Revealed: Why do cats sleep so much?

Revealed: Why do cats sleep so much?

Saying cats love to snooze would be a huge understatement. As a proud cat owner, I can confirm even as I write this article, my cat is snuggling next to me. Needless to say, cats sleep so much, and you will find them cosily resting almost the entire day.

But wait, aren’t they active at night? Well, most of them. You’ve probably heard the night cat howls that can keep anyone up at night.

Cats by nature, tend to sleep away their daytime hours since they are crepuscular; sleep away their days and active at night. Your feline friend will spend the day curling up and catching that snooze on a comfy space or taking a lazy sun-bask. Cats sleep for an average of 16-20 hours per day, depending on the cat’s age.

Why do cats sleep so much?

In the wild, the cat family sits at the top of the food chain with one of them being the king of the jungle (lion) explaining why they can easily find time for resting. They are not afraid of being prey while asleep since they are predators.

When they spend their day sleeping and lazying around, they’ll definitely be hungry at night prompting them to hunt. Hunting requires a lot of energy; energy that they cleverly saved up during the day when they slept! After a protein-packed meal, these cats will take that much-needed rest and sleep, time to digest and reward their bodies for catching prey.

Sleeping also give cats time to recharge and rest in preparation for the next hunt.

This behaviour does not exclude indoor cats. However, outdoor cats sleep for fewer hours compared to indoor cats, but that is because the indoor hunt does not hunt!

Even if you feed your indoor cat, they still retain this ancestral trait and spend most of her time taking a cat nap. Talking of cat naps, felines have this fantastic ability where they can sleep and remain present and alert at the same time. In such cases, the rests usually are short and lasting anywhere between 5 to thirty minutes.

Whenever a cat is taking a nap, their instincts are still on high alert of its surroundings, including prey. You may observe this through a cat that falls asleep while still standing; sometimes, the ears may twitch reacting to sounds in the environment. Nothing to worry about, it’s normal. According to the Animal Emergency Center, cats dedicate 3/4 of their snooze time to light sleeping while 1/4 is for deep sleep.

You can test this out by speaking to your cat when sleeping or doing an exciting activity. You’ll notice your little friend will quickly become active and follow along.

Is it normal for cats to sleep all the time?

Cats need sleep to function. Dreamland seems like their ultimate paradise as they will take every chance to catch that nap. From the mighty king of the jungle to your lovely fluffball, cats can’t resist sleep.

Humans also love to stay in bed, especially on cold days, and this is no different from cats. They also love to take that snooze, and on cold rainy days, the sleep will be more.

However, in some hot weather conditions, cats choose to sleep as a cooling strategy. While other animals might survive with 8 sleeping hours or less and still manage to deal with the excess heat, trust a cat to choose the most comfortable way out!

It is abnormal if cats DO NOT sleep every time.

tips for raising a friendly cat

Signs to look out for if you suspect your cat’s sleep

Although cats sleep a lot, extra napping is an indication of a sick cat. If you notice either of these signs, time to visit the vet.

  • Does not respond to stimuli (walking in and out of the room, strange sounds, preparing cat meal sounds)
  • Has discomfort laying down or waking up.
  • A change in the cat’s regular sleeping pattern.
  • Changes in socialization and cat activity.

How many hours are cats supposed to sleep?

Cats sleep for an average of 16-20 hours per day. However, the timeframe varies depending on the cat’s age and health.

Kittens and older cats will most likely hit the 20 hours per day sleeping time while the average adult cat will go for an average of 15-16 hours sleep. During their younger days, kittens, just like human babies, will sleep more as they grow and develop their body. However, as they approach ‘teenagehood’ expect a change in the cat’s sleeping patterns. A teenage cat will sleep for fewer hours as they become more active. This sleeping pattern will extend to adulthood.

As the cat approaches becoming a senior cat, the feline will sleep for more hours just like the kitten. Their sleep will also be more in-depth compared to a teenage cat’s rest.

Expect your cat to sleep for longer hours during the cold or rainy season as they try to warm themselves up.

CAT AGE Maximum sleep hours Minimum sleep hours
Kitten 22 20
Teenager 17 14
Adult 20 12
Senior cat 20 18

Related: How to tell your cat’s age.

Do cats sleep at night?

By nature, cats are more active at night since they are crepuscular. This means that they are come alive at night and are reluctant during the day. This has helped them survive in the wild and before domestication.

You’ve probably noticed your cat is always active during the wee hours of the morning and late at night. You might not like it, but your cat is simply being a cat! My fluffball is always tripping me when I wake up to get that morning cup of tea, and for some time, it bothered me until I got used to it.

Tip: Whenever your cat is not sleeping, take advantage of that time to play with your fluffball. This way, you can both have a good night sleep. 

Sometimes, when a cat is on heat, she will howl (caterwaul) all night keeping you and your neighbours up all night. The sound is meant to lure and direct the male cats to where she is. Having experienced this before, I must admit, it’s not pleasant. Check out these facts before you decide to spay your feline friend.

Why do cats sleep on you/next to you?

Cat owners are probably used to this; waking up and finding your feline friend curled up next to you snoozing away. Trust a cat to chose where they want to take their precious nap. If you’ve experienced this before, this is what it means:

  • Your cat loves you and wants to be around you.
  • Your cat trusts you can’t hurt them during their vulnerable state as they sleep.
  • The cat would like to keep you warm and share their body warmth with you.
  • The feline thinks you’re a comfortable spot they could sleep on/next to.
  • The cat feels safe sleeping next to you.

A combination of these factors makes your cat deem you worthy of sharing their sleep next to/on you. Cats are very choosy, and if they picked you, then they love you. Check out some other signs that your cat loves you.

Related: Signs your cat loves you

What are some of your cat’s sleeping habits? Let me know in the comment section below!


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