Ever watched a cat sleep? Ever noticed how contented they are with themselves? How relaxed they are, not concerned with the world? I bet you sometimes wished you were just as relaxed and I must admit, I also wish the same for myself.
Anyway, enough of wishes and let us look at why cats sleep so much.
After long observations, it is now known that on average, cats sleep for about fifteen hours a day while others are known to go up to twenty hours just sleeping.
A lot of people are even mind boggled by the fact that they can go a straight twenty hours just sleeping even going to the extent of calling cats lazy which is far from the truth.
We are going to squash those believes and take you into a cats world, how they operate and why they need so much sleep.
First Things First
It should be known that cats are crepuscular, that is, they are at their most active between dusk and dawn. So, for most of the day, they will be sleeping and start their activities around twilight.
If you are a first time cat owner, it might be surprising for you when your cute fur ball is up all night running from one corner to the other. This is because your cat is at a prime time of their day and they are busy checking out their new surroundings. So if you are looking for a goodnight’s sleep, just be ready for Kitty running through everything that can make a sound in the house.
Good thing is that cats are very adaptable and sociable so they are most probably going to change their sleeping patterns to accommodate you. See how loving they can be?
So basically, Kitty is either asleep or awake based on how constantly Kitty is reenergized.
The Weather Effect
Just like us human beings, cats are also prone to get some sort of effect when the weather changes hence affecting their sleeping patterns. As much as things like their age, disposition, breed and their health affect how they behave; the weather will flat out knock your cat out to la la land with no hesitation.
I for one love how the rain gets me all cuddly and seeking some shut eye which is the same with my two cats. We find ourselves all snuggled up in bed, warming each other up as they purr away and I drift away to dreamland.
Oh, and interestingly enough, the weather also affects how cats sleep. If it is cold, then they will be a cute curled up fur ball just striving to keep warm unlike when it is hot, they sleep spread eagle trying to keep cool.
Cats are predators. They give chase to their food and hunt them. For that to happen, they require a lot of energy. Cats go into stealth mode, preparing themselves to pounce on their food. They require intense, short bursts of energy as they ambush their food.
I see someone who has it in their mind that little Luna is a sweet cat that does not harm anything is having a difficult time assimilating this. Ask yourself, ever let Luna outside and she came back with a huge grasshopper or lizard in their mouth and proudly laid it out for you to observe? Yep, she went hunting, and she made a killing.
She needed a lot of energy for that and if you will not mind, she is now tired so excuse her as she now goes to sleep.
It is the same case in large cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards and panthers. They have the same sleeping patterns and hunt at night or close to night.
Asleep, But Ready to Pounce
When you take a nap, you either sleep lightly or sometimes find yourself having one of that deep nap that will have you waking up wondering what year it is, that is how good that nap was.
The same happens with cats, but in this case, they have short naps of about fifteen minutes whereby they are in a stance that would allow them to pounce and scram if they have to.
Most of the time, cats are having light sleep which allows them to be ready to engage in anything that rouses them that is, they are able to react quickly.
Their sleeping positions are the most fun to observe. Sometimes the position is so comfortable and makes them look like they are really deep in la la land that you are not even tempted to disturb them. When they are napping lightly, there is usually movement especially their ears and their eyes are not completely shut.
A Cat Party All Night Long
As mentioned earlier, it might come as a surprise for many first time cat owners how active their cats become especially at night. Crepuscular in nature, it is no wonder that play time is at night and they will be bouncing off of every wall in your house, they will break things, they will be pouncing on things and swatting your ankles as you pass by, they will be up to every possible thing they are able to at that time.
If let lose or if the cat is an outdoor cat, they will be hunting prey that is active at the same time as them.
You might be asking, “What can I do to stop my cat from jamming all night to allow myself some sanity and good night’s rest?”
Well, for one, you can make sure or rather you can condition your cat to use up most of that energy during the day by giving your cat the opportunity to play around, have an adventure or hunt (toys of course) and just prance around to keep active.
Secondly, just before bed, engage your cat intensely and then as a reward offer your cart some food. With all that activity, there is more probability of your cat taking it easy and zonking out with you at night.
This is how a cat operates during the period it is active:
- Uses a lot of energy to hunt for its food (not necessarily food, might be a toy if you have an indoor cat)
- After which it eats its prey (simply eats up whatever food is that is laid out for it)
- It then grooms itself to clean up the prey from its face and to get rid of the scent to prevent itself from other predators
- After cleaning up, it is time to sleep
All this activities are what sets up a cat for sleeping and if you time it perfectly, you are going to have a tired, sleepy cat that is ready to go through the night without prancing up and down while you try to get some shut eye.
Change in Sleep Pattern – Something Wrong?
Now, you have had your cat for some time now and you have grown accustomed to the sleeping patterns. When those sleeping patterns somehow change, you should observe your cat and if necessary, talk to your vet about it.
If Kitty is sleeping too much (more than the usual) or is not sleeping really, then that means there is something wrong with Kitty medically.
A condition like hyperthyroidism whereby too much thyroid hormone is released which in turn speeds up the cat’s metabolism affecting the cat’s sleep pattern in that it sleeps less than normal.
You should also consider how older cats sleep or how blind or deaf cats sleep because some of their senses will be more active than the others, they might startle easily.
Dreamland for Cats
Do cats dream? Yes they most certainly do. Just like human beings, cats do experience Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM), a sleeping stage where dreams occur. This is when you will see a lot of movement in your cats as they sleep – whiskers moving and paws jerking around. If my guess is right, Luna has probably captured a rat or is busy playing with a ball of yarn in kitty dreamland.
To conclude, it should be easy to get your cat to sleep when you want her to sleep. As much as many cats are indoor cats and they do not have to worry about hunting for food, if not conditioned, your cat will have the same sleeping patterns like the many others out there.
Adapting your cat to your sleeping schedule should be easy, just get her busy in the day and just before bed and just by a snap of your fingers, your cat will zonk out.