Cats are one of the top sleepers in the animal kingdom. However, this is not due to laziness or illness, as many people believe. It may seem like excessive sleeping, but it is in their nature to sleep, and it plays a vital role in their daily existence. In this article, you will find out the reasons why do cats sleep so much.
Why do cats sleep so much during the day?
Cats share the same sleeping patterns with their larger counterparts such as lions. They sleep a lot during the day because their body is hardwired to be active at night.
Our feline friends have also inherited the physiology of their large cousins. Although cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, they are still natural predators that hunt at night.
Once cats have fully rested during the day, their instinct to look for prey will kick in during the evening. That’s why they tend to have a lot of energy at night time. All the energy they have acquired from sleep is reserved for stalking, pouncing, climbing, and running after their cat toys.
Are cats nocturnal?
Felines are often thought of as nocturnal animals, but they are not. Cats are crepuscular. This means they sleep mostly during the day and become active in twilight hours and early morning. The sleeping habits of cats may come as a shock for new cat owners because they may cause quite a ruckus at night.
Fortunately, cats are quite adaptable to their surroundings. They will eventually be able to match their owners’ sleeping habits as they spend more time together.
Mealtime also helps cats adjust their sleep patterns. Serving a meal earlier at night and another meal near bedtime will make cats less likely to wake up their owners in the middle of the night. Using an automatic feeder is also a convenient way to help cats adjust to a new sleeping schedule.
What are the different types of sleep in cats?
Cats are not always in a deep slumber; sometimes, they have their “cat nap”. Their sleep can be divided into two types: slow-wave sleep (SWS) and deep sleep. Let’s find out more about the distinctions between the two.
Slow-Wave Sleep (SWS)
When a cat is experiencing an SWS, she is in a state of light sleep but also alert enough to wake up at a moment’s notice. You will know if your cat is having an SWS based on her body language.
During SWS, a cat’s ears will twitch and swivel towards any noise she hears. Her eyes will open just a little bit too. SWS usually occurs 75% of the time and lasts between 15 to 30 minutes.
During deep sleep, your cat sleeps soundly. It’s also during this time when your cat dreams, which is called the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase.
A cat in a deep sleep often curls up with their eyes tightly closed. Her eyes, ears, and tail will start twitching as well. Some cats may even cover their faces with their tails.
Deep sleep happens 25% of the time. It generally lasts for around five minutes, after which the cat goes back to regular sleep. Deep sleep is essential as it helps cats wake up with a lot of energy at dawn and dusk.
How many hours a day do cats sleep?
Indoor cats are known to sleep longer than outdoor cats. In general, newly-born kittens sleep a lot. 90% of their daily routine is spent snoozing. That means they get around 22 hours of sleep.
Once they reach about six months of age, their sleep time is reduced to 16-20 hours. On the other hand, adult cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day whilst older cats spend even more time in slumber. Senior felines can sleep approximately 20 hours a day.
Cat dozes off more on cold or rainy days. One reason for this is due to their evolutionary instincts. It tells them that hunting is no good when it’s raining.
Another reason is most cats are averse to water. So instead of getting sopping wet in the rain, they’d rather sleep and conserve energy.
Why do older cats sleep so much?
As cats reach their senior years, they tend to be less active. They spend most of their time sleeping. However, old age is not the only cause of their prolonged bedtime.
Health problems, such as arthritis and hyperthyroidism, can cause old cats to lose sleep or sleep more. To improve your cat’s sleeping habits, here are a few tips that you can follow:
- Changes in your senior cat’s daily routine can cause her stress. This can negatively affect her sleeping habits. Make sure to follow a consistent routine and only make changes if it is necessary.
- Older cats are prone to muscle and joint pain. Think about buying an orthopaedic bed for your furry companion. This will help ease her aches and pains as she sleeps.
- Always make time to exercise and play with your ageing cat. This will build muscle turn and resiliency and helps her sleep more comfortably at night.
Snoring may strike some people as odd cat behaviour. However, this is a normal occurrence in our feline companions. It happens when they are so relaxed whilst sleeping that airway is blocked by extra skin from the soft palate.
What if my cat’s sleeping habits change?
Is your cat suddenly sleeping too much or too little? Observe her for a couple more days and look out for other symptoms. This includes changes in behaviour and alterations in drinking and eating patterns.
Sometimes the change is sleeping habits is a temporary occurrence brought by a mild bug. However, if it happens frequently, you might need to consult the vet as this may be caused by health problems.