If you’re a cat owner yourself, then you know that your feline friend will engage in a whole host of strange behaviors that we human beings struggle to explain. One of the strangest behaviors that cats engage in is appearing to sleep whilst their eyes are wide open.
Seeing your cat sleeping with their eyes open can not only look incredibly creepy, but it may cause you to feel concerned if you’ve not witnessed them doing this before.
There are a few common questions that might pop into your head, including whether or not this might be a medical condition.
If you want to find out more about this peculiar behavior, keep reading, as we take a look below.
Can Cats Actually Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
Let’s dive straight into the topic at hand and answer whether or not it is possible for cats to sleep with their eyes open.
The simple answer is, yes. Cats are able to sleep with their eyes open. Not all cats will engage in this kind of behavior, and you may just do it one in a while.
Should I Be Concerned?
It is reassuring to know that finding your cat sleeping with their eyes open, although it can appear jarring, is not a cause for concern most of the time. If you’ve had your cat for a while, and they’re approaching old age, you may have noticed them doing this for the first time.
This is very normal, as scientists have found that older cats tend to sleep with their eyes open as opposed to younger cats.
If, however, you notice that your cat is engaging in other strange behaviors whilst they’re asleep, such as twitching, then this could be an important sign that you need to take them to your local veterinarian. The reason being because your cat might be experiencing seizures.
Most of the time however, this isn’t the case. Cats have incredibly heightened senses, including eyesight, and so like to be present and aware of their surroundings all of the time, so this behavior could just be a continuation of these instincts.
It Could Be To Do With Their Sleeping Patterns
A reason why your cat might be sleeping with their eyes open could be due to their sleeping patterns. Domestic cats can sleep for very long periods of time, up to 20 hours a day even. Despite their love of snuggling up next to a warm fire, they’re also hard wired to be predators.
Because of this hard wiring in their DNA, your cat might still be on high alert even whilst they’re asleep. When they hear anything moving around in the house, it is not uncommon for them to wake up immediately and spring into action.
Their eyes might be open because they’re not yet in a very deep sleep, and haven’t reached the REM portion of their cycle, as a result their eyes might not be closed.
The stage of this sleep cycle is known as the slow wave sleep, or SWS. This is the shallowest form of rest possible. Keeping one or two eyes open allows them to react to their environment as soon as possible.
After they move into the REM portion of the sleep cycle, or rapid eye movement, you may notice your cat's eyes shutting, demonstrating that they are in a deeper sleep.
This isn’t always the case, however, and your cat's eyes may stay awake whilst they’re in this stage of the sleep cycle. Their eyes may as a result move to the back of their heads, or may twitch a little.
They Could Be Injured
Another less common reason why your cat may have their eyes open whilst they’re sleeping is because they have sustained an injury. You may be aware that cats actually have a third eyelid, as opposed to humans.
As a result, if this eyelid sustains an injury, your cat may be unable to close their eyes whilst trying to fall asleep.
If you notice any other symptoms that your cat might be experiencing pain, then you should take them to your local veterinary clinic as soon as possible. If they have indeed sustained damage on their third eyelid, then they will probably require surgery to resolve the issue.
Some other symptoms of this issue include:
They Might Be Watching You
Another reason why your cat might be sleeping with their eyes open is because they’re actually keeping an eye on you.
You might have a very strong bond with your cat, and they like to be with you at all times. If this is the case then they might not want to leave you out of their sight, quite literally.
Your cat will likely see you as their protector, and if this is the case then they’ll keep an eye on you to make them feel more secure.
If they see that you get up to go to another room, then they’ll likely get up and follow you around.
Why Do Cats Have A Third Eye?
A common question asked by people is why cats have a third eyelid in the first place. The reason why they have this special feature is to protect the cornea from injury when they attempt to capture their prey.
One of the main reasons why cats sleep with their eyes open is because of the stage in their sleep cycle that they’re in. It is completely normal, especially in older felines. If you notice other symptoms however, such as redness or swelling, it could be due to a medical issue.
The sun is shining too bright, and it is too hot outside. Sometimes my skin gets wet between
my fur, my mouth stays dry, and my feet are wet. I don't like getting too hot. I can't cool
myself down with water because I don't like it.
Mommy tried to drown me with soapy water once, so I had to use my nails to hold on tight. I don’t think she loved me too much at that stage. Luckily, for her own safety, she didn't try it again!
On bright shiny days, I don't like to do much! I prefer to lay on cool sheets or the hardwood
floor or in the shade under the cave that is made from wood and grass. I don't have a lot of
energy when I get hot. Mommy always tries to keep me active, although I refuse to play. I
only want to sleep!
Mommy tries to play by wiggling my toys around. Firstly she attempts to play with the
mouse and birdie on a stick, but I don't have the energy to entertain her now. When she fails,
she brings out all my favorite toys. Even my small, black wire! But I'm not easily fooled, so I
just stare at her. I wonder if she thinks I am stupid!
I only get up to eat my delicious food to keep my tummy full and to drink lots of water with
those see-through cold cubes, when my mouth goes dry. I like to catch the cubes, but my
paws always get wet. Mommy always makes cold water and soft food on a sunny day. Oh,
and I will get up for those delicious fish-shaped treats!
The sheets on the bed keep me cold. I love to push my sharp nails through the sheets.
Sometimes I knead with my front paws or scratch the sheets with my back paws to get
comfortable. I don't cuddle with my humans when I get hot.
I usually sleep the whole day when it is hot and play outside when the moon rises, and it gets
dark and cool. I love to have lazy days! All I worry about is sleep, food, and water.
Sometimes the big black box with movement is on to keep me busy. I have a great life
I'm done talking meow. I'm getting lazy!
I hate it when my humans have to leave. I wish that they could stay at home forever to
give me attention, cuddles, and more food. Although I am independent and can survive
on my own, I miss my humans when they are not around. They play with me and keep
me active during the day.
I don't like being alone, but at least I can still play with my toys, hunt, and talk to the
moon. While keeping busy, I still wonder when my humans are coming home. I have a
whole cave to myself. That is a lot of space!
As I get bored, I start playing with objects in the house to keep myself busy. I tip them
over and wack them around with my paws until it goes underneath the big objects. I
like playing with the clingy thing that unlocks doors, oh! and caps that go onto human
drinks. That is a lot of fun!
My humans have small pieces they put into each other to create a big picture, and I love
to help build it! I just don't entirely know how to help and end up playing with the
pieces. I sometimes hide one away to keep my humans entertained. It works! They
search around for the missing piece.
I think I should take a nap. I am tired after hunting and hiding objects. I will lay on my
blanket until I fall asleep, and hopefully, my humans will be back to give me lots of food
and attention. I love my blanket! It's so soft and cuddly. Now I can purr myself to sleep.
Yawn, I have been sleeping forever, and I am still home alone. What takes those
humans so long? I hope they bring me lots of gifts and food for waiting so long! I am
going to sit at the door and wait until it opens. No matter how long it takes! Usually, it
takes a few years.
Finally! I hear the sound of the big thing on wheels that we always travel in. Mommy
and daddy are home. Let me go and call them from the back gate and follow them to the
front. Meow. Hi Mommy and Daddy, I have been a good Queen. I didn't break or
scratch anything, so I deserve treats!
I'm going to go get all my cuddles now!
Late night out
My favorite time of the day is when the sun set and the moon rises. My vision gets even
better so that I can hunt and play easier! I love to hunt for all types of bugs, reptiles, and
insects at night, except the eight-legged ones. They're just too creepy. I think they sleep
during the day and play at night.
What I also like about nighttime is guarding my humans against intruders of my kind. They
jump over the fence to hunt my bugs like they don't have bugs in their yard! I need to ensure
they don't go inside the house and eat my or my human's food. I can't share my food. I need a
lot of protein.
I love to run around in the yard and play in between the plants at night. It is even more fun,
and it is more difficult for humans to find me. I like to carry my toys outside to keep me busy
in case the bugs are hiding. I enjoy playing with my mouse the most at night. It makes me
feel like I am hunting.
Once I am outside, I stay out, and those humans must try to stop me! I don't like to be inside
the house at night cause then my servants are sleeping, and my toys aren't moving. It is too
quiet inside. The crickets try to communicate with me while I'm out. I don't understand what
they are saying, but don't tell them. I wish that windows and doors didn't exist!
Every night my humans come outside to try and find me, but I am good at playing hide and
seek. Sometimes they notice me. I think they practice searching all day. Maybe that is what
work means. When they find me, I run away so that then they chase me. Can you believe they
like playing outside at night too?
The only time I will go into the house is when the raining devices outside turn on. Can you
believe that all of them turn on at the same time? I hate getting wet, and I hate rain! After my
humans dry me, I cuddle up in the blankets until I fall asleep.
Okay, Have a purring night!
Cat in the bag.
Bags is one of my favorite things to play in. My whiskers are another one of my superpowers.
You won't believe me, but I can measure spaces with my whiskers to know if I will fit. If I fit
in, I sit! It doesn't work if you are out of shape, so I must stay active.
My humans always worry about work and money, whatever that means, but apparently, that
is where they get my food, so I don't mind! If I can eat, I am more than happy. My humans
spend too much money on toys, but my favorite toys don't cost money. Like spiral wires,
boxes, and gift bags. They can use all those monies on my hungry tummy.
I love all kinds of bags. My humans always bring plastic bags for me. Unfortunately, it comes
with human food. Sometimes my food is in there as well, but not always. I love to get into
plastic bags. It makes a lot of noise and is great for hiding and attacking humans
Sometimes my humans bring paper bags instead, which is even better than a plastic bag! It is
stiff enough to sit up straight and crackles when it moves. I sometimes even chase my tail
inside of it or hide my toys in there. When I get tired, I just tip over and sleep. Potato bags are
also fun to play with, it is much longer, and I can hide even deeper.
Whenever more humans come over, they always bring gifts, and gifts come in bags. How
great is that! Every time they get a gift, I get one too! It is similar to paper bags, but there are
two small ropes to play with. Gift bags come in all shapes and sizes to try and fit in. I love it
when humans visit me! I deserve gifts because I'm the Queen.
I also love boxes! It is a lot bigger and has enough place for a blanket too! It is great for
hiding out, and no one ever knows where I am hiding. There are holes for my paws and head
to push through, and I can catch my toys that move from the outside, and no one knows that it
is me playing with them.
I could chat more, but I have some attacking to do!
I love food a lot! If I have to choose between my servants and my food, I won't be able to. I
need food, and I need my servants to give me food. I wish I could learn where to find that
food, but apparently, it is a secret.
I don't know which one is better, breakfast or dinner. Every morning when dad gets ready to
work, he gets out his portable typing device and starts typing. When he is finished typing, he
usually makes breakfast.
Dad takes a box, shakes it until human food comes out, and tops it with delicious milk. I
know that staring at him while he eats will make him give me some, so I start staring, but he
ignores me. I have a plan B. As soon as he takes the last bite of food, I push my head into the
bowl and drink the milk. It worked! Dad hisses and gives the rest of the milk to me.
In between the day, I get a snack called a treat! It is the shape of a fish but tastes different
than the fish in a tin, but it is still delicious. Sometimes I get more than one if I am being
cute! I wonder in which pond these come from so that I can go get some more.
Lunch is more boring than breakfast and dinner. Lunch is the same old cross pellets as
always, but my favorite flavor is chicken. Sometimes my humans bring me round pellets or
other flavors, but then I refuse to eat and starve myself. They will eventually feel guilty and
get me my favorite food.
Dinner is the best food ever! It is the soft, special kind that I love so much. I even get to
choose the flavor, but sometimes I choose the wrong one. My favorite flavor of soft food is
also chicken. Maybe Daddy likes me more because Mommy always gives me the same food!
I always hunt my midnight snack myself. The best place to find small reptiles with long tails
is in the bushes. Don't tell my secret to the others of my kind. They will hunt all of them! But
somehow, Mommy always finds me hunting and takes me away. I'm going to start taking
their snacks away!
That is all for meow, I’m getting hungry!
I'm Obsessed with the moon.
Oh my, how I love the moon!
The moon calls my name every night. It is so bright and beautiful.
I love the moon so much that I can stare at it until it fades away.
I sleep so peacefully during the night when you protect me.
It feels like you listen to every conversation I have with you.
I hate when my humans separate me from you. I wish that I could open doors myself.
As I stare out the window and communicate with you, my humans get out of bed and cover
the windows so I can talk to you no more. Why they don't like you, I don't know. But I wish I could Meow at you all night. You should come and visit me more often!
As I look at you, I wonder what you do. Can you talk or move? Why is your shape changing?
I wonder what flavor you would be. Humans believe that you are cheese.
I love cheese, milk, cream, and everything dairy! Sometimes I wonder if there is really a
human standing on you like humans say. I wish I could have a tiny human. We would play
You are pure white, like cotton. Are you a cotton ball that I can play with?
I love to play with cotton, wool, and anything soft and fluffy.
Oh, I wish I could tear you apart with my sharp claws. I wonder if you can bounce like a ball
or if you could roll so that I can chase you around.
You will be my favorite toy if I can only reach you, so close but yet so far!
I believe that I have a superpower. I must practice staring at you enough to pull you closer
with my night vision eyes. One day you will be here in my very own home without being
able to escape. Someday I am going to catch you!
It's getting late now. I need to practice my superpowers!
My favorite toys.
Oh, how I love to play! I have a lot of toys to choose from, and I even have servants to move
them around for me. I play a lot with my humans during the day to keep them active and in
When my Mommy is busy tapping on the keyboard and Daddy is at work, I get bored and
make games up to keep myself active. Like attacking the big spongy thing my humans sit on
or tipping over the see-through, shiny thing they drink out of, sometimes it scares me by
One day Mommy came home with a birdie on a stick. I am sure it is dead, but it squeaks
when I play with it. Mommy and Daddy move the stick around so that I can catch the bird. I
know it doesn't move by itself, but I need to keep them entertained by playing to make them
Oh, Mommy also gave me feathers on a stick, which look the same as the feathers on birds
but don't taste the same. It also has a bell that makes it easier to know where my human is
hiding with it. Daddy brought me a mouse as a present after I went to the Vet, but it was also
dead. Although I would prefer a real-life mouse that I can hunt, I still love to play with it. I
gift my humans by bringing them mice and birds, but then they only yell at me.
I keep bringing the same old toys to them to play with now, the dead ones that they like. I
also found a white, heavy ball with dimples in Daddy's office. I love to play with it. It makes
a lot of noise on the hardwood floors. I especially like to play with it while my humans are
sleeping. Usually, they get up to play with me, but then they misplace the ball. Humans can
be stupid sometimes.
Daddy opened a gift box once and found a gift hidden in the box for me. A small black wire!
It is my favorite toy and I play with it the most. Whoever hid the wire in there is clever. I
bring it to Daddy a lot to shape it into a spiral to roll around. It makes it easier to play!
Enough meowing! I need to search for my toys now.