Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
9 December, 2014
Anyone who has owned a cat is dumbfounded, at first, by the amount of time our cats’ spend sleeping. In fact, cats sleep about twice as much as humans. Though their sleep hours may vary depending on their age, size and temperament, the average cats sleep about 13 – 16 hours per day or about two-thirds of their lives. The only other animals that sleep more than cats are bats and opossums.
Why do cats need so much sleep?
Cats’ penchant for sleep is still a mystery to all of us. However, one thing that can help us explain cats’ sleeping patterns is to understand that most of the cats are crepuscular animals which means active during dawn and dusk. Many cat owners assume that their cats are active at night because they are often awaken very early in the morning. The truth is that cats actually spend most of their night time sleeping.
Cats’ crepuscular nature comes from their hunting habit. Cats are natural predators that hunt for small animals such as rodents, birds or even bugs. Their prey is most active when the sun comes up in the morning and right before it goes down in the evening. When cats are not hunting, they take plenty of naps.
Cats’ love their daily naps
The first thing you should realize is that cats are most active between dusk and dawn, which means that they sleep mostly during the day and become active around twilight. This can come as quite a shock if you’re bringing a new kitty home for the first time. Your cat will waste no time investigating and getting into trouble usually while you’re fast asleep! But as soon your cat is done with breakfast, as the rest of the world winds up for action, you’ll find him winding down for a long day of slumber.
Cats sleep a lot to conserve energy
Cats have the physiology of a predator, meaning that they’re hardwired to chase and hunt at night. Large cats such as lions have a similar pattern of sleeping during the day and hunting at night. Although they have been domesticated for the most part, housecats still retain that wild streak. Even cats at play will display the feline primal instincts of creeping about in the shadows and, without a whisper of warning, pouncing on their target prey. Whether your kitty is hunting for outdoor prey or tackling a catnip toy, all that sleep he gets is reserve energy for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking.
Cats sleep in short cycles
Like humans, cats either doze in a light sleep or sleep very deeply. When your cat dozes (which lasts about fifteen minutes to a half hour), he will position his body so that he can spring up and into action at a moment’s notice.
During deep sleep, cats experience rapid (or quick) brain movement. Deep sleep tends to last about five minutes, after which the cat goes back to dozing. This dozing-deep sleep pattern goes on until the cat wakes up.
Even our cats are affected by weather
It should come as no surprise that felines are affected by the weather, just like us. Cat behavior can vary greatly, depending on their breed, age, temperament and overall health. But, whatever your kitty’s usual disposition, it has been observed that cats sleep more when the weather calls for it. Even if your kitty is an exclusive indoor-dweller, a rainy or cold day will have him (and probably you) yawning and looking for some shut-eye.
Cats are more active at night time
As mentioned above, cats are more active at night between dawn and dusk. They tend to lay low in the darker night-time and day-time hours, when other predators may be hanging about. Some cats may be active at night as well, especially when they’re kittens. But, cats are also sociable and highly adaptable. Cats will also adjust their sleep patterns to their feeding schedules, which is why an indoor cat sleeps more than a cat that roams outdoors.
Every cat has a sleep schedule that they’d like to stick with and are creatures of habit. If you have discovered a change in your cat’s sleeping habits such as sleeping excessively more or less, it may indicate a problem that needs to be checked out by a veterinarian.
Our cats do dream as they sleep
Cats are often seen to twitch their paws and whiskers, move their eyes as if they are running and pouncing on small critters in their dream. Cats also go through both Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and non-REM sleep where during non-REM sleep, they repair themselves and allow their body to grow.
Cats usually sleep wherever they want or are comfortable
Cats sleep in any places they feel fit or comfortable. The criteria they are looking for in a perfect napping spot is usually a soft, warm, comfortable and safe place. However, if the temperature is high, they prefer sleeping all stretched out. If the weather is cold, they will curl up, cover their face with their paws or even lie nearby a heat source. That explains why love leaning by a computer or anything that generates warmth during the winter time.
If you are a new cat owner and are worried that your cat sleeps all day, you can rest assured that this is normal. These adorable felines just love their sleep and certainly need it and when they are awake, watch out!