Cats sniff your face at night to check that you are alive! I was the first to suggest this.

Years ago, I suggested that at least some domestic cats sniff their owner’s face at night to check that they are still alive! Click this link to read that page.

Cat sniffing their owner
Cat sniffing their owner at night. Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I wrote this at the time (about 6 years ago to the day):

My firm impression is that cats sniff our face while we sleep to seek reassurance that we are there and are still with them. They will see us sleeping but they want that extra reassurance that we are there. They may also be seeking reassurance that we are alive. Don’t forget that cats are active at night. We might be fast asleep. We might give the impression that we are no longer living or at least totally inactive which raises a question mark in the cat’s mind as to what is going on.

I can’t add much to that. My impression is that domestic cats regard us as their surrogate feline mothers. Yes, we are very large compared to them but they don’t question this. They accept it. And we are not covered in fur but they accept this unquestioningly too which is why it bemuses them when we are so unnaturally inactive at a time – 4 in the morning (dawn) – when we are meant to be at our most active. This warrants a check to see if there is something wrong with us even to the point that we might have passed away.

The reason why I am re-addressing this topic is because Giles Coren, The Times comment journalist, lists the things that most please him. One of these activities is:

Waking in the middle of the night because the cat has come to check I am still alive…I read it in a cat manual somewhere.

No, you didn’t. You read that on my website 6 years ago as I was the first person on the planet to suggest this as one possible reason for this feline behavior. Only he writes about being woken. My suggestion refers to cats sniffing us. A difference.

Cats wake us up at 4 am because they want us awake to interact with us. And to check we are alive!! lol. They want some fresh food perhaps and/or some TLC (tender loving care). There is a similar amount of feline bemusement. Why are we so abnormal, they ask themselves!

Think I am mad? Disagree strongly? Tell me in a comment!

How does your cat wake you in the morning?

2 thoughts on “Cats sniff your face at night to check that you are alive! I was the first to suggest this.”

  1. I use a Cpap machine,which exhales air constantly. Nearly every night before I fall asleep, my Dulcie comes to check me out, spending about 30 seconds sniffing my exhalation.


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