Cats seem to sleep a lot, but how many hours a day do cats sleep: is it as many as we think, and if so, why do they sleep so much. While the average cat sleeps around 12 – 16 hours each day, some cats can sleep as much as 20 hours. So why do they sleep so much? Here are some answers.
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Cats Are Predators at Night
Fundamentally, cats are predators. They are at their most active from early evening till dawn. For that reason, they tend to sleep most of the daylight hours and tend to want out at night. This may seem surprising to those who have their first cat but is totally natural for a cat. No matter how domesticated a household cat is, its instinct is to lurk around silently at night waiting to pounce on its prey. Cats can expend a great deal of energy doing this, and need sleep to recover and get ready for another day, or night, of seeking, stalking, climbing and pouncing. They can nap or fall into a deep sleep. While napping they are ready in an instant to waken and pounce.
How Cats Sleep: REM and Non-REM Sleep
A cat can be in deep sleep for 5 minutes or so and then go back to just dozing. For these 5 minutes, it can experience REM and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is when their energy levels are being replenished. It then continues its dozing-deep sleep cycle until it wakes up ready for action. Domesticated cats have never lost their hunting instincts. However, the older a cat becomes, the more it tends to sleep. Kittens also tend to sleep longer than adult cats.
Cats sleep longer when the weather is bad. On a rainy day or night, cats will tend to sleep more. This may be connected to low air pressure, though the exact mechanism has not been established. This is true even if your cute kitty is predominantly a house cat (there is no such thing as a cute kitty to a mouse.)
A Cat’s Sleeping Behavior Can Depend On Its Love For Its Owner
There are times when a cat tends to change this behavior and it may appear to stay awake more during the day. Because they are sociable creatures and like a company, they may regard you as their friend and change its sleeping habits so it is awake during at least part of the day so it can be with you – its friend! Cats can come to love their owners, and also get used to their feeding times which may not normally be natural to them. It then adjusts its waken hours to fit in with when you feed it.
Normally, in daylight and during the darkest hours of the nights, your feline friend may be less active because that is when larger and dangerous predators may be lying in wait for them. It may sleep then and become active towards dawn and also at dusk when there is sufficient light for its amazingly adaptable eyes. So even if you put kitty out for the night, it may hunt about for only part of it, and sleep the darkest hours in a convenient shed.
How Much Sleep do Cats Need
There is no fixed figure that can be applied to how much sleep cats need. It depends on the individual cat: how active it is and how it hunts, its state of health, its breed, size, and age. Also where it lives: a cat confined to an apartment all day may sleep a lot because of boredom and a lack of activity, not because they have a need to sleep.
Cats that hunt for food, however, expend much more energy and its sleep cycle has to replenish that expended energy. So the more active the cat, the more it will sleep. The average country or alley cat will sleep 12 – 16 hours a day, and apartment cats that are rarely out of the house may sleep up to 20 hours a day – not to replace energy, but because it is bored with nothing else to do but ruin your furniture!
How Many Hours a Day Do Cats Sleep: Frequently Asked Questions
Cats tend to sleep for 12 – 16 hours a day. Some for longer. Cats tend to sleep longer when they are bored and don’t get enough play or time outside. Make sure your cat has toys to play with and she is not overweight. Don’t overfeed your cat, and perhaps a leaner diet might improve its energy levels, particularly if your cat if fat! However, if the animal appears more lethargic or sleepier than it normally does, then get your cat checked out by a vet. It may have anemia or even feline arthritis. Your cat cannot tell you, and it’s up to you to find out what is wrong.
Yes, they appear to. You can see their eyes moving in REM sleep which indicates they are dreaming. They also twitch their paws and whiskers and appear to be following a dream they are having. They are known to go through REM and non-REM sleep phases. Obviously, they can’t tell us what they are dreaming about, but their owners and mice could. Like humans, they experience the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. The REM stage is where most dreaming occurs, although some do happen in the non-REM stage as well. Non-REM dreams are more fragmentary and less visual. Cats cannot tell you what they dream about, but birds and mice surely play a large part.
It seems like they can. One story we heard about was a cat that would wake up suddenly, looking very frightened. This was particularly on stormy nights with the wind blowing outside. The cat had obviously been abused when the owner acquired it, and it is possible that the cat had been locked outside in bad weather. Somehow it associated a stormy night with something bad and was displaying this behavior while asleep.
No! Never waken your cat up when he or she is sleeping. It is likely to react badly and either go for you or scratch you. Let sleeping cats lie is not a saying for fun – it is to prevent you from being attacked by what you consider to be a pet, but the cat considers to be an independent creature who tolerates humans in its domain – even though that domain is your own house!
Yes, snoring is normal with some breeds of cats. Short-nosed cats such as Himalayans, Persians, and Exotic Shorthairs will snore due to their flat faces. This can lead to breathing difficulties.
‘The zoomies’ are when a cat chases its tail round and round and round at high speed. It might also dash about the house, or between a sofa and a chair, jumping onto one then zooming across the room to jump on another. Cats do this to work off excess energy, particularly if they haven’t been out for a while. Many owners keep their kitty indoors too much, so they don’t get to work off their excess energy enough!
So how many hours a day do cats sleep? Cats sleep a lot more than humans or dogs do, and there are perfectly good reasons for that. Predators and hunters can expend a lot of energy catching their prey, and when not in their natural environment cats will expend a lot of their excess energy just dashing around. They are not like dogs and do not need walking regularly: they look after themselves and are very independent creatures.
But why do they sleep so much? Don’t worry if your cat seems to sleep a lot. Many domestic cats may never hunt, particularly town cats, while others who live in a more rural area might hunt a lot. Many cats will sleep a lot because they are bored, and others because they have expended a lot of energy. There is nothing to worry about – it is natural for your feline friend to sleep most of the day. That’s how they were made!
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