Cats are known for their innate ability to rest long hours. Unlike many other mammals, they tend to sleep most of the day and become extremely active only for a few hours a day. Interestingly, cats are able to fall asleep almost everywhere and at all times. Have you ever seen a video presenting a cat sleeping in a cardboard box, vase, bowl, or sink? What is the reason for their sleeping habits? Do their sleeping patterns change with age? Are they lazy, or is this behavior simply encoded in their genes?
How long do cats sleep?
It is estimated that kitties sleep roughly twice as long as humans. While an average cat would sleep around 15 hours a day, some of the biggest nappers are able to doze for as many as 20 hours a day! This is a whole lot of time compared to us, humans, who usually spend around 8 hours in bed. Interestingly, the need for sleep in cats changes with their age. Newborn kittens are able to sleep for 90% of the time, which is almost 22 hours a day. The same applies to older cats, who need a longer regeneration time after each activity. Their sleeping schedule can involve up to 20 hours of napping a day.
What are cat’s sleep patterns?
Although many kitties disrespect our sleeping schedule and are active when you sleep, they are not nocturnal animals. Cats are crepuscular, which means that they usually stay awake at dusk and dawn, when they tend to release the energy they accumulated while relaxing. Why don’t they sleep in the early morning and twilight hours? The sources of such behavior can be traced in their history as hunters. In the past, cats used to hunt at these two specific times of the day and rest during the main daytime and nighttime hours. Today’s cat’s sleep cycle reflects their habits from the previous centuries.
The main reasons cats nap
As crepuscular animals, kitties tend to catnap a lot during the daytime. However, it doesn’t explain why they need so much sleep. Let’s now focus on some theories explaining why cats need to sleep for at least a dozen hours per day.
Your cat sleeps to conserve energy
A cat’s daily cycle is completely different from those of other pets. Cats tend to either get extremely active or completely passive. Like many other natural predators, they accumulate energy while sleeping. Once they are relaxed and their batteries are recharged, they focus all their energy on hunting or playing.
Maybe they are not actually sleeping
Although it may seem that your cat is in a deep sleep most of the day, the reality may be different. Many cats have a light sleep and therefore need more time to relax. When cats rest, they stay alert, and even a minor sound or movement can wake them up. You may think that your cat sleeps a lot because they have their eyes closed and are not moving, in fact, they may be awake and watching over you.
They may be bored
Many cat owners don’t realize that cats need constant stimulation in order to lead a happy life. When there is nothing to do, and you are not interested in your little buddy, they may decide to go to sleep to make time pass faster. If you suspect that your cat is lazy all day because of boredom, you should do your best to enrich their spare time. For instance, you can get them new toys or a special cat tree. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can give them a cardboard box, which will surely entertain them for at least some time.
Your cat feels insecure
Cats tend to sleep more when they are stressed and afraid of something. If your cat hides from the family, spends most of the time in solitude and darkness, gets anxious during storms, and is unable to cope with solitude, these may be symptoms of stress. Sleeping long hours can be a way your cat copes with it. If you assume that your cat is tensed and pressurized, better take them to the vet.
Your cat is sick
If your cat is sleeping more than usual, this may also be a symptom of a disease. Cats who don’t feel well usually hide and spend time in solitude. If your cat is almost invisible and doesn’t engage in interactions with you, they might be in pain. Remember that all irregularities in your cat’s behavior usually mean something – never ignore them.
Your kitty may be meteoropathic
Just like people, cats are sensitive to weather changes. Rainy and stormy days can make your cat sleepy. Domesticated cats usually nap more when days are miserable, cold, and full of precipitation. Once the weather makes you feel down, there is a huge possibility your cat feels the same way.
How much sleep is too much when it comes to felines?
You have already learned that it is normal for a cat to sleep a lot. However, is it possible for them to sleep too much? If your cat puts their head down for up to 16 hours a day, and you notice no disturbing symptoms in their behavior, there is no reason for concern. However, if you notice your cat presents a sudden change in their behavior, which alters their sleeping patterns, this may be a sign of an underlying disease. When cats are in normal sleep, they usually respond to you straight away. If you have trouble waking up your cat, an appointment with a veterinarian is a must.
Sleeping allows your cat to recharge their batteries. Having lots of lazy snoozes allows them to keep their immune system in good condition and promotes their overall health. If you think that your little feline friend catnaps longer than they should, and you envy these lazy sessions of doing nothing, first look at your daily schedule – perhaps it is you who is not getting enough rest.
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