If you have a pet, then everything about them should concern you, and this includes their sleep. Cats are considered the experts when it comes to sleeping, and if there were a prize for best sleepers, they would absolutely win. They are ready at any point in time to lay down and take a catnap. Just like humans, they also have a required amount of sleep to stay healthy, and they do not joke with it. It is easy to assume it is normal how much your cat is sleeping, and it might be. However, there’re a lot of exciting reasons behind the behavior that will help you keep track of your cat’s sleep and detect when it becomes abnormal. The amount of sleep they get depends on several factors, including age, mood, and health. In fact, cats spend most of their life taking naps alongside bats and opossums, and rightly so because it contributes to their well being. This article takes an in-depth look into the sleeping lives of cats, giving you answers to the questions: How many hours a day do cats sleep? And why do cats sleep so much? There will also be information on when it becomes abnormal, and a vet visit is required.
Things to Know About Cat’s Sleep
- Cats Sleep Twice As Much As Humans
A specific number cannot be put to how much sleep a cat needs, but on average, they spend about 13 to 16 hours sleeping. They can even sleep up to 20 hours a day out of the 24 hours, depending on certain factors. For example, kittens will sleep more than adult cats since they do not have much to do. The truth is, sometimes, your cat is sleeping mainly because it is bored, rather than it needs a nap. So, per this logic, indoor cats will also sleep more than ‘wild’ cats that have hunting and other activities to do. You might think cats are lazy creatures, but they are just laid back animals who prefer to be calm at all times.
- Cats are Crepuscular Creatures
Biologically, cats are programmed to be more active during the wee hours of the morning, which is the reason why they’re crepuscular and not nocturnal. More giant cats like lions are evidence of this behavior, and the trait exists in house cats despite their domestication. They are natural predators, and they like to hunt, especially when it is dark due to their sharp night vision. Don’t be surprised when you bring in a new kitten, and you hear it inspecting every nook and cranny of the house while you’re asleep. After the activity, they will lay down when the sun is out to take a nap. For you, the owner, it will not make sense to you why your cat is so geared up when the sun is down. It’s nothing but their biological clock live in action, and you’d also be active at that time if you spent most of your day sleeping.
- Cats Don’t Sleep That Deep
When you see a cat lying down still, you should think twice before touching it because it might not be deeply asleep. The predatory instinct in these creatures will not allow them to let their guard down for even a second. They’re always on the alert, and so most of the rest time is spent ‘snoozing,’ and it’s for this reason that it’s called a catnap. According to research, cats spend only 25% of their nap time sleeping deeply, while the other 75% is snoozing. You can tell if your cat is snoozing by observing their eyes and ears. If their eyes are slightly open and their ears twitching when there is a sound, they are probably still very alert. They can spring up into action at any moment.
- Cats Can Snore
Snoring is not peculiar to just humans, so do not be so surprised when you hear those sounds from your cat when it is asleep. Snoring in cats usually occurs when there is an obstruction in their airway. This blockage is likely to be caused by a skin close to the soft palate. It is perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about. All cats bound to snore at least once in their lifetimes, but some breeds like the Persian and Himalayan cats are more prone to it. This is partly because of their short noses or brachycephalic and is an entirely normal phenomenon.
- Cats Dream Too
If cats can snore, then dreaming should not be a far fetched idea. Cats dream just like humans, and they can vary from bad to good. You can tell your cat is dreaming when their whiskers are twitching, and their paws are moving like they are walking. Sometimes their bodies move like they are pouncing on smaller prey like crickets and mice. When their eyes are not moving, they are in the non-Rapid Eye Movement, and this is where their bodies heal from earlier activity. It is during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) that they have these dreams they cannot tell you about.
- Age Is A Factor in How Much Your Cat Sleep
How old a cat is can play a role in how much sleep it will have in a day. Kittens will sleep more than adult cats because they do not have much to do except eating. As they grow, their sleeping patterns change until adulthood, where it becomes relatively stable. During adolescence, they have a lot of energy to move around out of curiosity, and so sleep time might become irregular. At adulthood, your cat has seen all it needs to see, and so the sleep becomes regular. At this stage, if it rests for about 15 hours a day, then that is how much sleep it needs. At a very old age, cats will go back to sleeping more since they are getting old, and their energy is depleting.
- Lovely Weather Also Enhances Their Sleep
Basically, the sleep behavior of cats is due to their biology and instinct, but sometimes other factors are involved. Not that sleep behavior will also differ from cat to cat, but there are some factors that all cats share experiences in. Humans are not the only species that like to cuddle up in rainy weather. Cats also embrace the coolness that comes with the rain, and they will take advantage of the weather to take a nap. The rain has a way of putting you to bed and so don’t be surprised if your cat wants a piece of the action.
When Is It Abnormal?
Your cat sleeping for most of the day should not surprise you. But how can you tell when there is a problem with your cat from their sleep pattern? You can tell if the number of hours it sleeps per day is gone too high or too low. When it is sleeping more than usual, it might be lethargic, meaning it has become fragile. This condition is accompanied by excessive inactivity and is a cause for concern. It may be an indication of an underlying disease like arthritis, lack of exercise, stress, or depression. It may also be due to more severe illnesses like diabetes and bacterial infections. If your cat is sleeping less, it might be in pain and needs to be examined. However, not all changes in sleep behavior are cause for alarm. For example, a cat might take more naps if you lay its litter box with fresh cat litter to have an excellent rest. Everybody loves to lie down on a new clean bed, and cats are no different. Also, your cat will sleep less when you reduce its diet portions in an attempt to control its weight.
How Can You Make Your Cat’s Sleep Better at Night?
With all the movement when it is dark, how long do cats sleep at night? As already established, cats are most active when the sun is down, especially at dawn and dusk. This means that they do not sleep much at night, and it is when you are asleep that they are active. This behavior stems from their predatory nature, and so it is normal. However, because house cats are domesticated, they are adaptive and so their sleep patterns can change. There are some tricks and tips you can use to help your cat sleep more at night so that you are not disturbed.
One tip that works well is feeding cats close to the evening to help them be more relaxed. Cats like to lay down after they have had a full meal and so you can use this as a strategy to keep them calm. Always make sure the food is a balanced, healthy diet as it contributes to them having a healthy sleep. A healthy meal consists of all the nutrients needed to give it a more restful sleep. A healthy diet can also interfere with your cat’s natural instinct to be awake all night so that you can enjoy your rest better.
Keeping your cat busy during the day is another way to keep them asleep all night. It is doing the opposite of what their biology teaches them to do, making them more sleepy at night. You can do this by getting your cat a lot of playtime during the day with different toys and activities. Make sure to tire them out with all the action so that when night falls, all they’ll want to do is sleep. Cats already like to play, and so it will not be difficult engaging them. The toys will still be useful when they wake up at night since it will keep them occupied while you sleep. You can find toys that are quiet and specially designed for nighttime play to keep your pet busy. Check out our guide on the best cat toys for more info.
Since you now know that cats take their sleep very seriously, getting them a proper cat bed will also help in enhancing their sleep. Some of the best cat beds have features that support your cat’s body in a way that makes rest more enjoyable for them. Some of these features include an orthopedic foamy inner layer, a velvety texture, a non-skid bottom, and some quality stuffing. For additional luxury, you can get a heated cat bed, which will make your cat cuddle up for a long time. Not only will it sleep for long, but it will also be comfortable and peaceful. Investing in a good cat bed is a step in the right direction to making sure your cat is sleeping well. When getting the bed consider the cat’s preference in terms of elements like the design. Some cats prefer beds with high walls that they can rest their chin while others prefer simple short beds. Some also prefer one with a hood so they can have some privacy. The location of the bed can also determine how often the cat will use the bed and how well it will sleep. A prime location will be in a dry, airy area void of dirt and foul smell.
It is not weird to be curious about the reasons for your cat’s behavior, including their sleep. Sometimes their sleeping pattern can give you useful information about their overall general wellbeing, including illnesses that do not have obvious symptoms. Cats are considered as the sleepers of the animal kingdom mainly because they spend most of their lives in a resting position. You cannot really blame them since we have seen that their biology is mostly responsible for this. Even though they are domesticated, the primal behavior is still within them as a backup for when they would need it. Even in their calm state, they can always tell what is going on around them and think twice before assuming they are fast asleep. Cats can sleep for about 13 to 16 hours a day, but it also varies from cat to cat. The fact that they sleep so much doesn’t also mean they cannot oversleep. Pay close attention to how much your cat sleeps and report to the vet anytime the pattern changes drastically. Note that if your cat is happy and healthy, you would also have some level of relief and eventually happiness.