Why Do Cats Sleep with Their Eyes Open? The Fact Behind This Behavior!

Have you ever seen your cat sleeping with its eyes open? If so, you may have asked why they do it and whether it is normal. 

Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many cat owners have seen this strange behavior and have wondered about the reasons behind it.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the possible reasons why your cat sleeps with their eyes open and what it means for their health and well-being. 

Can Cats Sleep with Their Eyes Fully Open?

Normally, cats don’t sleep with their eyes fully open. They may have a little opening in their eyes, known as “half-open” or “half-close”.

This behavior does not happen only to cats, but it also happens to people, especially kids. 

It is called “REM sleep”. It is a type of sleep that allows your cat to remain alert and responsive to their surroundings. It is also useful for predators and prey animals like “Cats”.

Cats have a third eyelid. It is known as the nictitating eyelid which allows them to sleep with their eyes half open and half close. 

The third eyelid serves as protection for the eyes and it is the one that blinks most frequently but only for a brief period of time, so we rarely see it. 

Overall, cats can sleep with their eyes half open. It helps them to keep any sudden movements or dangers. However, it’s uncommon for cats to sleep with their eyes fully open. 

If you notice your cat constantly sleeping with fully open eyes, it may be a sign of a serious health problem, so you should consult or see a veterinarian. 

Why Do Cats Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

If you have cats sleep with their eyes open, here are some possible reasons behind it.

Keeping Alert

Cats are predators. They are very careful animals. Cats are instinctively wary of potential threats even while they sleep. 

They often sleep with their eyes slightly open because it helps them to stay alert while resting. 

Half-open eyes allow them to detect movement quickly, if necessary, which is an important survival instinct of their wild ancestors.

To Enter a Light Sleep

Like humans, cats also have different stages of sleep. They have two types of sleep: non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. 

According to my research, cats spend about 40% in REM sleep and 60% in non-REM sleep.

Non-REM sleep is when their brain is quieter and slows down. During this time, cats completely close their eyes and relax their muscles. 

REM sleep is lighter and more active sleep. During this period of time, cats may experience vivid dreams and their brain is sending signals to their body. 

As a result, cats may keep their eyes half-open, and twitch their ears, limbs, and tail. 

Hunting Instincts

It is also a possible reason for cats as cats are carnivores. They are known for being excellent hunters even when they’re asleep. 

They may still be looking for prey. By sleeping with their eyes open, they can immediately respond to any potential opportunities for a midnight snack. 

Regulate Their Body

Some experts believe that cats can regulate their body temperature when they sleep with their eyes open.

Cats have an average body temperature higher than humans, and by keeping their eyes open during sleep, they can dissipate excess heat more efficiently. 

To Cope with An Injury

It is possible for cats to sleep with their eyes open if they are infected, trauma, inflammation, or other eye conditions.

Therefore, if you notice that your cat has redness, swelling, discharge, or pain in their eye, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that every cat is different and could be sleeping with their eyes open for a variety of reasons. 

Some cats may feel more secure or comfortable in this position.

However, if you are concerned about your cat’s eye health or behavior, it is always the right way to visit your veterinarian. They will determine if your cat requires assistance.

Is It Normal for Cats to Sleep with Their Eyes Open After Being Spayed?

Yes, it is normal for some cats to sleep with their eyes open after being spayed. 

This behavior can be caused by a few factors including the anesthesia effects and the recovery process following surgery. When your cat is spayed, they are usually given anesthesia in order for a painless procedure. 

The anesthesia can affect your cat’s eye muscles and eyelids, which may result in your cat sleeping with its eyes half-open or fully open.

Additionally, this behavior may also be influenced by the recovery from surgery. 

In order to defend themselves, cats may become more attentive while sleeping and keep their eyes wide due to pain or discomfort at the surgery site.

Although cats sleeping with their eyes open after being spayed may seem strange or even uncomfortable, it is typically seen as normal in the context of post-surgery recovery.

However, it is always better to consult with your veterinarian for necessary help if you have any concerns about your cat’s behavior after being spayed.

Finally Thought: 

Can cats sleep with their eyes fully open? No, cats cannot sleep with their eyes fully open, but they can sleep with their eyes half-open and half-close.

Cats sleep with their eyes open for some possible reasons such as keeping alert, entering light sleep, hunting instinct, or even regulating their body temperature. 

However, some cats may also sleep with their eyes open because of an eye injury or illness that prevents them from properly closing their eyes.

Therefore, if your cat shows any symptoms of eye issues such as redness, discharge, puffiness, or squinting, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Daney Hak

I’m a passionate cat mom and pet lover. Apart from being a cat owner, I’ve spent many years of my childhood around them. In my experience, I’ve learned the importance of understanding your cat to be able to cater to them adequately. Thank you so much for your time.

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