like many predators, they typically stalk their prey in the twilight.

When you’re sleeping during these periods, your cat may decide to watch you back. In the wild, this makes perfect sense. You never know when someone is going to sneak up on you. In our homes, the chance of an intruder is relatively low. But it’s the thought that counts!

white cat staring down at something
Image Credit: Chunli Ju, Unsplash

2. Love

Just like humans may stare at someone they love while they’re sleeping, our cats may do the same thing. They may like watching you sleep!

They may feel safe when lying next to you, and they could just happen to be looking at your face when you open your eyes.

3. Anticipation

If you wake up at about the same time each day, your cat probably knows this. They may sneak into your room around the time you’re supposed to wake up and stare at you until you do. If it’s in the early morning hours, this is likely the reason you woke up to your feline staring holes through you!

If you feed your cat in the morning, you can likely expect their persistent meows soon after you open your eyes. At least they had the decency to wait for you to wake up before making a commotion.

white cat lying on bed
Image Credit: C. Z. Shi, Unplash

4. Anxiety

Anxiety is sadly pretty common with cats. They are susceptible to changes in their environment, which can cause significant distress.

Many cats will seek out comfort items when they are stressed, which may include you. Even if you’re sleeping, your cat may decide that you are the safest option they have. You should take it as a compliment, even if your cat staring at you in the wee hours of the morning is a bit creepy.

5. Boredom

When the house is quiet in the early hours of the day, your cat can get quite bored. If there isn’t anything for them to do, they may decide to lay around until you wake up. This may involve a lot of staring at you without any particular reason in mind.

In these circumstances, your cat may try to wake you up. But many cats will also sit there and stare. It just depends on the cat’s personality.

black and white cat on bed
Image Credit: Lydia Turner, Unsplash

6. Annoyance

Many cats will decide to sleep next to their owners. You’re a warm and safe location (but mostly just warm).

If you’re moving around or making loud noises, your cat can become quite annoyed. Just like you’d get annoyed by another person moving around insistently or snoring, our cats can find these things annoying, too.

You’re most likely to snore and roll around when you’re at the end of a sleep cycle. Therefore, it isn’t odd for you to wake up and catch your cat staring at you, either.

7. Trying to Wake You Up

Cats can try all sorts of methods to try and wake up their owners. Usually, these involve things like meowing or pawing at our faces. Either way, it will also involve quite a bit of staring. Cats may try something and then stare at us for a while to see if it worked! If they manage to wake us up, we’ll probably catch them staring at us.

Cat waking up its owner sleeping in bed
Image Credit: Kasefoto, Shutterstock

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Our cats can stare at us for all sorts of reasons. None of these reasons are potentially dangerous, though. In most cases, our cats are seeking out our comfort or waiting for us to wake up. It’s also possible that your feline may be annoyed by something you were doing in your sleep, or they may be waiting for you to wake up.

In most cases, figuring out the exact reason isn’t that important. You probably can’t or won’t make your cat stop, and staring usually isn’t a sign that your cat needs anything immediately. Usually, staring is just an annoyance, nothing more to worry about.

Featured Image Credit: MOUii, Shutterstock

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