Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
There's nothing cuter than seeing your sweet cat curled up in a tight ball, paws over his eyes, taking a quick "cat nap." Sometimes it may feel like your little furball is napping all day long. So why do cats sleep so much? If you think your kitty's sleeping an extra-long time, you're not imagining things. Cats tend to be most active at dusk and dawn, but they can still sleep 15 hours a day or more. This is a lot more than an average person sleeps every day. The reason your cat sleeps a lot is that he's saving up his energy for big hunts or playtimes with you.
Cats Have a Different Sleep Schedule
Cats have a unique sleep schedule compared to humans. Technically they're crepuscular, which means they're most active during the dusk and dawn hours.1 This is their natural sleep rhythm because these are the best times for hunting.
If you want your cat to sleep when you do, here's a trick: try playing with your cat right before you go to bed, followed by a little snack. This can help tire your cat so she sleeps more while you're asleep. A heated bed placed near your bed can also tempt her to sleep when you do. Your cat might even adjust her sleep schedule to yours just because she likes lying on you while you're both asleep.
Cats Can Sleep 15 Hours a Day or More
How long do cats sleep? While humans tend to sleep eight to nine hours a day on average, a cat may sleep 15 hours a day or more.2 On occasion, some may even sleep 20 hours a day! Cats sleep so much because they're building up their energy reserves for big spurts of play, chasing, or hunting. Catching prey requires immense amounts of energy expended in a short period of time.3 Sleeping a lot helps them prepare for those moments they love so much. If your cat chases you or a toy around the house, this can mimic hunting and satisfy his natural instincts.
If your cat seems to be sleeping even more than usual, though, it doesn't hurt to check with a veterinarian. A bored cat or a sick kitty might sleep more. If you think your cat is bored, you can do a lot to alleviate boredom. Set up window beds for "cat TV" and cat trees and condos for climbing and exploring. You can also put out cat scratchers and interactive toys. Give your cat lots of one-on-one attention like clicker training, chasing a feather wand, and other fun activities.
They Have Stages of Sleep Just Like People
Cats have different stages of sleep like people do, including REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.4 REM sleep is when people dream, and cats may dream too. You may see your cat moving his paws, whiskers, and tail during REM sleep. Maybe he's dreaming about catching a mouse or playing with you!
Cats tend to sleep in shorter but frequent naps rather than one long eight-hour shift like people do. Much of the time they're sleeping pretty lightly so they can jump up and be ready for action if they hear a noise or the sounds of prey. This is why you might see your cat leap up and start chasing a nearby bug when he looked like he was sound asleep just moments before.
The next time you see your kitty curled up in a little ball, fast asleep during the day, remember that he's saving up his energy for a big playtime with you later. If you play with him right before bedtime, you might even convince him to snuggle down with you when you're going to sleep.
- Jones, Meghan. "Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?" Reader's Digest, https://www.rd.com/advice/pets/why-do-cats-sleep-so-much/.
- Cespedes, Yahaira. "Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?" PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/cat/behavior/evr_ct_why_do_cats_sleep_so_much.
- Johnson-Bennett, Pam. "Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?" Cat Behavior Associates, https://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/why-do-cats-sleep-so-much/.
- National Sleep Foundation. "Sleep Habits of Cats." Sleep.org, https://www.sleep.org/articles/cats-sleep-habits-2/.