Does it seem like your cat sleeps all day long? Apart from the occasional burst of activity, does your kitty spend most of the day catching some ZZZZs?
If you’ve noticed that your feline friend is a sensational sleeper, you’re not alone. Cats certainly love to sleep, with some of them catching up to 20 hours of naptime a day.
But why do cats sleep so much? Is it normal behavior or is it something you need to worry about? Keep reading to find out.
The Root of the Behavior
Just because your kitty spends most of their time sleeping, that doesn’t mean they’re lazy or that there’s anything wrong with them. Instead, this behavior is a result of evolution.
In the wild, cats are predators. And just like their wild ancestors, domestic cats instinctively know that they need to conserve energy so that they’re ready for action the next time they need to go hunting. Even though you may serve up dinner to them on a silver platter, old habits die hard — it’s simply your cat’s natural instinct to ensure that they’re always ready to chase down their next meal.
Cats are also classed as crepuscular, which means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. You’ve probably already noticed that your kitty seems to enjoy getting up to mischief at night, usually when you’re trying to sleep, so you’re no doubt well aware that cats’ sleeping patterns are very different to our own.
This is why cats spend much of the day resting, but feline sleep isn’t always the same as our own. While cats can fall into a deep sleep, they don’t settle in for long blocks of sleep once every 24 hours like we do. Instead they rely on 20- to 30 minute periods of light sleep — yep, you guessed it, we’re talking about catnaps — to get all the rest they need. This ensures that even though they’re asleep, your kitty is on the alert to detect any potential predators or prey.
As a result of all these factors, cats can get anywhere between 15 and 20 hours of sleep a day.
Encouraging the Behavior
If your cat is a champion sleeper, this isn’t a cause for concern. As you’ve seen, there are plenty of good reasons why felines often seem to spend most of their time in snoozeland. There’s no such thing as a set number of sleep hours your feline should or shouldn’t be getting, so there’s usually no reason to be alarmed.
It is important, however, that you come to recognize and understand your cat's normal sleeping patterns. That way, you’ll be able to pick up on any changes in your pet’s napping habits, which can be an indication of a health issue. So if your cat all of a sudden starts sleeping a lot more or a lot less than usual, take them to the vet for a checkup.
It’s also worth mentioning that some cats can adjust their sleeping habits to better align with yours. After all, if your kitty likes spending time with you, they’ll soon realize that this is better done during the daytime and evening. However, getting your cat to adjust their nocturnal patterns will require a little encouragement from you.
For example, if your fur-baby keeps waking you up at night wanting attention or with an attack of the “midnight crazies”, there are several steps you can take to help minimize cat-related nighttime disturbances. You might like to try spending more time playing with your cat during the day and in the early evening to encourage them to be active at times that suit you better. Feeding them not long before bedtime can also reduce the chance of them waking you in the night to demand food.
But any schedule changes will need to take place gradually, so be sure to give your furry friend time to adjust.
Other Solutions and Considerations
There are several other factors that can affect how much cats sleep. One key consideration is the amount of physical and mental stimulation your cat gets each and every day. Lots of interactive play, environmental enrichment, and physical activity help keep your pet happy and healthy, and also help them sleep.
If they don’t get sufficient stimulation, they might be sleeping too much due to nothing more than boredom. Engaging your cat in play whenever possible, and providing interactive toys and play equipment to keep them busy when you’re not around, can help solve this problem.
The amount of sleep your cat gets each day will also vary as they age. Kittens are big sleepers, but they become increasingly active when they reach adolescence. Adult cats settle into a regular sleeping pattern over time, but then can be expected to sleep more as they move into their less-active senior years.
Finally, it’s even thought that the weather can affect your cat’s sleeping habits. If you feel like staying in bed a little longer on those gloomy, cold, and wet days, you may notice your cat feeling exactly the same way.
So if you notice your feline fur-baby sleeping the day away, there’s probably no need to be alarmed. Enjoying a whole lot of catnaps each day is perfectly normal behavior for your pet, and something that’s easily understandable once you know more about cat sleeping patterns.
If your cat seems to be hitting the snooze button even more than usual, it’s of course a good idea to get them checked by your vet to make sure there are no underlying health problems.
Otherwise, just feel free to let your kitty enjoy their rest time. Who knows? Maybe you’d like to curl up for a few minutes of shut-eye as well.
By a Labrador Retriever lover Tim Falk
Published: 03/15/2021, edited: 03/15/2021
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