Cats have shared their lives with humans for thousands of years. Still, much of their behaviour remains a mystery to us.
If you share your home with one of these beautiful creatures, you probably know that already.
Not surprisingly, many people mistakenly label cats as aloof and unfriendly because of their sleeping habits.
It can feel as though they choose to ignore us and sleep their lives away!
So why do cats sleep so much?
Cats can sleep anywhere from 15 to 20 hours a day. And it’s not because they are ignoring us! It is simply how their bodies are hardwired to function. All cats, even domestic cats, are predators by nature. They are built to stalk, chase, and pounce on prey like the lion.
Now even though your cat may not have to chase a wildebeest across the Serengeti for his dinner, his body is prepared to. This type of hunting requires amazing amounts limited duration energy. In order to have these energy stores available cats require a lot of rest.
Because most hunting is done at either dawn or dusk, if left to their devices, cats will sleep during the day and the darkest hours of the night.
What About Domestic Cats?
Domestic cats, far from being aloof, will often change their sleep patterns to coincide with the patterns of their human house mates. It is rare to see a stray cat roaming around during the day, but your house cat is very likely to get and roam around the house for 20 or 30 minutes in the middle of the day.
Also because they are predators by nature, cats are rarely deep sleepers. Their bodies are always ready to spring into action should an opportunity present itself. This causes humans to sometimes label their cats as crazy because they will go from dozing calmly to jumping out at passing ankles!
Approximately 70% of a cat’s time spent sleeping is spent in a light doze where their senses are still working and processing things that are going on around them. This is how your cat can go from sleeping on the couch to fully awake and sitting at your feet in the time it takes you to open a tuna can.
Cats, like humans, do go into a deep sleep. However they only go into this sleep state for five to fifteen minutes at a time before their sleep pattern changes back to dosing.
Is It Ever a Problem?
It is important to be aware that there are other factors that influence a cat’s sleeping pattern. Cats who are bored, or not receiving enough stimulation will often sleep longer.
As it does with humans, age also plays a factor. Kittens, who are growing, and older cats tend to sleep more than healthy adult cats.
Finally, your cat’s health is another factor; sick cats like sick humans need more rest. If you notice any drastic changes in your cat’s sleep patterns you should inform your veterinarian.