Caitlin UltimoBehavior / Pet Facts

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

There’s a reason why naps are commonly referred to as “cat naps,” instead of “dog naps.” Kitties are known to sleep an average of 3 hours longer than dogs, clocking in at about 15 to 16 hours a day (dogs sleep an average of 12 to 14 hours a day). If you have ever wondered, “Why do cats sleep so much?” you are not alone—cats are all-day sleepers, and are typically most active during times that humans are the drowsiest. If you have a tired cat, check out our expert insight on why your cat enjoys snoozing his day away.

“The extra time cats devote to sleeping relates to their genetic background as predators,” says Irith Bloom, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, CPDT-KSA, VSPDT, KPA CTP, CBATI, VSDTA faculty and Director of Training at The Sophisticated Dog in West Los Angeles, CA. “When they hunt, they must use a great deal of energy to catch their prey, so they sleep the rest of the time to conserve and restore their energy.”

If you’ve noticed your cat naps throughout the day, keep in mind that cats are crepuscular creatures, which means they are the most active at dawn and dusk. This may give you the impression that cats are nocturnal, when in fact, they are most likely dozing away while you sleep, too. Luckily for you, cats are known to adjust their cat sleeping schedule to match their pet parent’s so they can spend more time with their favorite humans. The key is to make sure they get plenty of mental stimulation throughout the day so they can expend their energy just enough to want to cuddle up all night. To keep your tired cat occupied while the sun is still shining, the Frisco 52-Inch Cat Tree is the ultimate feline jungle gym. It’s an all-in one spot for your kitty to do everything he loves, like scratching, climbing and practicing his hunting skills.

When your cat naps, it will typically be a light snooze rather than a deep slumber. Cat owners quickly see that waking up a tired cat can be as easy as opening a bag of cat treats. “Cats spend much of their time ‘sleeping’ in what can be described as a sort of ‘dozing’ state, in which they can easily wake up and spring into action if they hear something interesting, such as a mouse,” says Bloom. This is especially true for kittens, who spend most of their time in a lighter sleep compared to their older counterparts.

When a cat does enter a deep sleep, however, they do so “usually for relatively short periods only,” says Bloom—“[for about] five minutes or so, though it varies from cat to cat.” If your cat is in the midst of a deep sleep, you can usually tell based on how long it takes them to wake up. To give your cat the ultimate slumber, try the Armarkat Burrow Cat Bed. This ultra-plush burrow is made of faux suede and faux fur filled with extra-thick, 100% poly fill for maximum comfort that will put your cat in a deep sleep in no time. For colder climates, try K&H Pet Products Extra-Wide Outdoor Heated Kitty House to keep your cat safe, warm and cozy while they enjoy quality rest. This kitty house is large enough to hold multiple cats comfortably, and features two exits with removable door flaps.

Now that you have a better understanding of the age-old question, “Why do cats sleep so much?” as well as insight into their unique cat sleeping patterns, you are may be wondering whether cats can dream, and what they dream about.

Michel Jouvet, an early sleep researcher from the mid 1900s, conducted an experiment where he “turned off” the movement-suppression mechanism in the brains of cats so they could act out their dreams while asleep. What Jouvet saw were cats enacting hunting movements—like stalking and pouncing—while in their dreaming state. This means that if your cat is sleeping, it is likely he is dreaming about his next catch. “The movement suppression systems of most cats do not allow them to actually walk around while sleeping, but while a cat is dreaming, you may see the paws or tail twitch, or observe that the whiskers, mouth or ears are moving,” says Bloom.

Comfortably transition your cat from fully awake to a deep, dreaming sleep with MidWest Quiet Time Fleece Reversible Pet Bed & Crate Mat—an ideal option for accommodating your sleeping kitty. Perfectly sized for a crate, vehicle or carrier, this stylish, extra-stuffed polyfiber bed will give your cat a snug place to sleep virtually anywhere.

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