May 05, 2021 4 min read
You may have noticed that when you get home after a long day at work, your cat is still snoozing in the same spot from when you left in the morning.
This isn’t unusual and most cats spend most of the day curled up in a snuggly sleep—much to our own envy!
However, the amount they sleep can depend on behavior patterns as well as their physical health such as age, mood, and overall wellbeing.
It’s about time we let the cat out of the bag when it comes to our fur baby’s sleeping habits and understand a bit more about what a catnap really means.
How much sleep do cats need?
Our dozy kitties sleep for most of the day and can spend as much as 15-20 hours per day in the land of slumber.
Unlike humans, cats usually sleep during the day which means they have lots of energy during the night.
This isn’t because they don’t like spending time with us, but because they are crepuscular, a term referring to animals who are most active between dawn and dusk.
You shouldn’t be concerned if your cat is sleeping most of the day as this is normal, but if your cat’s sleeping habits suddenly change then we recommend speaking to a vet.
Whilst kittens and senior cats sleep the most, an active adolescent may need much less sleep, whilst adult cats have regular sleeping routines and will take themselves off to bed at around the same time each day.
Is my cat napping or sleeping?
It may look like your kitty is in deep sleep most of the time, but as much as 75% of a cat’s sleep is just a light snooze.
Cats spend just 25% of their sleeping time in a heavy slumber, which is usually only for about 5 minutes at a time.
Because cats are natural predators, it makes sense that even when they are sleeping, they are always on the alert for prey, and even in the comfort of their own home, you may find them sleeping with one eye open.
You can usually tell if your kitty is in a nap or deep sleep from his/her position. If they are spread out and relaxed, perhaps even laying on their backs, then it’s more than likely they are chasing butterflies in their dreams.
However, if their ears twitch at any sounds and they are in a position that looks like they are ready to spring into action, then they are probably just napping.
But catnapping isn’t just good for our furry felines. In fact, evidence suggests a 10–20-minute nap each day could be good for us humans too and help to improve cognitive function as well as decrease stress levels.
Why do cats change where they sleep?
Unlike humans who usually just have one sleeping spot (or two if you include dropping off on the sofa), cats tend to sleep in multiple different locations.
One reason why your cat may move where they sleep is due to the change of seasons.
In the winter you may find your cat snoozing near the radiator, a cozy warm cupboard, or even underneath the duvet.
However, when summer arrives, your kitty may want to cool down and instead sleep on tiled floors, in the bathroom, or in some shade outside.
Cats may also change where they sleep depending on how safe they feel in that spot.
If a previously quiet area becomes noisy or has a change of smell, then you may find them searching for a new place to catch some Zs.
Many cats like to sleep in high-up or enclosed places where they feel much safer. So, if you have a cautious cat, you may find them moving around a lot
Do cats dream and have nightmares?
According to scientist Michael Jouvet, cats experience REM sleep just like humans, so it’s likely they also experience dreams as well.
REM sleep means Rapid Eye Movement and is usually the time when dreaming takes place.
He also discovered REM sleep decreased with older cats and was more likely to happen in younger cats and kittens.
Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, a professor in New England, USA also believes that cats experience dreams in a similar way that we do.
He says: ‘Like us, cats will probably dream about things that have gone on in the recent or distant past. Maybe stalking a bird or mouse. Maybe being petted. Maybe an altercation with another cat or dog’, suggesting cats may have nightmares as well as good dreams.
When should I worry about my cat’s sleeping habits?
If your cat’s sleeping habits suddenly change or you see signs of any other behavioral changes, then book an appointment with your vet.
Cat’s that start sleeping for longer periods of time could be a sign of injury, illness, or even depression.
If your kitty is sleeping less than they normally do, then this could also be a symptom of illness such as hyperthyroidism or other conditions.
If your cat is suffering with stress which is preventing them from sleeping, then there are some things you can do to help them become more relaxed.
Make sure they always have clean water available as well as a clean litter box in a safe and accessible area and keep them stimulated with playtime and fun toys, especially if they are an indoor cat with no other kitty companions to play with.
Make sure their bed is in a safe area away from loud noises and strong smells (such as diffusers or other home fragrances that might be irritable to them)
If you have recently moved home, then your cat will be extra sensitive, and it may take a few days for them to get settled enough to sleep.
Put a blanket that smells like their old home in a quiet area with some hiding space and this will help to make them feel more at ease.
Cats are just like us when it comes to their sleep and although they may snooze for much longer than we do, it’s important that we let them get as much sleep as they feel they need.
Shop Meowy Studio litter boxes and other cat productsor visit our Meowy blog for even more advice about caring for your beloved kitty!
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