If you own a cat, chances are you spend more time watching them sleep than doing anything else. On average, domesticated cats sleep between 12-16 hours per day. However, did you know that the amount of sleep a cat needs depends on his or her age? Continue reading for more surprising facts about cat naps.
Why Do Cats Need So Much Sleep?
Cats sleep to conserve their energy. Think about it. Cats are the ancestors of lions and other predatory cats, so the more they sleep, the better equipped they’ll be to capture prey or leap into action if a dangerous situation approaches.
While your house cat certainly doesn’t need to conserve energy for these reasons, it’s simply ingrained in their nature.
How Much Sleep Do Kittens Need?
The average kitten needs between 20-22 hours of sleep per day. Before you think, “wow, that’s excessive,” you have to think of your kitten like a newborn baby. They need sleep to help them grow. While they’re asleep, their body is hard at work strengthening their bones and muscles, as well as their brain and central nervous system.
Just like babies, kittens are susceptible to infection because their immune system is still evolving. However, constant rest helps your kitten develop the immune system they’ll need to fight off future infections. Once your kitten matures (usually by one year), they won’t require as much sleep.
How Much Sleep Do Adult Cats Need?
Adult cats between the ages of 3-10 years old will typically sleep between 13-16 hours per day, though it’ll vary on the cat and how active their lifestyle is. In fact, certain cat breeds tend to sleep longer than others. For example, American Shorthairs, Persians, Main Coones, and Ragdoll breeds will spend the majority of their day snoozing away when compared to other breeds.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that even though your cat may look asleep, it doesn’t mean they are. Unlike humans who have to sleep for 7 or 8 uninterrupted hours to function, cats go in and out of light and deep sleep throughout the day. But how do you know when your cat is experiencing light or deep sleep? If you see their ears twitching, they’re experiencing light sleep and will wake up right away. If they’re in deep sleep, they’ll usually roll over onto one side and stretch out.
Should You Let Your Cat Sleep All Day?
If your cat is acting normal, then there’s nothing wrong with letting them stay asleep. They’ll wake up when they feel like it, especially for playtime and feedings. If your cat is acting strange or lethargic, then you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. Lethargy in cats may be a sign of a bigger issue such as a urinary tract infection, Diabetes, bacterial infection, or heartworm.
Signs Your Cat Is Sick, Not Just Sleepy
Just like us, your cat may be sleepier when they’re not feeling well. Also, like us, they may show accompanying signs of illness such as:
- Sudden changes in mood or behavior — i.e. excessive meowing or licking themselves or not being in the mood to play or be picked up
- Intense weight gain or loss
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Frequent urination or going in and out of the kitty litter box
- Rapid breathing/coughing/sneezing
- Changes in eating or drinking habits
What if My Cat Isn’t Sleeping Enough?
Chances are, the only reason your cat may not be sleeping enough is if they’re not feeling well or experiencing signs and symptoms of a larger medical condition such as heart disease. For example, cats with heart disease may experience extreme restlessness, which would make it difficult for them to stay asleep.
As such, if you notice your cat being way more energetic or restless than normal, you need to take them to the vet to rule out any medical issues. If your vet rules out medical conditions, then you may need to make some lifestyle changes to make it easier for them to fall and stay asleep.
Tips for Improving Your Cat’s Sleep Cycle
If you’ve been struggling for your cat to stay asleep (and stop waking you up in the middle of the night), here are a few tips to improve their sleep cycle:
- Give them a quiet, safe space to sleep: Just like us, cats want to sleep somewhere comfortable that makes them feel cozy and safe. You can let them sleep with you in bed or on the couch. Of, if you don’t like your cat falling asleep on the furniture, try investing in a cat bed or cat tree where they can feel safe.
- Create a routine: Cats are creatures of habit that don’t handle change too well. As such, one way to help them develop better sleeping habits is by creating a routine. Try going to bed and shutting the lights off around the same time every night, so when they see you going to bed, they’ll realize it’s time for them to go to bed, as well.
- Feed them right before bedtime: Every meal for your cat is like a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. Eating makes them sleepy, so feeding them right before bedtime is an easy way to make sure what follows next is a nap. In addition, you should also leave a little bit of food out for them at night. If they keep waking you up in the middle of the night, it might be because they’re hungry so having access to a snack in the middle of the night could make a huge difference.
Can Cats Tell if You’re Asleep?
You may be able to tell that your cat is asleep, but did you know that your cat can also tell when you’re asleep? Whether or not they’ll respect it is a whole other story, as many cat owners know, but still a cool fact nonetheless.
Did Any of These Facts About “CatNaps” Surprise You?
Who else agrees that these facts about cats are pretty interesting? The more we learn about the cats, the more we love them. Where does your cat like to sleep? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram.