Why Do Felines Sleep So Much? Their Most Common Habits Revealed

Did you know that your feline friend sleeps at least twice as much as you do? Of course, that’s assuming you sleep an average of 6 and 8 hours a night. That’s right – your cat would sleep between 13 and 16 hours every single day. Interestingly enough, about 2/3rds of their lifetime are spent snoozing.

Fun fact: There are just two other species which sleep more than your furry little feline friend, and these are opossums and bats.

However, there’s much more to it than just plain sleeping. While it may seem so on the outside, this is a critical part of your cat’s overall well-being. They need it. Sure, there are certain cases in which domestic cats would sleep out of sheer boredom as they have no one to interact with, but in the majority of cases, they tend to rest to replenish.

Let’s dig a little bit deeper.

Feline Sleep Overview

How Much Sleep do Cats Need?

Now, there isn’t a reliable number that you can put on the amount of sleep that cats need. As it is with people – this is entirely individual. Cats that tend to live indoors and have little to no contact with the outdoors are significantly less active. Therefore, the amount of time they’d need to rest would be a lot less. In reality, though, these little furry friends do sleep because they are bored, which doesn’t mean that they need it.

On the other hand, we have street cats who are making an effort to put dinner on the table. They have to hunt or find different food sources. Hence, they use up a lot more energy. During their sleep cycle, they replenish this energy. To put it in simpler terms – the more active the feline is, the more sleep it would need to recover. However, it’s estimated that felines tend to sleep between 13 and 16 hours a day, even though there are some domestic pets which would rest as much as twenty hours out of the twenty-four throughout the entire day.

When Do They Sleep?

This is also something that’s fairly individual, and it needs to be addressed appropriately. The first thing that you ought to realize is that they are mostly active at dusk and dawn. This suggests that they would rest mostly during the day and would become more active when it’s twilight.

That’s why it might be a bit shocking when you bring in a new kitty as a pet for the very first time. It’s not going to waste any time investigating as well as getting into trouble – this would usually happen while you are asleep. As soon as it has its breakfast, though, and while the rest of the world prepares for the day, your furry feline companion would wind down for a long, lazy day of nothing but slumber.

gray tiger cat is lying on a carpet

Reasons Why Cats Sleep a Lot

Conserve Energy

Unlike other species which would forage for grasses and grains, your feline companion is an actual predator. Food for a carnivore isn’t just growing in fields. Therefore, for the cat to find its food, it needs to go to work. Once they discover the prey, the feline would quickly go into stealth mode, inching towards the elusive prey.

With this said, catching their dinner requires short yet very intensive and energy-consuming bursts. Furthermore, cats are not known for being scavengers – their prey must be fresh. This is why they need energy a lot. Sleep is necessary to make sure that the animal is perfectly prepared for numerous attempts at catching the prey.  Rest is required to conserve this energy and to make sure that it’s in excess for the next hunt.

Light Sleep = On Alert

Just like people, felines are known to be able to doze in a simple catnap or to fall into a very deep sleep. When your cat naps, it will position its body in a manner which will enable him to spring up right into the action at a rapid notice. This phase usually lasts for fifteen minutes to no more than half an hour.

During the more profound sleep state, the cat is going to experience the quick movement of their brain. It would last about five minutes, and the cat would go right back into dozing. The latter is a pattern which is going to go on until the feline wakes up.

It’s also important to understand that kittens, as well as older cats, would sleep more than those who are average-aged.

Weather Affects Them

This shouldn’t come as a serious surprise. Weather does affect cats – just like it affects us. The behavior of your cat could vary greatly, based on a range of different characteristics. These include the breed, overall health, temperament as well as their age, as we already found out.

However, regardless of the regular disposition of your kitty, you should know that felines do sleep more when that’s being called for by the weather. Even if your kitty is an absolute indoor-dweller, a cold or a rainy day is going to have him, as well as you, looking for some time to nap and yawn. It’s as natural as it gets.

little kitty sleeps

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Felines Dream?

Have you noticed that you felines twitch their whiskers and their paws and they move their eyes in a manner which resembles pouncing on smaller critters or running in their dream?

Interestingly enough, this is because cats do go through non-REM and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep phases. During the non-REM phase, they actively repair themselves and also allow their body to go through a further growth.

So, in other words, your feline does dream. And, while it’s unlikely that it would ever tell you what it is dreaming about, something tells us that mice and birds have a serious role in it.

Why is my Cat Crazy at Night?

For quite a lot of cat owners, the sleep cycle of their feline buddy doesn’t make any particular sense. The cat would rest throughout the entire day and suddenly go nuts throughout the night, bouncing off walls, pawing at your face early in the morning and knocking things over as if it is the end of the world.

Now, the thing that you need to understand is that your cat is a crepuscular predator. This means that its active hours are programmed to be between dusk and dawn. That’s because the prey that it would naturally hunt if it were outdoors would be more active during those special twilight hours.

Therefore, its internal clock is set in a manner which makes your pet go crazy early in the evening as it’s all geared up for it as a result of the 16 hours of sleep that it has had before that. It’s as simple as that. And, after all, if you were sleeping for 14 hours throughout the entire daytime, wouldn’t you be active at night as well?

upside-down image of a cat playing on the ground

Conclusion


It’s evident that feline sleeps a lot. That’s why they are also a very preferred and common pet – they don’t require the same amount of attention as dogs. You don’t have to worry about taking them out on walks as they are unable to use up their energy.

Cats are lazy, to put it in simpler terms. While they truly need the conservation of energy and the generation of excessive such, the truth is that domestic cats are unlikely ever to hunt. They sleep out of boredom, but you shouldn’t be overly worried about it. It is natural and normal for your feline friend to sleep throughout the entire day – that’s how they are hardwired.

The thing to consider is that you shouldn’t attempt to wake them up. They are likely to act upon it, and that’s how you get scratched arms or even worse. This is important. Respect their natural sleeping patterns. The feline itself will show you when it’s in the mood for cuddling and playing.

Sources and References:

  1. Here and Meow: What Cats Can Teach Us About Sleep – huffingtonpost.com
  2. Why do cats sleep so much? – purina.com.au
  3. Sleep and EEG slow-wave activity in the domestic cat: effect of sleep deprivation.
  4. Intermediate stage of sleep in the cat.

Author: Sleep Advisor

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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