Why are cats so restless? Our feline pals are truly masters at dozing off at any time, in any location, and regardless of the situation. Thousands of images of sleeping cats in amusing or bizarre poses may be found online with even a quick search. What goes on in cats’ minds while they sleep, and why do they sleep so much? Do they experience cycles of sleep like people do? To learn more about sleeping cats, continue reading.
1. Sleeping is in cat’s genes
An orange tabby cat sleeping with his eyes closed.
To respond to the query, “Why do cats sleep so much?” First, let’s consider the length of a cat’s nap. Cats have a maximum daily sleep time of 16 hours, while senior cats can sleep up to 20 hours each day. The cat’s physiology, diet, and evolutionary history have all contributed to this sleeping behavior. Cats in the wild must hunt to survive, and the stalking, hunting, and killing of prey uses up a lot of energy. Cats who sleep between meals are more energy-efficient.
2. Cats don’t usually fall asleep quietly
Another thing to consider when thinking, “Why do cats sleep so much?” is how they sleep. Of the time cats spend sleeping, about three quarters of it is what we might call snoozing. In that state, cats can get all the rest they need, but they’re still alert enough to awaken at a moment’s notice. You can tell when a cat is in light sleep because their ears will twitch and rotate toward noises and their eyes will be open a tiny bit. Even when they’re sitting upright, cats can slip into that dozing mode.
3. Cats do, however, sleep deeply and even dream
The remaining quarter of cats’ sleeping hours is spent in deep sleep, but older cats might spend as much as 30 percent or 40 percent of the time at that level. Cats in deep sleep are usually curled up with their eyes tightly closed. Sometimes, they might even have their tail over their face, like a fluffy sleep mask. Deep sleep is critical for the body’s ability to regenerate itself and stay healthy. It’s also the time when your cat dreams. If you’ve seen your cat’s whiskers or paws twitching while she’s asleep, there’s a good chance she’s dreaming.
4. Some cats snore while they are sleeping
Cat snoring happens when the airway is obstructed by extra skin from the soft palate. This is most likely to happen when your cat is relaxed, so it wouldn’t be outrageous to notice your cat sawing some tiny little logs from time to time. Snoring is more likely to occur in short-nosed or brachycephalic cat breeds such as the Persian, Himalayan or Exotic Shorthair.
5. Cat’s sleeping patterns could vary and indicate a problem
When asking, “Why do cats sleep so much?” you might also wonder if there’s some such thing as too much — or too little — sleep. If your cat starts sleeping a lot more or a lot less than usual, contact your veterinarian. Excessive sleep could be a sign of illness or pain, while frequent wakefulness can indicate a problem such as hyperthyroidism.