Cats are champion nappers. The term "cat nap" exists for a reason, after all! How many hours a day do cats sleep, exactly? Most felines sleep for an average of 15-16 hours per day.
Their instinctive curiosity and creativity prompts them to choose from a range of spots for that refreshing evening siesta or mid-day doze, so pet parents should give them an array of cozy options from which they can catch those Zzzs.
Here, feline behaviorist Rita Reimers, aka The Cat Analyst, breaks down some common cat napping spots and what makes the spaces so appealing to felines.
On Your Bed
“Cats like dark cozy places, which is why they love to be under the covers,” Reimers says. In addition to being a spot where they can bury themselves and snooze, your bed gives your cat comfort “because it smells like you,” she adds. For this reason, Reimers suggests leaving unchanged sheets on your bed if you’ll be away from your cat for any extended period of time. The familiar scent may also help cats that suffer separation anxiety, she says.
Under Your Bed
Cats don’t like to just nap on top of your bed; they also like to catch some Zzzs underneath. “It’s a nice secluded place for cozy undisturbed naps,” says Reimers, who placed a few cat beds under her own, so her cats can happily snooze in them.
Reimers also explains that hiding and napping under the bed helps felines feel safe. “One of the first places a scared cat will go is under a bed,” she adds. Try placing a cat bed or favorite blanket and a few toys under your bed to create a comfortable, sheltered space for when your cat is feeling stressed.
In the Laundry Basket
“Who doesn’t like a nice soft pile of clothes? Dirty ones are okay because they smell like us, and our cats love that,” Reimers says. And clean clothes are often straight from the dryer, warm and inviting for cat naps. Cats need no further encouragement.
In a Cardboard Box
“It’s a mystery to most people why cats love boxes so much, but a feline's natural instinct is to hide away from predators in the wild,“ Reimers says. “So most cats love small places they can curl up in and nap unnoticed.”
Make any box a cozy bed by lining it with an old flannel shirt or pajama top (remove buttons first), or you can even get crafty with your Chewy box and fashion it into a bonafide castle for your kitty!
In the Bathroom Sink
Just like boxes, sinks give cats small, walled spaces that fulfill their hiding instincts. “The sink gives cats support on all sides, especially if it’s oval shaped,” says Reimers.
If you have an extra sink in your home, consider designating one for cat naps by lining it with a towel for comfort. If you lack an extra sink, offer a powder-room alternative with a towel-lined basket near or under the sink.
On Your Couch
“Would you like a hard floor or a cushy sofa? Cats prefer the cushy soft spot as well,” Reimers says. “I put throw blankets on mine for my cats, sprinkled with catnip or catnip spray to attract them to ‘their’ spot.”
Reimers even gave her cats their own sofa for ultimate relaxation. It’s placed in her sunroom, covered with cat toys, a cat cubby hole and a cat bed, near a large window perfect for bird-watching. If your home lacks space for a full-size, felines-only couch, consider a window perch or comfy old chair you no longer use. Layer the piece of furniture with an old sheet, blanket, or throw cover, and your cat will never want to leave.
In an Open Closet
“Cats do not like closed doors, and if a forbidden place is accessible in any way, your cat will find his way inside,” says Reimers, whose cat Peanut opens the linen closet door to curl up on clean white towels.
Since your cat wants some closet time anyway, offer a small box, plastic storage bin or even a large shopping bag (handles removed), lined with a towel or old T-shirt. Be sure to leave the door ajar so they can get in and out easily.
On a Bookshelf
Cats often feel safer in high spots, which Reimers says is another survival instinct. “They’re away from predators and can observe their surroundings—yet be undisturbed,” she adds.
Placing a catnip plant or a small bed on a shelf is a welcoming touch that ensures plenty relaxing cat naps, surrounded by cookbooks and fiction.
On Your Lap
Reimers’ cats Colby, Oliver, and Simon compete for a chance to snuggle when she leans back on the sofa. Your own cat may politely but firmly remind you that computer time is ok, but she’d be more comfy if you’d relocate to a different seat so you both can relax and spread out.
If your cat is a determined lap resident, cushion them with a small throw or folded sweater for extra support. And do not disturb.