Cats are well known for sleeping wherever they want. You also might have noticed your cat doing so and wondered “Why does my cat sleep so much?” . It might be snoozing off on the kitchen counter, on an unexpected corner of the room, in their beloved cat house, and even on top of your laptops and other equipment. There is no such place that your cat won’t lay on.
Sometimes this behavior can be worrisome to owners. We have heard many owners expressing their worry about seeing their cats constantly sleeping. They start to think if their cat is sick. Well good news for you, cats sleeping most of the time during the day is normal.
There are different reasons leading to this behavior. Unlike humans, cats and other animals are built differently and they have different needs and habits. In this blog, we are going to talk about the reasons why cats sleep most of the time.
How much sleep do cats need?
Cats are well known for their weird behaviors. One of those behaviors is sleeping most of the time. Different research has shown that cats need about 12 to 16 hours of sleep. This doesn’t mean that they sleep in big chunks but rather sleep in clutter. Like taking short naps throughout the day. Their short naps are usually followed by short activities with bursts of energy.
The sleep duration may differ from cat to cat depending on their breed, size, environment, and age. Many scientists are still unaware of why a living being requires sleep, but we know one thing for sure- this tiny human being needs more sleep than a large human being. The amount of sleep cats needs depending on their age is listed as below.
Kittens– Sleeps most of the day having few bursts of energy when having a meal.
Adolescent Cats– Irregular sleep patterns with an intense burst of energy and playfulness.
Adult Cats– Fixed sleep schedule with 12 to 20 hours of sleep.
Older Cats– Due to a lack of energy and mobility they sleep more than young cats.
Why do Cats Sleep so Much?
With time and adapting to different environments, cats have evolved. Compare to the pet cats, wild cats require more sleep to be prepared the hunt and chase their prey. Still, cats sleep more compared to human beings. Here are the reasons why cats sleep a lot:
Cats have adopted the predator instinct from their ancestors. Like many predators cats also conserve energy by resting and sleeping. Although indoor cats do not need to worry about hunting for food, their primal instincts kick in from time to time.
Wild cats store their energy and burst out their stored energy when chasing their prey. This allows them to chase even their fastest and most energetic prey. Likewise, they also require a good rest after every chase to be prepared for the next hunt. So, the resting cycle goes on.
The indoor cats also embrace this behavior based on instinct. The cat’s long period of sleep is also given the name ‘cat nap’.This is one of the main reason why cat loves to sleep so much.
Cats are crepuscular animals (not to confuse with nocturnal animals). Nocturnal animals are usually active at night whereas the crepuscular animals are active at dusk and dawn. They are quite energetic during this hour.
Why at dusk and dawn you may ask? The reason is due to its hunting instinct. The ancestors of the cat usually hunt their prey at those times. As mentioned above they store their energy by resting during the daytime and are quite active at night time. So, the cats also adopt the same instincts since they are little kittens.
Unless the cats are trained to sleep at night and be active during the daytime, they adhere to this behavior of sleeping during the daytime and being active at dusk and dawn. This is one of the reasons why you might hear your cat crying, meowing, and yowling at night.
Pretending to Sleep
Cats love sleeping deeply but that is always not the case when you see their eyes closed. They love dozing off and taking a short nap also called ‘cat nap’ now and then. The sleep might last from five to thirty minutes. The light sleep makes about 3/4 of your cats sleep.
When dozing off they are aware of their surroundings and remain alert for predators and prey. You will be able to tell your cat is just dozing off but not in a deep sleep by seeing them the way they are sleeping. They might be standing when sleeping, or might have their eyes partially closed or have their tail or ear moving occasionally.
They sleep in such a position that allows them to spring up to action even in a short time. This light sleep also provides them with the rest that they need.
Like humans, cats also sleep when they are bored. When there is nothing to do and no one to play with or interact with they spend their time sleeping. If you find your cat sleeping most of the time then you can add something for your cat to feel less bored.
There are different cat toys available in the market which can keep your cat busy and out of boredom. Some toys are designed to stimulate your cat physically and mentally. You can put treats inside them and make your cat play with them. Cats also love to climb in higher places. You can build a catio or cat tree for them to play with.
This prevents your cat from being bored and encourages the to sleep at night rather than dozing off during the daytime and staying awake the whole night.
Sleeping is one of the coping mechanisms that cats do when they are stressed. Different factors might be stressing your cat. Like being introduced to a new place, a new member of the family, lack of personal space, and many more.
When they are stressed they hide away from the people and sleep in a closed and dark space. This makes them feel secure and provides them great comfort. If the cat is exposed to extreme stress then it can greatly affect the mental health of the cat. They might refrain from playing, eating, or being interested in humans and might cry of the time.
If you notice your cat has been stressed then it is best to take your cat to the vet and try to find the root cause of the problem. The vet also might give suggestions on how we can prevent the cat from being stressed in the future as well.
Sick or Uncomfortable
Cats are less active when they are suffering from any pain or are sick. They refrain from any sort of movement when they are sick. One of the best ways to know that is by keeping track of your cat’s sleep pattern. This allows you to know whether your cat is sleeping less or more than it usually does.
If you notice your cat sleeping more or staying in its closed space more than it usually does then signs are your cat is sick. With excessive sleeping, there are other signs that you need to look out for like vomiting, weight loss, and not playing. If you notice your cat showing such signs then it is best to visit a vet and get your cat checked.
As the cat ages more and more, they lose the energy to move here and there. A small movement can be tiring for the cat and needs rest all the time. Likewise, their body also becomes so weak that they can have less mobility in their body
Research has also shown that older cats sleep more than younger cats. Each year their sleeping duration may increase. It is best to let your elderly cat rest. Provide them a comfortable resting space like a cat cave or cat bed, so they can rest peacefully.
In a nutshell,
Cat’s excessive sleeping compared to humans is normal and it is important for the overall health of the cat. They can sleep from 12 to 16 hours a day. They do so to store their energy when they are bored, sick, or mentally stressed. There can be different reasons why cats sleep for long hours.
Did you know that you can control the sleeping patterns of the cat? It is not an easy task and requires great patience and practice. Forming a sleeping pattern for your cat that doesn’t ruin your sleep schedule can be beneficial for you and your cat as well.
Like this, there are other peculiar behaviors of cats. If you are interested then you can read the following blogs.