Having little independent, feline friends around is great, except for maybe the cat hair. That said, while cats can be sweet, loving creatures, they often have habits that can be a little annoying to owners. One of these is constantly pawing at your face while you’re asleep.
Your cat paws at your face to wake you up because they need something, including wanting to eat, play, snuggle, or even show affection. While many cats are aloof, they may try to show affection by pawing at your face. If your cat paws at your face while you’re asleep, it’s most likely for food.
The rest of this article will discuss the various reasons your furry friend might paw at your face while you’re sleeping and how to discourage the behavior. I’ll also go over other reasons why cats might paw at your face during the day and what these reasons mean.
Your Cat Paws at Your Face For Many Reasons
While cats may paw at your face throughout the day and not just at night, a cat waking you up from your slumber every night by pawing at you can be aggravating. Let’s talk about a few of the reasons you might wake up to a bit of paw in your face.
Your Cat Is Hungry
Cats often live on their own schedules, and while it’s convenient to have such an independent pet, it means that you need to adjust to their schedule.
If your cat is hungry early in the morning, it will most likely paw at your face to wake you up so you can feed it. Cats have different sleeping patterns than humans and tend to be active when others are sleeping.
Cats are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are typically active around twilight. While they usually have their own sleep schedules and live by their own rules, cats are very adaptable, especially indoor cats.
They will often adapt their schedules around the times they are fed or to spend more time with you.
Therefore, if your cat is pawing at your face to wake you up for food, it might be a good idea to make sure your cat has food in its bowl before going to bed. Then, the cat will have some food to eat and will be less likely to wake you up.
Your Cat Wants To Play
Cats can be unpredictable, and every cat has its own personality. Therefore, your cat could just be pawing you awake because it wants to play. Again, if your cat is on a different sleep schedule than you, it might want to play during the night.
While a few people might think it’s cute, most will be annoyed by their cat waking them.
If you’re looking for toys or ways to keep your cat busy at night, I recommend getting the FEANDREA Multi-Level Cat Tree from Amazon.com. While you can always buy little cat toys for your furry friends, having a cat tree allows cats to have something to climb, hang out on, and scratch at.
This cat tower has toys included in it and also offers multiple places for cats to perch.
It also has a safety aspect to it, as you can nail it to the wall to avoid it toppling over on the small animals. However, if you don’t like the thought of having a large, prominent cat tree in your house, there are more subtle options.
For subtlety, or if you have a smaller home, I recommend the On2 Pets Cat Tree with Leaves from Amazon.com.
This cat tree is a little more expensive but a lot more subtle. The design is smaller, neater, and provides many areas for cats to sit and chill. With this cat tree, get the benefit of both a lovely plant fixture and a fun place for your cat to play.
Your Cat Wants To Snuggle
Unlike dogs, cats aren’t known for being cuddly, affectionate creatures. Though cat lovers everywhere might disagree, the fact is that cats are often known for being aloof and independent.
However, this doesn’t apply to all cats, as some cats just want to snuggle.
Cats often like to show affection by snuggling up to their owners and will paw at or knead their owners to transfer their scent, which is their way of showing how much they love you.
There are many reasons why your cat might be kneading you. AnimalWised has an informative, four-minute video on YouTube if you’re looking for more reasons why cats might knead you:
You probably shouldn’t punish your cat for this behavior, as this is natural, loving behavior that brings your cat joy. You should either accept the snuggles or put your cat in another room while you’re sleeping.
Your Cat Just Wants Your Attention
Cats also wake their owners up just because they want to.
There’s not always a reason why cats do what they do. They might just be waking you up using their paws because they want your attention and don’t like that you’re sleeping.
Pawing you awake for no reason is most likely due to boredom. When cats are bored, they will often exhibit exuberant behaviors, including messing with you or other animals around the house. So, if your cat wakes you up often for no reason, this could be why.
Finding activities for your cat is the best way to help with this.
Other Reasons Your Cat Might Paw at Your Face
Cats don’t only paw at their owners when they’re asleep. Pawing is a normal behavior in many cats and could mean a variety of things. If you notice your cat trying to paw at your face throughout the day, it could either be any of the reasons why it paws at you at night.
Alternatively, it could be one of the following reasons that we will now discuss.
Your Cat Wants Space
If you’re trying to engage with your cat and play with it when you receive a paw to the face, it could indicate that your cat doesn’t want to play and wants some space. If your cat is trying to get away from you, it would be a good idea to leave your cat alone so it can have some alone time.
Your Cat Could Be Checking You Out
Cats, especially ones you’ve just brought into your home, will often test the humans by pawing at their faces, which could be a way to try and build trust with you. According to Animal Path, this is a common issue in shelter cats who have had a traumatic past. In such cases, letting your cat paw at your face is a good thing.
Your Cat Wants To Pet You
Cats are a lot smarter than many people give them credit for. If you pet your cat often, as many cat owners do, they will take notice and may try to pet you back. This is just another way that cats may show affection to their owners. During the day, this can be a cute behavior quirk. Waking up to it, however, is another story.
Your cat will paw at your face to wake you up for various reasons. If your cat isn’t typically affectionate, it’s most likely pawing at you because it wants food.
However, your cat may also want to play, want some affection, or just want your attention.
If waking up to your cat pawing at you is frustrating, figuring out why it’s waking you up is the first step to solving the problem. From there, you can buy toys or take measures to keep your cat busy at night, depending on why your cat is trying to wake you.
- Wikipedia: Crepuscular animal
- Animal Planet: Why do cats knead?
- PetMD: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
- Animal Path: Why Does My Cat Put His Paw On My Face?
- Animal Path: Is My Cat Bored?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.