Growing up with fluffers galore means getting accustomed to catching glimpses of them napping all the time. And, there’s nothing wrong with that because everybody knows cats absolutely adore sleeping. But, there are times when you catch your cat sleeping with her eyes open and you’re like, “What on Earth?”
Don’t get me wrong, there’s hardly anything better than waking up to your fluffy friend meowing your ears off because she thought you forgot about her while you were sleeping. Additionally, there’s hardly a better way of bonding with your four-legged friend than sharing the bedding arrangement.
And, cats do have a reputation for being standoffish and detached which can make the whole bonding experience a nightmare. But, when you’re looking to deepen your connection with your curious creature, nothing’s stopping you from snuggling with her… Other than the fact she keeps sleeping with her eyes open.
Of course, you’re bound to witness strange sleeping habits when sharing your bed with a member of the feline world. However, nothing prepared you for the fact that the previously-mentioned feline looks possessed while she sleeps. And, we’re not even referring to those demonic sounds escaping her mouth when she’s fard down the dreamland.
But, hold your horses. Sleeping with her eyes open doesn’t have to be a “call the doctor right meow” thing. More times than not, you can check whether she’s dealing with eye problems or waiting for your to open another package of Fancy Feast.
Therefore, we’re bringing you everything you need to know about your cat sleeping with her eyes open before you freak out and contact your vet at 3 a.m. on everyone’s day off. Keep on reading, why don’t you?!
Is it possible that my cat is sleeping with her eyes open?
She sure can! Chances are, you noticed your fluffer sleeping with her eyes open on more than one occasion. “That can’t be healthy”, you thought to yourself. And, you weren’t completely wrong.
There’s nothing negative about sleeping with one or both eyes open. That is, as long as that doesn’t have anything to do with health problems.
Truth be told, witnessing your four-legged friend with her eyes wide open when she’s supposedly sleeping can be a horror waiting to happen.
Growing up, one of my friends owned a kitty that would sleep with both of her eyes open. Especially when she was exhausted from running around and causing trouble.
She was the bane of our existence, considering we were 100% sure she was some sort of a monster. She was a creature from a different world. Come on, how else would you explain the fact we would scream her name from the top of our lungs and she wouldn’t bat an eye?!
Of course, one day, we were waving our hands around her and summoning her (like the little demon she was). And, she hopped awake. Oh, she scared the living daylights out of me and looked at me with a “Why would you do that!? That was the best sleep of my life!” type of energy.
Little did we know that sleeping with her eyes opened was her favorite activity. She wasn’t a creature from a different world, she was exhausted. That’s why we’re here; to make sure you understand that cats share the love of strange sleeping habits, and don’t do that to freak you out.
Why does my cat keep sleeping with her eyes open?
Why do cats do anything that they do? Because they can and because they know you’re obsessed with them. Even when they don’t do anything other than cause trouble and freak you out. Because they don’t want to miss the moment you munch on chicken nuggets and dare not offer them one.
And, we can’t forget that cats sleep multiple times during the day (not counting the night). Of course, they’re bound to change positions and circumstances under which they sleep, dream, and observe everything that’s going on around them.
As far as we know, they’re dealing with FOMO and don’t know how to stop sleeping that many times a day. But, what matters the most should be the fact that sleeping that way doesn’t have to be your fluffer’s way of communicating something’s wrong.
More times than not, cats sleep with their eyes open because they want to and because they’re comfortable.
However, on the off chance that your fluffy friend might be different, we’re bringing you a rundown of reasons why cats sleep the way they sleep – with eyes open and observing everything you do. Oh, they’re lucky they’re adorable enough to fight shy of the “creepy” label!
1. Because of the sleep cycle
That’s right, cats have a sleep cycle the same way humans do – stages and everything! When your cat opens her eyes while she’s sleeping, she’s probably experiencing the first stage of the sleep cycle known as the NREM (or Non-Rapid Eye Movement).
That’s not strange for a cat considering that’s when she’s awake enough to notice what’s going on around her. On the off chance that she notices a butterfly or a human waving a chicken nugget, she has enough energy (and time) to wake up and attack – whether the attack seems necessary or not.
But, the moment that she enters the REM (or Rapid Eye Movement) stage of her sleep cycle, she’s going to close both of her eyes (or at least one). And, that’s when you might notice your kitty twitching, chirping, or even moving her muscles because they’re dreaming and recharging.
So, when you catch a glimpse of your cat sleeping with her eyes open, know that she’s experiencing the NREM stage of her sleep cycle, and don’t touch her.
2. Because she hurt one (or both) of her eyes
Cats are curious creatures! They spend most of the day running around the apartment, chasing after whatever they can play with, and knocking down whatever they can reach. They don’t shy away from exploring the world around them and experimenting with different physical activities.
And, as you might have guessed, they don’t shy away from hurting themselves (preferably while you’re busy doing something else). Therefore, there’s a chance your cat might be sleeping with her eyes open because she hurt one of them (or both) while she was playing earlier that day.
What do you do, then? Contact your vet the moment that you notice signs of scratches or lacerations around the eyes. Observe her while she’s sleeping with her eyes open and check for other symptoms.
Some of the things you might want to look for are watery eyes, discharge, scratches, redness, murkiness, and swelling. Don’t forget to contact your vet as soon as you catch sight of anything out of the ordinary.
3. Because there’s something stuck in one (or both) of her eyes
Keeping up with eye problems, there’s another one that might be causing your cat to keep sleeping with her eyes open. While they’re running around the backyard and playing outside, cats often get pollutants stuck in their eyes. These can be sand, dirt, and even thorns.
Such pollutants can cause damage to the outside of the eye and make your fluffy friend uncomfortable. And, as you might have guessed, the more uncomfortable she gets, the more likely she becomes to sleep with one or both of her eyes open.
Now, pollutants and contaminants can cause other health problems (inflammations, infections, and permanent damage to the eye).
Make sure to always check your four-legged friend for symptoms such as rubbing, squinting, redness, swelling, eye discharge, nasal discharge, and sneezing. Contact your vet the moment that you notice any of them, of course.
4. Because she’s dealing with dry eyes
Oh, we can’t forget about dry eyes (one of the most uncomfortable conditions your fluffer can have). Of course, she might be sleeping with her eyes open because she can’t close them due to something known as Dry Eye Syndrome.
Dryness caused by the lack of tears (and hydration) within the eye area can cause other health problems.
Some of the most common symptoms you might notice beforehand are swollen blood vessels, blindness, excessive blinking, eye mucus, protruding eyelids, and corneal ulcers. Other than that, you might notice your cat getting more and more depressed, lethargic, and annoyed.
As a matter of fact, sleeping with her eyes open might be the easiest of the symptoms considering that she could suffer from serious, life-altering side effects when left untreated. Therefore, contact your vet when you notice she’s blinking, squinting, and sleeping with her eyes open.
5. Because she’s dealing with other health problems
We can’t overlook the fact that a bunch of health problems could be related to the fact that your cat keeps sleeping with her eyes open. She might be experiencing symptoms you haven’t been able to catch. And, sleeping with her eyes open seems to be the one that caught your attention.
What other conditions could be related to her sleeping habits? Turns out she could be dealing with pretty much anything. Cats often sleep differently when they’re hurting, when they’re alert because of something they’re feeling, and when they’re experiencing other symptoms.
Some of the symptoms that might cause you to contact your vet are depression, lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss, and decreased quality of life. That’s when you know your fluffer’s going through something. Make sure you keep your vet up-to-date with everything you observed beforehand.
6. Because she heard something
Moving away from health-related reasons, there’s a chance that your cat might be sleeping with her eyes open because she’s reacting to her environment. Cats don’t necessarily have the reputation for being “light sleepers”. But, they’re not fond of sleeping while there’s a party right outside the bedroom door.
They might wake up when they hear you have people over. They might meow to let you know they’re awake and ready to play when they hear your neighbor’s dog barking outside.
And, they might sleep with one or both eyes open when they want to watch what’s going on when everyone thinks they’re far down the dreamland.
On the other hand, your precious purrincess might be uncomfortable with the environment she’s sleeping in. Maybe she doesn’t like the white noise machine or the Youtube playlist you put on. So, you should make sure she’s comfortable before you leave her to dream about chicken nuggets.
7. Because she’s scared
Right off the bat, you might not have been aware of the fact that cats can have night terrors. Sure, there are plenty of discussions dealing with whether or not cats can dream. But, most pet parents agree that cats can wake up scared and startled (most likely because of night terrors.)
We’ve mentioned the fact that cats have similar stages of the sleep cycle, right? During the REM stage, cats normally experience the deepest state of sleep. This cycle may or may not be accompanied by different dreams.
Therefore, the REM stage of the sleep cycle can cause your cat trauma, stress, and anxiety which can lead to night terrors.
And, the best way you can recognize whether she’s dealing with night terrors can be to observe her behavior when she wakes up. More often than not, she’s going to be upset, uncomfortable, and completely unaware of what happened.
8. Because she’s attached to you
“My cat’s sleeping with her eyes open because she wants to look at me while she’s sleeping?!”
We agree, that’s pretty much the best problem anyone could ask for. When your cat wants to sleep but doesn’t want to abandon whatever the two of you were doing, she’s likely to (accidentally) go to sleep with her eyes open.
As a matter of fact, that typically happens with kittens because they’re attached to you more than grown cats. Actually, kittens view you as a parent.
When they’re nervous, they want to feel closer to you. When they need attention and affection, they want you to be there for them. And, when they’re unable to sleep, they want to see you’re there for them.
Make sure you do everything you can to make your fluffer comfortable enough to sleep. Consider letting your kitten sleep with you for the time being. Or, consider getting her a friend to help her feel safe and secure. Given that you’re not happy with the thought of letting her sleep with you.
9. Because she’s not sleeping
We know what you’re thinking! “Umm, you mean to tell me she’s been messing with me the entire time? My cat’s not sleeping with her eyes open, she’s not sleeping…period!” And, that’s not far from the truth. But, you might be surprised by the reason why your cat sometimes pretends she’s sleeping when she’s not.
Here’s the thing, cats are wild, wild creatures. Now, your purrincess might not look like she belongs to the jungle because she spends her days lounging around your apartment and doing nothing. However, you can’t forget about the fact that she took over a thing or two from her ancestors.
So, when your cat “sleeps” with her eyes open, there’s a chance she’s aware of her surroundings because she’s waiting for something. Or, because she’s fearing someone. She wants to sleep, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.
10. Because she’s waiting for food
Oh, we don’t even need to go there, do we?! Nothing’s surprising about the fact that cats are willing to go above and beyond for some food.
And, there’s nothing that would stop them from waking up the moment they hear the crinkling sound of the Fancy Feast pouch.
That’s right, your cat keeps sleeping with her eyes open because she’s waiting for you to feed her. On that account, consider revisiting the feeding hours because there’s a chance you’re not feeding her often enough.
On the other hand, she might be waiting for food because she’s a cat and she can eat whenever. Whatever the case might be, don’t shy away from checking whether she’s getting enough food.