Curled up, stretched out or with its fluffy tail in its face, no one can deny that your cat is sure to be a true sleep “professional”. Spending more than half a day asleep, our feline companions can be considered among the animals that spend the most hours asleep.
There are only two other species that sleep more than your feline friend, and these are possums and bats.
Read on to find out why cats sleep a lot , and how you can help your cat sleep better.
You may be interested in reading the following article: My cat snores when sleeping. It is normal?
How much does a cat sleep?
You cannot establish the hours of sleep they need, as with people, this depends on the needs of each cat .
Cats that live inside our homes and barely go outside are less active. Therefore, the amount of time they need to rest will be much less.
On the other hand, there would be stray cats that have to hunt or find different ways to feed. In this way, they consume much more energy and need to replace it with sleep.
To put it simply: the more active the feline is, the more hours of sleep it will need to recover. On average, adult cats tend to sleep between 14 and 16 hours a day.
“Older” cats and 2-month-old kittens can sleep up to 20 hours.
The adult cat is only lightly dozing for 75% of that time, the remaining 25% are in the deepest stages of sleep. “Older” cats and kittens spend much more hours sleeping, and 40-60% of those hours are very deep sleep.
How do cats sleep?
Cats, like humans, experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep . The REM stage is where most dreams occur, although some also occur in the non-REM stage. Non-REM dreams are more fragmentary and less visual.
Cats go from slow wave to REM sleep like humans and other mammals, but the time they spend in each stage, as well as the entire sleep cycle, is much shorter.
Cats spend approximately 6 minutes in REM sleep , while humans will spend between 90 and 120 minutes. The amount of REM sleep will decrease as they get older.
The dreams of felines do not differ much from ours, they also dream about the things of their daily life: playing, stalking prey, etc.
Outside of REM sleep, most of the time they are in a kind of light sleep where their nose and ears remain alert, ready to wake up at any time to hunt or protect themselves.
Why do cats sleep so much?
- Cats were once great hunters
In the past, the ancestors of cats spent their time stalking, chasing and killing their prey. For the past thousands of years, when cats have been domesticated, they have not had to use their ability to hunt. After the energy-intensive hunt, the cats would need a few days off to recover and prepare for the next one.
Therefore, today’s cats have in their DNA that instinct to hunt and, apparently, the need to sleep accompanies them.
- Weather can change your cat’s need for sleep
Have you ever noticed that when it’s sunny and hot on the street, you tend to have more energy? And on cold, cloudy and gloomy days do you have a little less?
Your cat feels the same way. Studies show that, regardless of the age, breed or normal disposition of cats, on rainy and winter days cats sleep a lot , being more likely to seek the comfort of your sofa or want your cat to sleep with you on the bed.
So next time it’s raining and windy outside, I advise you to do what your cat does and take a nap.
- Older cats need more sleep
If you’ve had your cat for many years, you may have noticed that as he gets older, he requires more sleep. While young cats sleep 12 to 14 hours a day, researchers have shown that as cats get older, they can sleep up to 20 hours a day.
Older cats do not run, nor do they expend as much energy as when young. And that’s because they’ve learned over the years that it takes them longer to recover, so they’ve gotten good at conserving their energy.
- Cats aren’t always asleep.
Another thing to consider, is how do they sleep? Of the time cats spend sleeping, about three-quarters could be called dozing . In that state, cats can get all the rest they need, but are still alert enough to wake up at any moment.
You can tell when your cat is in a light sleep by because his ears twitch and turn sideways and his eyes open a little. Even when sitting upright, cats can be in that sleep mode.
- Cats get bored
It should come as no surprise that cats, just like humans, can get bored. A bored cat sleeps more, those who have nothing to do tend to be lazy, this makes them sleepy and take more naps throughout the day.
Provide your cat with plenty of cat toys to use around the house. Some toys are battery powered and move automatically. These toys mimic the movements of a mouse or other prey that your cat can chase. Having another “cat companion” can be another way to ease your cat’s boredom and keep him more active during the day.
- Obese cats need more energy
Obese cats need much more energy than cats that have a balanced weight . The extra pounds of a cat make it slower and, therefore, they are responsible for not wanting to move anymore. This determines that the cat is, in general, less active, so it becomes lazy and sleeps longer.
To increase the energy level of that cat and reduce its weight, it is necessary to put it on a cat diet. These foods contain more fiber and fewer calories than traditional food, making it easier for the cat to lose weight safely over time.
If you observe lethargic behavior on the part of your cat , along with extensive and unnatural sleeping patterns, your cat may definitely have a health problem. Although it is normal for cats to sleep 14 to 16 hours per day, if the other 10 to 8 hours are not used to deplete the energy they have gained from sleeping so much, you should consult a vet.
Five tips to help your cat sleep better
- Feed your cat a healthy diet
Cheaper foods tend to contain fewer nutrients. As a result, your cat will be less playful and more lethargic. Feed your cat quality food to ensure a more restful sleep.
- Give your cat plenty of play time
Cats like to play. If you don’t give them what they want, don’t be surprised when they wake you up at 2:00 at night biting your face. You can keep them busy during the day with cat toys or you can play with him, this will help improve your relationship with him.
- Make a firm decision about inviting your cat to your bed
If you choose to let your cat sleep with you, as 62% of cat owners do, get a mattress large enough and with decent motion insulation so that you won’t wake up to your cat’s movements. Cats are also very territorial, so think hard and make sure you want to let him sleep with you. Once you allow the cats into your room, they won’t leave without making it difficult for you.
- Create the same environment every night that is recognizable to your cat
Cats thrive if you establish a daily routine , and they easily detect the cues regarding their owners’ daily activities. Create the same environment every time you go to bed. Your cat will recognize this environment and understand that it is time to sleep.
- Feed your cat at night
Try feeding your cat shortly before bedtime . We are all more likely to sleep after we have had a good meal.
It is evident thatcats sleep too much. It is for this and for other things, that they are increasingly widespread and preferred pets; they do not require the same amount of attention as dogs.
Cats are “lazy,” to put it simply. They sleep out of boredom, but you shouldn’t be too worried about it. It is natural and normal for your feline friend to sleep for most of the day ; this is how you get your energy back.
What you should keep in mind is if your cat sleeps a lot and does not play or eat little, because it may be sick, you already know that cats are “experts” in hiding diseases and pain.
The thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t try to wake them up. This is important. Respect their natural sleep patterns.
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