Sleep is a central activity in your feline companion’s life, and cats rack up more sleep hours than most other mammals.
In fact, adult cats will snooze for at least 15 hours a day, with kittens and older cats sleeping as much as 20 hours per day.
This means your furry friend spends about two-thirds of his life asleep. With all that snoozing, your cat’s sleep cycle can hold important clues for you about his or her health.
Though they sleep many hours, cats are generally light sleepers, and can go from sleeping to fully alert in seconds if touched or if there is a sudden noise.
This is thought to be due to their ancestral hunting instincts, which required them to always be on the lookout for predators.
You can tell when your cat is sleeping lightly because his or her ears will move gently, sometimes opening his or her eyes to check the surroundings before falling back asleep again in an instant.
Twitching during sleep is a normal part of the cat’s sleeping cycle, and occurs when he or she is dreaming. Just like human sleep, cat sleep has two main phases, REM sleep and non-REM sleep.
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REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and this is the lighter phase of your cat’s sleep, in which his or her eyes and limbs will move. It’s thought that REM sleep is when cats dream.
As your cat’s sleep transitions to the non-REM phase of heavier sleep, movement will stop, and it is at this time that your cat will get the most high-quality, restorative sleep. His or her body will repair muscles and cell damage, and non-REM sleep also helps with growth.
In general, cats are crepuscular by nature, meaning that they are active at dawn and dusk, sleeping during the middle of the day and the darker night time hours.
Cats adjust their sleeping habits around their feeding schedules; this is why indoor cats often sleep more than outdoor cats.
Just like people, cats will also sleep out of boredom, and they sleep more on rainy days or days with bad weather.
Cats are not picky about where they sleep, as long as it is comfortable and has the right temperature for them.
They like a lot of space to stretch out and love to be warm, so using a warming mat or blanket during the winter months can be helpful.
Sometimes, cats may sleep with their owners, or with other cats. This is an indication of their trust.
Excessive sleeping can indicate depression or other illnesses, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with your cat’s sleeping habits.
If you notice them sleeping more often than usual, be sure to mention this to your vet.