Why Does My Cat Touch My Face When I’m Sleeping?

Having a cat comes with many quirks that you have to learn while you are a cat parent. Let’s assume the situation where you are having an afternoon nap, and suddenly your cat wakes you up with its paws.

This situation is pretty standard for most cat owners, and it is safe to assume that your cat will do the same at some point in time. So, you might wonder why your cat touches your face when you are sleeping.

The primary reason might vary from one cat to another, but you can expect the cat to show a particular sign of affection towards you. It can show its love to you, claim you to be its property, or demand something from you.

In this article, we will explain this commonly found phenomenon with all the possible reasons. By the end of this article, you will be comfortable with the behavior and love your cat even more for this sweet gesture.

Why Does My Cat Touch My Face When I’m Sleeping?


When it comes to your cat’s particular behavior, there is no definite answer to explain it. It can be a sweet gesture from your cat in which it returns the favor of petting it, or the cat may be just trying to wake you up.

However, we will provide some of the most plausible reasons behind this behavior. Let us consider the following possibilities to explain the behavior in question.

Marking Territory:

Cats are highly territorial animals, and marking their territory is one of the most common traits found in cats.

They have special glands on their forehead and beneath their paws that secrete pheromone. The smell of these pheromones may not be recognizable to humans, but cats can understand them because of their heightened smelling power.

Cats scratch particular walls or furniture or rub their head on them to transfer their pheromones and mark their territory.

If you ever found your cat touching your head with the paws or forehead, they may be claiming you to be their property.

You cannot but accept this gesture no matter how annoying it can get. It is a great honor for you to be part of their clan.

Cats can show several types of habits to claim their possession. You should be thankful that they have chosen this sweet gesture to show their love for you.


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Petting You Back:

It is an adorable way to look at the gesture. Generally, we pet cats by touching their face or back and swirling our hands over their soft fur.

If you think that the cat is petting you back as you do, it is probably one of the most rewarding gestures you can expect from a cat. You should know that the cat loves you as much as you love it.

Demanding Something:

Cats require several things for their comfort. They need sufficient food, water, or a comfortable place for the night.

If you have forgotten one of them, they will let you know about their demands quite blatantly. Pawing at your face when you are sleeping may be their way of reminding you that “Human, you have forgotten something important!”

If you observe that the cat is demanding something, make sure that it is comfortable the next time you nap.

However, you have to be careful while dealing with such situations. If you respond to this gesture immediately by giving them food, they will continue to touch your face when they need food.

So, we recommend that you wait for a bit until the cat calms when you give food or water to the cat.

A Sweet Effort Gone Wrong:

Cats prefer the presence of their favorite human when they are trying to sleep. If you are THE human for the cat, it can just snuggle with you when you are sleeping.

Cats like to sleep near the head or chest when they are trying to sleep with a human. So, they can stretch before sleeping and hit your face in the process.

You have to remember that it is a rare gesture from a cat. It requires an incredible amount of trust to be vulnerable like that.

Many experts think that cats are most vulnerable when they are sleeping.

It would help if you were glad that they had chosen you to be that person for them. Avoid scolding the cat if they wake you up while performing this sweet gesture.

A Test:

Gaining the trust of a cat is a tough job to pull off. If you have adopted the cat from a shelter, it can have past trauma.

These incidents make them unsure of the humans they live with now, and trusting you becomes tough. In those scenarios, cats will test your reaction to certain behaviors.

If you respond to them calmly and sweetly, you will gain their trust. Touching your face can be one of their tests as well. If you don’t respond to them in a hostile manner and keep their paws on your face, they will slowly understand that they can trust you.

Generally, when you adopt an older cat, it faces these problems. Be gentle with them, and the reward will be more than you expect.

Being Mischievous:

Mischievous attitude is not uncommon for cats, and pawing your face when you are sleeping may very well be one of such acts.

Cats can rest their paws on your face to see how you react.

As long as they are not drawing their claws and scratch you, you should be okay with the behavior. No matter what, avoid scolding your cat as it can have a detrimental effect on the cat’s mental state.

Snuggling Time:

Some cats prefer sleeping on their own, whereas some of them love an excellent snuggling time. If you have a cat who shows its affection in the grandest way possible, they will prefer to snuggle with you when you are sleeping.

Choosing to sleep just near your face is most common amongst cats. When they trust you, they will try to touch one part of your body.

Most of the time, they end up choosing the face. So, you may find your cat pawing your face when you are sleeping. You should accept this behavior as they show their love for you, and it is infrequent.


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What Does It Mean When A Cat Touches Your Face?

Touching your face is one of the sweetest gestures that a cat can show to express their love and affection. They may be transferring their pheromones to your face and claiming you to be their property.

It is also possible that the cat is just showing their love. No matter what, it is a sign of trust and affection, and accepting it is the best thing you can do.


We have discussed multiple reasons for which your cat can touch your face when you are sleeping.

It should be clear that they do not have a wrong intention in doing so. Trust is a rare gift that cats provide, and when they trust you, you have to be grateful.

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