Why Do Cats Sleep So Much
There you are, working away. You’re doing laundry, sitting through hours of Zoom calls, putting away the groceries, doing more laundry. You didn’t get to bed until 11:30 last night and got up at 6 a.m. this morning. It’s never ending. And through it all, there is your magnificent, furry little partner curled up and … sleeping. Just like they always do.
How do you get that life, you think. First, cats can strengthen their bones just by purring. And now they can seemingly sleep for endless hours. How do we get in on that?
Well, we can’t even if we wanted to. It’s just not the way we’re made. But cats are. They are designed for glorious, glorious sleep. It’s perfectly normal for some cats to sleep for 16 hours a day, or even up to 20, if we’re talking about growing kittens or elderly feline citizens.
But why? Why do they need so much sleep? Let's find out.
How Much do Cats Sleep?
On average, most cats sleep about 15 hours a day. Kittens clock in the most hours at up to 20 hours per 24-hour period. Sleeping champions!
As kittens enter adolescence they become more active and tend to sleep fewer hours. Older cats also tend to sleep a lot. In a reverse of the teenage cats, older cats tend to become less active and spend that time napping. Senior cats nap longer and more often then younger adult cats.
The weather can also influence how much a cat sleeps. Like humans, when its cold or rainy cats thoughts tend to turn to curling up for a nice snooze. Sleeping time can also vary depending on whether they are an outside cat foraging all day or a cat that spends most of its time on the couch.
Now that we have answered the question of how much do cats sleep, let's take a look at the reasons why.
Your cat might not do anything more energetic than bap around a stuffed banana or jump from the kitchen counter to the top of the fridge. But it wasn’t always that way. The wild heart of our furry friends' ancestors still beats, or sleeps as the case may be, deep within our blanket-sharing, blinky-eyed lap cats. So as far as your cat is concerned, he or she needs to save up their energy at every opportunity to be ready to chase prey across the Serengeti (your living room) or avoid merciless predators (your clumsy golden retriever). The instinct, if nothing else, is still there.
And besides, playing can take a lot of energy, too, and the more they sleep the more ready they are to play!
The Time of the Day
We often think about cats as nocturnal animals, but that’s not always the case. According to PetMD many cats are actually crepuscular. In other words, they’re most active at dusk and dawn, when their prey is outside and when the predators that might harm them are less likely to be around.
Cats can also be very social and adaptable animals. So, our feline companions often adjust their sleeping schedule to spend more time with us and conform their sleeping habits to accommodate their feeding schedule. This often results in indoor cats sleeping more than those that prowl the great outdoors.
Not All Sleep Is Created Equal
But wouldn’t sleeping when predators are active put cats at risk? Luckily no. Cats can sleep deeply, but they are often dozing in a lighter form of sleep. About one-fourth of their sleep is actually deep, and it comes in five-minute intervals. Before and after those intervals, the magnificent predator is napping.
According to Britannica.com, the other three-fourths of their sleep is in a shallow, almost “waking rest” type of sleep called slow-wave sleep (SWS). When they are in this type of sleep you will sometimes see their ears twitch as they listen for predators. They are also able to smell during slow-wave sleep and if they sense danger they will jump into action immediately. Slow wave sleep usually comes in two stages, which are light slow wave sleep (LSWS) followed by deep slow wave sleep (DSMS). As cats enter deep slow wave sleep their brain activity slows down and they become more difficult to wake up. The result of thousands of cute Cat videos showing humans lifting the pile of their sleeping cat only to have it flat back down without the cat moving a muscle.
Cats also prefer to sleep in a nice, cozy, spot hidden away from predators, like inside a Cat Box Classics Cardboard Cat House, and to nap in a position that would enable them to respond to any threats quickly.
Boredom. Weather. Whatever.
You know how a rainy Sunday makes you want to just curl up under a blanket and nap? Their sleeping patterns can also be affected by the weather. Also, like us, if a cat has nothing to do, their infinite wisdom leads them to the conclusion, they might as well nap until something fun happens along. (Or until their hear the sound of a food can opening or a treats bag crinkling.)
Cats just might be onto something with all of that sleep. Might be time for you to take a nap curled up with your furry friend.
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