Why do cats sleep a lot? And are they actually sleeping, or just resting?
Do they dream? Is snoring normal? Keep reading to find out.
Our feline pets are true professionals at falling asleep at any time, place or circumstances.
Even a little web search will reveal hundreds of photos of snoozing cats in cute or weird positions.
But why do they sleep so much, and what happens in their minds when they are sleeping?
Do they have regular sleep schedules as people do?
- All that sleeping is in their genes
When wondering, “Why do cats sleep a lot?” first, let’s look at how long cats can/usually sleep.
Cats can actually sleep for as much as 16 hours a day, and older cats spend even more time — as much as 20 hours a day!
That snoozing habit is a result of the cat’s evolution, physiology, and nutritional habits.
Out in the wild, cats have to hunt for their food, and the stalking, chasing, and killing of their prey can take up a lot of energy.
Sleeping simply helps the cats conserve their energy between meals.
- Cats are not always completely sound asleep
Another thing to keep in mind when thinking, “Why do cats sleep so much?” is how they sleep. Of the time cats spend at rest,
around three-quarters of that time is what we might call snoozing. In that state, the cats can get all the rest they need,
but they’re still alert enough to wake up at slight or sudden movement/noise.
You’d be able to tell when a cat is in light sleep because their ears will be constantly twitching and rotating toward noises and their eyes will be slightly open.
Even when they’re sitting upright, they can still slip into that snoozing mode.
- However, cats do sleep deeply and even dream
The leftover quarter of cats’ sleeping hours is spent in deep slumber,
but older cats tend to spend as much as 30 to 40 percent of the time at that stage.
Cats in deep sleep are usually curled up in a little ball with their eyes tightly shut. Sometimes, they can even have their tail over their faces,
like a fluffy sleeping mask. Deep sleep is vital for the body’s ability to regenerate itself and keep healthy.
It’s also the time when your cat can have dreams. If you’ve ever seen your cat’s paws or whiskers twitching while they are asleep,
there’s a possibility they’re dreaming.
- Some cats do snore when they in a slumber
Cat snoring is normal and happens when the airway is blocked by extra skin from the soft palate.
This is more likely to happen when your cat is relaxed, so it wouldn’t be weird or uncommon to notice your cat snoring from time to time.
Snoring is most likely to happen in short-nosed or brachycephalic cat breeds such as the Himalayan, Persian, or Exotic Shorthair.
- Changes in your cat’s sleeping habits could mean of trouble
While answering questions about cats sleeping habits, you might also question if there are such things as too much or too little sleep.
If your cat starts sleeping a lot more or a lot less than they usually do, contact your veterinarian.
Excessive sleeping could be a sign of pain or illness, while recurrent wakefulness can indicate problems such as hyperthyroidism.