Why do cats sleep so much?
You might have noticed your cat’s sleeping an average of fifteen hours a day and wonder why? The truth is that cats sleep a lot, and they are so cute when they sleep. Some cats, especially older cats, and kittens sleep for up to 20 hours in a twenty-four-hour period, and this has raised questions like, “why do cats sleep so much?”
You need to first understand that all that sleeping lies in your cat’s genes. Their evolution, physiology, and nutritional habits all influence their sleeping habits.
Laziness is a way of life for cats, and when they aren’t eating or scratching, they are often seen catching 40 to maybe 80 winks. In fact, in the animal kingdom, cats are among the top sleepers. So for cats, life is mostly about a cycle of eating, sleeping, and repeat.
Sleep patterns for cats
The number of hours that cats need to sleep usually changes as they get older:
- Kittens: They sleep most of the day and get brief bursts of energy between meals
- Adolescents: They are filled with erratic sleep patterns mixed with periods of a long play session
- Adult: Cats at this stage tend to stick to their sleep pattern that averages out at about 12–20 hours daily.
- Senior: This is a stage whereby cats have reduced mobility and less energy, making them sleep more than the younger cats.
The older your cat gets, the easier for them to fall into deeper and longer sleep. The senior cats and kittens require the most sleep, but the average-aged cats can do well on a measly 15 hours or thereabout.
Conservation of energy
Cats are natural predators, and they often chase after their prey, and this is undoubtedly exhausting. The wild cats, for example, work hard and expend a lot of physical effort to meet their dietary needs.
Housecats also retain that wild streak even though they have been domesticated for the most part. They sleep for about 16 hours a day and save up most of their energy for hunting.
Their genetic makeup always shows that “you can’t say when the gourmet food’s going to show forth.” That’s why they tend to be most active during the early morning and twilight hours when they are instinctively waiting for their prey to come by, even if they live in a 12th- floor condo.
It takes an amazing amount of energy to hunt prey. It doesn’t matter whether your kitty is tackling a catnip toy or hunting outdoor prey, they sleep for long to reserve energy for running, climbing, pouncing, and stalking.
Cats are not just predators but crepuscular predators. This infers that the go light comes on at dawn for them and dusk during the twilight hours when it is sure that preys, including birds and rodents- are highly active.
You’ll easily observe these characteristics if you bring a new feline friend home for the first time. They tend to get into trouble while investigating, and at a time when you’re fast asleep. But the moment they finish eating breakfast, you will find them winding down for a long slumber, as the rest of the world winds up for action.
However, cats are highly sociable and adaptable. This means that they can adjust their sleeping habits just to spend more time with their loved ones (you). They normally prefer to snooze during the day, but most times many felines will adjust their sleep schedule to make room for some playtime and behind-the-ear scratches.
And if you create a feeding schedule for your cat, they will always find a way to adjust their sleep patterns to it, and that’s more reason why indoor cats sleep more than those that roam outdoors.
Cats keep one eye open
Just like humans, cats either sleep very deeply or doze in a light sleep. They experience quick brain movement during deep sleep, which lasts for about five minutes. Older cats tend to spend as much as 40 percent of their time at that level. During deep sleep, cats usually curl up with their eyes tightly closed. They can even form something like a fluffy sleep mask by keeping their tail over their face. After the deep sleep, the cat moves to doze.
When your cat dozes, they will position their body to rise and get into action at a moment’s notice. This lasts for about fifteen to thirty minutes. And cats tend to follow this dozing-deep sleep pattern until they wake up.
You can easily tell when your cat is in light sleep because their eyes will be open a bit and their ears twitch and rotate towards noises. The funny part is that cats can even slip into that dozing mode when they’re sitting upright.
But note that the older cats and kittens sleep longer than the average-aged adult cat.
Snoring during sleep
Sometimes cats snore when the airways are blocked by extra skin from the soft palate. This happens mostly when your cat is relaxed, and it is common among short-nosed or brachycephalic cat breeds such as Himalayan, Persian, or Exotic Shorthair.
Sleep during a rainy day
Weather affects every cat’s sleep pattern, but their behavior is often dependent on their age, breed, temperament, and overall health. However, cats tend to sleep more when the weather calls for it no matter what their usual disposition expresses.
So even if you have an exclusive indoor-dweller, a cold or rainy day will always have them yawning and looking for a spot to doze off.
In between naps
You may say cats sleep too much or too little, but in the real sense, there is no such thing as that for your cat. They tend to listen to their body and rest when needed. That’s why you cannot force your cat to sleep at a particular time.
According to studies, cats need adequate sleep for longevity, good health, as well as mood. But if you notice changes in your cat’s sleep pattern- maybe you suspect that your cat is not sleeping enough, you can check with your veterinarian to rule out any health issue.
Cats while awake
When cats are not sleeping, usually between four to seven hours of the day, they get a lot of play and exercise. During the evening time, cats have more energy to play, and they are hardwired to begin hunting at this period.
You can get some fun DIY cat toys that your cat can chase and catch during playtime. A durable scratching post is another good option for your cat.
You need to keep in mind that there isn’t a set amount of sleep to show that your cat has a health problem. You can only know by observing changes in your cat’s normal sleep patterns. When your cat begins to sleep a lot less or a lot more than usual, then there is a chance of a health issue, and you should visit your vet.
Sleeping more than usual could indicate that your cat is experiencing a form of pain or illness. Sleeping less on the other hand could signify that your cat may be suffering from hyperthyroidism and other health issues.