Do you find your kitty snoozing through the day only to be fresh as a daisy and ready to play when it’s close to your bedtime? Let’s try and understand yet another quirky behavior that your kitty exhibits. Her crazy sleeping routine. Cats require anywhere between 15-20 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. Let’s find out why cats sleep so much.
Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
Cats are predatory animals and unlike their herbivorous counterparts, don’t have their food waiting for them in vast fields. They need to hunt for their food. They wait for prey stealthily and pounce on it at the perfect opportunity and time. And to be able to do all of this, they need intense bursts of energy. They conserve all of this energy when they sleep for 12-16 hours a day. And cats are crepuscular creatures, which means that they sleep during daytime and are active at night just like their ancestors in the wild.
Although domesticated now, they still retain their wild streak. And even while playing, they display their stealthy hunting behaviors of running, pouncing, climbing etc. which requires for them to conserve their energy by sleeping through the day.
Your Kitty’s Catnaps
Cats sleep just like us. Either they doze lightly or sleep very deeply. Their catnaps last for about 15 minutes to a half hour and during this time they are in a partially alert state, ready to spring into action if the need arises. During their deep sleep, they experience REM (Rapid Eye Movement) just like us. Their deep sleep lasts for about 15 minutes and they keep alternating between dozing and deep sleep. Kittens and older cats sleep much more than an adult cat.
Cats sleep in different positions and when they’re in deep sleep they look dead to the world around them. But when in their light sleep phase, their ears keep moving to pick up any interesting sounds in their surroundings. Even their eyes aren’t fully closed in this phase. How they sleep is also dependent on the temperature. They may sleep curled up if the weather outside is cold, and stretch themselves out fully when the weather is warmer.
A Change In Weather?
Your kitty’s behavior depends largely on her breed, age, temperament and her overall health. But they are affected by weather conditions just like us. On a cold or rainy day for instance, she may just like to laze around and snuggle up with you for some more-than-usual amount of shut-eye.
How To Encourage Your Kitty To Sleep At Night
If you would like for your cat to sleep at night, try and keep her active during the day by providing her with opportunities to exercise her hunting and exploring behavior. Have interactive sessions with her during the day to keep her active and tire her out with a nice, long session right before bedtime. And right after this session offer her a part of her food as a reward. Having tired herself out and having had her meal, she will most likely fall asleep.
Cats follow a natural cycle of hunting, feasting, grooming and sleeping. The play session with you fulfills the hunting need in her and the food you give her becomes the feast, after which she’ll have a session of grooming herself and hopefully sleep through the night. If all else fails and your cat continues to wake you up in the night time, give her a couple of food dispensing toys to keep her occupied as you sleep.
To feed her during the wee hours of the morning, it would be a good idea to invest in a timed food bowl. If she decides to wake you up, go right back to sleep. If you get up to feed her, you will inadvertently be rewarding and encouraging her behavior of waking you up in the middle of the night.
Does My Kitty Dream?
Yes. Your kitty experiences vivid dreams just like you do. You can tell that she’s dreaming when you see her whiskers twitching and paws moving. Cats experience REM sleep just like humans do and that’s the phase when they have dreams. And we can only assume that their dreams are about chasing and hunting mice and birds.
Time To Visit The Vet?
If you notice a change in your kitty’s pattern of sleeping, it may be time to give her vet a quick call to check if everything is alright with your kitty. If she’s sleeping less or more than her normal routine, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Cats with hyperthyroidism for instance, may have a faster metabolism than normal and may not sleep as much as they should. And aging cats on the other hand may start to sleep way more than their younger counterparts.