Do Cats Sleep with their Eyes Open

by Sehrish Vulvox ABC

Cats are fascinating creatures with unique and interesting behaviors. One of the most curious things about cats is their sleeping habits. Many cat owners wonder if their furry companions sleep with their eyes open or closed. In this article, we will explore whether cats sleep with their eyes open, why they do it, and other interesting facts about cat sleeping behavior. Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years and have become popular pets around the world. While many cat owners are familiar with their pets’ quirky personalities, they may not know everything about their sleeping habits.

Why Do Cats Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

One of the primary reasons why cats sleep with their eyes open is that they are highly adaptable animals. In the wild, cats need to be alert at all times to avoid predators and hunt for prey. Sleeping with their eyes open allows them to keep an eye on their surroundings and react quickly to any potential threats.

Another reason why cats sleep with their eyes open is that it helps them conserve energy. When cats are sleeping, their bodies are still working to maintain their vital functions, such as breathing and heartbeat. Keeping their eyes open allows them to rest more efficiently while still remaining alert.

Cat Sleeping Habits

Cats are known for being creatures of habit, and their sleeping habits are no exception. On average, cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours per day, with some cats sleeping up to 20 hours per day. Most cats prefer to sleep in warm, cozy places, such as in a sunbeam or on a soft bed. Cats are also known for their ability to nap at any time of the day or night.

They may sleep for a few hours at a time or take short naps throughout the day. While they do have a natural circadian rhythm, which means they are more active during certain times of the day, they can also adapt to their owners’ schedules and sleep at night.

Do Cats Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Cats are known for their unique behaviors, from their playful antics to their love of napping. One behavior that may surprise some cat owners is sleeping with their eyes open. While it may seem unusual, this is a natural behavior for cats that serves a specific purpose.

Anatomy of a Cat’s Eye

To understand why cats sleep with their eyes open, it’s important to understand the anatomy of their eye. A cat’s eye has three eyelids – an upper and lower eyelid like humans, as well as a third eyelid, or nictitating membrane, located in the inner corner of the eye. The third eyelid is translucent and can move across the eye to protect and moisten it.

Benefits of Sleeping with Eyes Open

So why do cats sleep with their eyes open? The primary benefit is increased alertness. Cats are highly adaptable creatures and sleeping with their eyes open allows them to be more aware of their surroundings and potential threats. Additionally, it conserves energy, which is especially important for cats in the wild who need to be alert and ready to hunt at a moment’s notice.

Sleeping Patterns of Cats

Cats are known for their love of napping, and for good reason. On average, cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day. They also have a unique sleeping pattern that consists of both REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. REM sleep is when the eyes move rapidly and the brain is active, while non-REM sleep is when the body is relaxed and the brain is less active.

Is Sleeping with Eyes Open Harmful to Cats?

Sleeping with eyes open is not harmful to cats as long as they are in a safe and clean environment. However, there are some risks to be aware of. Dust and debris can enter the eye while sleeping, which can cause irritation or infection. Additionally, cats with pre-existing eye problems may be more susceptible to complications.


In conclusion, cats are unique animals with fascinating sleeping behaviors. While it’s not uncommon for cats to sleep with their eyes open, it’s not the norm, and most cats prefer to sleep with their eyes closed. The third eyelid, a unique adaptation in cats’ eyelids, allows them to sleep with their eyes partially open while still remaining aware of their surroundings. While there are potential health risks associated with cats sleeping with their eyes open, it’s not necessarily harmful. As with any unusual behavior in your cat, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian to ensure that your furry friend is healthy and happy.

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