Why do cats sleep so much (and is it normal)?

We’ve all been guilty of enjoying the odd catnap from time to time.

Putting our heads down for ‘just a couple of minutes’.

To wake up half-an-hour later covered in nap lines wondering what happened.

The phrase ‘catnap’ – as we’re sure you’ve probably worked out – relates firmly to our feline friends, and their mastery in the art of sleeping.

So, why do cats sleep so much?

Is there a normal amount of time, per day, that a cat should sleep?

Cats sleep, on average, between 12 – 16 hours a day.

It’s not unusual for some to doze for up to 20 hours in a 24-hour period.

Cats are crepuscular creatures, which means they’re naturally most active between dusk and dawn.

Genetically speaking, they’re predators. Your domesticated house cat may not look much like the King of the Jungle while pawing at a saucer of milk….but they share 96% of their DNA with tigers.

Wild cats expend huge amounts of energy chasing down their prey at night; resting and recharging throughout the day.

That genetic wild streak means our cats have evolved to instinctively sleep when it’s light, leaving them ready to hunt their prey (mouse, ball of wool) when darkness descends.

Sleeping affords your cat’s body the opportunity to repair and regenerate itself, so don’t be concerned by their passion for relaxing.

If they’re snoozing consistently for 16 hours a day, the chances are it’s because their bodies need it. It’s this daytime downtown that will see them fighting fit for years to come.

Do cats nap or fully sleep?

Cats do sleep deeply, but most of their rest time is taken up by napping.

In fact, roughly, three quarters is devoted to light snoozing.

This varies with age.

Newborn kittens can sleep for 22 hours a day with mealtime bringing small bursts of energy. Senior cats are less active, have less energy, and will sleep for longer periods than their adult counterparts.

Even while they’re ‘catnapping’ their bodies are still getting all the rest they need, so do not disturb.

You’ll know your cat is gently snoozing because their eyes will be slightly open, their ears will be twitching and they’ll still be on high-alert, ready to spring into action at the slightest bit of noise…or smell.

When immersed in deep slumber, a cat’s body enters full relaxation mode. They’ll most likely be stretched out, led on their side, with their eyes tightly shut.

And yes, just like us, cats do dream.

If they’re twitching, ‘talking in their sleep’ or moving their paws, chances are they’re embarking on an imaginary hunt, or dreaming about their next bowl of Encore.

Should I worry about how much my cat sleeps?

‘My cat sleeps all the time’ is a common worry among pet parents.

Cats are renowned for their sleeping.

However, if they’re sleeping longer than usual, or the amount of deep sleep is beginning to overtake time spent snoozing, there could be something else going on.

Monitor behaviour. Are they struggling to get up? Do they look in pain while they’re lying down? Another sign they could be struggling is if they’ve stopped jumping out of bed the second you walk into a room.

Cats love sleep, but remember, they’re natural hunters who love to play.

Sleeping less is another subtle sign of sickness. Wakeful cats could be suffering from stress or anxiety. If this restfulness is accompanied by increased crying, they could well be ill or experiencing pain.

Nobody knows your cat better than you. If their sleeping pattern has changed significantly, and you feel like something might be wrong, it may be time to consider calling the vet.

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