Cats spend more time sleeping than being awake. But, like most animals, they don’t sleep for more than about an hour or so at a time. They wake up for a few minutes and then go right back to sleep. During a twenty-four hour period, cats will sleep anywhere from thirteen to twenty hours in total, depending on their age, size and personality. The only other animals known to sleep this much are bats and opossum.
This question isn’t limited to domestic cats. Cats in the wild have the same penchant for sleep as your little furry friend at home. However, sleep patterns of wild cats are more easily explained. Cats that have to hunt for their food, must hunt when the prey is out, which is usually at dusk and dawn. Since hunting involves at lot of intense activity, cats need to be fully rested in order to catch their prey.
But, domestic cats don’t have to hunt. So, why do they need to sleep so much? Maybe their need for sleep is so deeply rooted in their system that instincts naturally prevent them from staying awake for more than a short period at a time. The term “cat nap” comes from the sleeping habits of cats, which means short, frequent naps instead of a solid eight hours per a twenty-four hour period.
Many cat owners think that their cats are awake all night because they sleep so much during the day, and because they see their cats wide awake early in the morning. In fact, the cat has slept much of the night and has just barely woken up. Cats are the most active in the wee hours of the morning and shortly after the sun goes down. It is these early morning risings that frustrate owners the most because this is the time of day when cats like to eat.
Just like their wild counterparts, instincts tell them that first thing in the morning is feeding time. And that is one of the main reasons many cat owners invest in automatic pet feeders. Pet feeders ensure your cat is fed on time, and you get a few extra hours of sleep. Plus, you never have to worry about your cat overeating because the feeder is portion controlled.
Another reason cats wake up so early in the morning is the sun. Because cats are crepuscular animals, they tell time by the sun. If you want your cat to sleep longer in the morning, try hanging heavy curtains over the windows to keep out the morning sunrise.
Sleeping Patterns of Domestic Cats
Most domestic cats live indoors. This limits the amount of space they have to roam around and the amount of activities they can do. When their owners are away most of the day, cats get bored. Of course, some of the sleeping they do is to replenish their system, but since they aren’t very active, the majority of their sleep is just plain boredom. This is especially true for only cats that don’t have any playmates.
If you notice that your cat is staying up most of the night, try keeping it more active during the day or in the evening. Spend some quality playtime together and make sure the cat has plenty of interactive toys to keep it occupied during the day.
Most cats have a particular sleep schedule. Many factors can cause this schedule to change. If you notice any changes in your cat’s sleeping habits, like sleeping considerably more or not as much, there could be any underlying condition that should be checked out by your veterinarian. It could be an indication of an illness or disease.
Excessive sleepiness or loss of appetite may be signs of illness. When your cat is sleeping less than usual, the problem could be related to a hyperthyroid condition. A hyperthyroid condition means that excessive thyroid hormones are shooting through the cat’s metabolism, which prevents it from getting enough sleep.
Cats Are Nappers
Cats don’t sleep a solid sixteen hours straight. Actually, cats never really fall into a deep sleep at all. Their instincts as a predator keep them alert, even when they appear to be sleeping. The short naps are because they are constantly waking up to check out their surroundings. Cats aren’t watch dogs, but they make sure to always keep a close eye on everything that is going on around them.
Kittens sleep much more than fully grown cats. This is partially because they are developing and partially because when they are awake, they are extremely active, always running, jumping and playing with their litter-mates. Gradually the kittens begin to take on the sleeping patterns of adult cats.
Do Cats Dream When They Sleep?
Although it has never been scientifically proven, ask any pet owner if cats and dogs dream, and they will definitely say yes! Cats twitch their paws, almost as if they are running in their dreams. You will also notice them wiggle their whiskers and move their eyes as if they are staking prey or getting ready to pounce.
Cats can sleep just about anywhere. They find a cozy spot and curl up for a nap. As long as the the spot is warm and comfortable, a cat can stay there for hours. So, why do cats sleep so much? Cats sleep out of boredom, to rejuvenate their bodies and because it is part of their natural instinct – that is just how cats are made.