Why do cats sleep so much

Why do cats sleep so much

Los Gatos sleep at least sixteen hours a day, although there are some who sleep less and others who sleep more. It serves to store energy and recharge the battery. But this is also a way to run the risk that the cat in the house will become fat.The domestic cat can sleep peacefully for up to 20 hours a day and anyone who has lived with the cutest cat in the world knows this. But why do cats sleep so much? Let’s analyze what are the causes and actions of this behavior and understand when we should worry.

How many hours a day do cats sleep?

Most young cats sleep an average of   12 to 18 hours a day, about three times more sleep than a human can. Older cats, as well as puppies, sleep even longer – up to 20 hours, but this is apparently due to age.

But even knowing that cats sleep a lot, we should pay attention to how we sleep. Sometimes, behind the way our four-legged friend sleeps, there can be a more or less serious pathology, which the cat tries to cure by a long rest.

How long do cats sleep?

Why do cats sleep so much
Why do cats sleep so much

Although, as we have already seen, our little darling sleeps between 12 and 18 in total, he does not sleep continuously, that is, in a row. Cats, like humans, have their own circadian rhythms, but they are animals with polyphasic sleep , that is, composed of several periods of rest, interspersed with phases of wakefulness. They have a deep sleep phase like us, cats sleep in REM phase and allows them to dream. In fact, cats dream too, but their dreams are mainly about hunting activities. This stage will be the same as in humans.

Naps last an average of 1 hour or more, but at certain times, the duration of sleep ranges from 50 to 113 minutes. Cats are also  short sleepers and naturally they tend to fall asleep in a position that allows them to flee quickly in case of danger. Their ears and nose are always alert while sleeping.

Why do cats sleep so much?

To understand why our beloved cats are the quintessential sleepheads, we need to take a step back. We have said that these animals are crepuscular and the reason for this is given by the fact that, when they lived free in nature and were not domesticated by man, they hunted  in the crepuscular state and used their powers to concentrate on the moment. Used to conserve all the energy.

Hunting was an essential activity for them to survive and very costly in terms of energy. Therefore, they had to accumulate as much energy as possible, sleeping at other hours of the day and recharging the body for the next hunt. Thus cats developed this tendency, later adapted it to human life in terms of schedules, but still retained the habit of sleeping almost all day.

How Much Sleep Do Cats Really Need?

Just as there are very sedentary cats that don’t like to play much and prefer to snore, there are others that are very active and tireless and can sleep less than 12 hours a day. On average, cats should sleep about 15 hours a day and take naps of 15–30 minutes.

These are effective times that allow the cat to strengthen its immune system, recover energy expended during the day, relax muscles and digest the proteins it consumes during meals. In fact, their diet is rich in proteins and sleep helps a lot in the digestive processes.

Why do cats sleep more when it rains?

Cats, like humans, tend to sleep more on gloomy or especially cold winter days and become more active when the weather is nicer in the spring or summer. Weather conditions and temperature affect how long cats sleep.

Cat owners know that our lovely cats do not particularly like water and it is no coincidence that they do not tolerate rainy days in which they prefer to sleep longer. But it is not only about this, as the noise of thunder storms is not appreciated by cats, the rainy periods are also very humid and cats need more energy to keep their body temperature balanced. it occurs. This again translates into more hours of sleep.

sleep like a cat

“Sleep like a baby” is a very broad way of saying that we refer to a person who sleeps a lot and for long periods of time, but the saying could well be “sleep like a cat”. Because in everyday life the cat is the most lover of brakes.

The cat is a crepuscular feline similar to jaguars, ocelots, and other cats. It is very active in the twilight hours, that is, from sunset to sunrise. What if it only happens at this particular time, the rest of the day? Well, the cat prefers to spend the remaining hours in its bed, on the sofa or curled up at the feet of its favorite human.

Let’s be realistic,  if you live with a cat,  your mobile phone gallery will inevitably be full of pictures of the cat sleeping comfortably in every corner of the house. But,  why do cats sleep so much? In fact, when cats aren’t busy eating, scratching, begging for attention, or trying to take over the world, they spend most of their day sleeping  peacefully . Even now, as you read this article, it could be right there, on your lap or on your desk, completely abandoned in the arms of Morpheus. The domestic cat is actually one of the animals that sleeps the most.

because they are twilight hunters

Even though he lives in the comfort of home, the cat is still  an exceptional twilight hunter . Even today they retain all those biological and moral characteristics inherited from their wild ancestors, although they no longer really need to hunt: it is a very strong instinct. In nature they are particularly active and lively at dawn and dusk , periods of the day when their preferred natural prey – small rodents and birds – are also active. Even their extraordinary vision has evolved to perform at their best in those particular lighting conditions.

to save and recover energy

However, catching an agile mouse or an elusive sparrow is not easy and requires a  tremendous amount of energy , which the cat invests in ambushing, jumping, and chasing. This is why cats spend a good part of the day sleeping to “recharge their batteries”  and recover their valuable energy, or to  conserve them  while they wait for the next unfortunate victim. Whether it’s a toy, a rope, or a plate of porridge.

to adjust the temperature

Cats not only like to sleep, they also like to bask in the sun. However, heat and siestas  are closely related to each other and help the cat  regulate its body temperature , stimulating the production of melatonin and serotonin. Sleep quality is intimately linked to light, which stimulates the production of melatonin to help regulate sleep circadian rhythms  and the feline reproductive cycle.

for reasons of age

Sleep duration in cats can differ significantly from individual to individual, due to both personality-related factors and individual motivations . If it is true that on average an adult cat sleeps some  12-18 hours a day,  there are cats that can sleep up to  20 hours  a day. Puppies, of course, are the  ones who sleep the most , and as they grow, they tend to reduce this amount of time little by little. Older cats  also go to sleep longer than they do as kittens.

because they like to nap

As in many other animals, it is necessary to distinguish between different types of sleep , at least two main ones. Even though it is an almost infallible hunter by nature, it should never be let down guard. For this reason, 3/4  of a cat’s dream is actually more than a nap of light, a type of semi-conscious rest called  slow-wave sleep  (SWS). Although they appear to be deeply asleep in this state, cats remain alert and ready to go into action. Some senses, such as the sense of hearing and smell, remain “accessible” and ready to react immediately if the cat senses prey or potential danger. Only 1/4  of the time devoted to sleep is really deep and makes calls The REM stage , the one in which one gives oneself over completely to complete relaxation.

Because somewhere they are not right…

A healthy cat that lives in an environment that allows it to express all of its behaviors sleeps a lot, but alternates this activity with several others, such as playing, exploring, and wandering. However, a cat that is confined within the walls of the home and spends many hours alone may make the cat sleep more than necessary due to the restriction  and lack of options.

This condition can be a symptom of  strong psychophysical discomfort , stress and anxiety which can later lead to other serious problems like obesity. For this reason, it is essential to provide the cat with a healthy environment, full of stimuli and which allows it to express its full potential as a feline, requesting the help of an expert consultant on the man-cat  relationship .

habit changes

Cats are animals  with extreme habits , they establish their own routines and are even able to adapt to their routines as pets . If he used to wake you up at 7:30 a.m. to beg for food and suddenly stops doing so,  sleeps more or his rhythms are different  than normal, it may be advisable to see your vet. talk to Cats are good at hiding psychophysical ailments, but a sudden change in established customs and habits is one of the main alarm signals and may mean that they are ill.

Also  los lugares donde cats sleep is usually always the same, so if we notice strange behavior or unusual sleeping places of the cat, it could mean that something is wrong. For example, sleeping in the litter box is quite unusual behavior and is often associated with an  uncomfortable condition that should be investigated immediately.

Most of the time it is not real sleep but drowsiness

In fact, most cat sleep is a kind of drowsiness, a suspension of movement, but not mental and sensory activity. This can be verified, for example, by looking at the ears of cats, which remain upright, or the tail, which may continue to wag gently. Sometimes even the eyes remain half open. When you are in this intermediate state between waking and sleeping, the cat is in possession of all its qualities. He is able to run away in a matter of seconds, or attack prey, or resume play with a partner.

lucid dream moment

The half-sleep stage can last as long as half an hour before the cat actually falls into sleep. Here the cycle is short, rarely lasting longer than five minutes, and in this phase the body is completely relaxed, the ears are spread, and the tail is motionless. However, this can happen when the cat dreams that its legs suddenly move with a rapid jerk and the muzzle is twisted in a kind of smile or rapid breathing, showing part of the teeth. No one knows what cats dream about: the rapid movement of claws makes us imagine the scene of the hunt, but as far as we know our kitty can dream of something else, too. We only know that it is in this short phase that the cat really rests and recharges as it does.

large predators

The fact is that the time spent sleeping certainly seems excessive. Even the wild cat, the ancestor and first cousin of our domestic cat, spends much of the day in a state of semi-sleep or deep sleep. The anatomical reason so to speak is that predation requires an enormous amount of energy, both physically and mentally, which the cat has to recover from. Chasing, running, jumping, climbing, and above all, concentrating on business —with that expression of “high” that we’ve all seen when looking at prey, no matter whether it’s a rat or a cork— It produces strong adrenaline surge and a huge dissipation of energy.

If you don’t burn, you get fat

What happens if the cat doesn’t hunt and play, or does so very rarely, as indeed apartment cats often do, especially if they live alone? The answer is simple and known to all: a cat that continues to accumulate energy in prolonged rest that it cannot consume in hunting or play  simply gets fat.More or less like us, after all. Here we find a fundamental difference with respect to dogs, who are also excellent sleepers. The dog needs to discharge the accumulated energy, I can’t help it. City dog ​​walks – ideally for an hour or so a day – are not used to relieve themselves, as some humans still think in a hurry, but to consume energy. For. If they are not allowed, excess energy turns into malaise, aggression and nervousness.

Cats, on the other hand, do not require this. If they are not stimulated by the external environment or by another cat or a human, they continue to store energy which eventually turns into fat. Nothing tragic, mind you: an overweight cat can also experience serious disorders with age, but within certain limits, like an overweight human, it leads a normal life. But it’s good to know, and it’s possible to fix without too much effort on our part. It is enough to give them a ball or self-propelled mouse, much more effective (and much more fun for the cat) than the diet.

sleep cycles in cats

During sleep, cats alternate between light and deep sleep. Most of your sleep is light , about 70%. These short naps are known as “cat naps” and can be taken half lying down up to their ears to  respond to signals and wake them up quickly . In fact, cats, in addition to being hunters, also hunt other animals, so it is their nature to alert them to potential threats.

After about thirty minutes of light sleep, they enter  the stage of deep sleep  known as  REM sleep, which occupies the remaining percentage of total sleep, and although their body is completely at rest Cats have subconscious dreams , just like people. This is because they keep their senses alert and brain activity the same as when awake, so they can quickly move their eyes, legs, ears, even speak and change posture.

Thus, an adult cat’s day can be divided into  7 hours of wakefulness and 17 hours of sleep, with 12 hours of light sleep and 5 hours of deep sleep.

Sleep Disturbances in Cats: Causes and Prevention

There are many factors that can affect your cat’s sleep. These occur most often:


Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, disturb a cat’s sleep, greatly increasing the time for this activity. If your cat lives indoors, it’s a good idea to maintain a suitable room temperature that doesn’t interfere with the kitten’s sleep, and if it’s too cold, provide blankets or a warm place to sleep , It will also help prevent some respiratory diseases. These attentions are especially important for hairless kittens such as the Sphynx for example.


Cats are experts at  hiding their pain , so it’s important to keep an eye out for changes in sleep patterns, as they can indicate that something is wrong. If your cat sleeps a lot or is lethargic, it is best to go to the vet to rule out health problems. It is also convenient to switch to a diet low in protein and high in essential amino acids. You may suffer from neurological diseases that affect the central nervous system, sensory deficits, diseases of the stomach or intestines, liver or kidney diseases, heart disease or blood disorders such as anemia. Often, increased sleepiness is accompanied by anorexia and poor cat hygiene.

On the other hand, if he sleeps less and has more energy, appetite and thirst than before, then a typical endocrine problem of older cats can be suspected, this could be  hyperthyroidism .

the sadness

When cats spend most of the day alone and do not have the company of other animals or their humans, they become bored. , are depressed most of the day and if they do not find any better activity, they fall asleep . That’s why it is important to spend time with the kitten, this will improve its mood and health.


At this time cats are more active due to the action of hormones and they sleep less because they spend most of the day seeking the attention of males, even at home. Males also reduce their sleep hours because they are searching for female cats and because they are dedicated to marking their territory or fighting with other cats.


Stress affects cats greatly. This can cause health problems (such as anorexia or feline idiopathic cystitis), behavioral changes and changes in sleep habits, showing increased or decreased hours of sleep.

Many of these situations can be avoided or improved , so it is important to ” listen to your cat “, that is, to observe changes in sleep behavior , grooming, if it meows more or less, if it hides or increases in aggression. does. By observing small changes in their behavior, we can quickly understand that something is wrong and we can correct it. In these cases, it would be ideal to take it to the vet, who will make a correct diagnosis And will apply appropriate treatment based on the triggering cause.