I think it goes without saying that cats love to sleep. But there are actually several interesting facts when it comes to cat sleeping habits. You might be thinking to yourself, “cats sleep all the time, so what?!” But actually, there are specific things about cat sleeping habits that are pretty unique to the feline kind.
Here we’ll details some fun and interesting facts about cat sleeping habits to help you better understand our feline friends. Enjoy!
Wow, That’s A Lot Of Sleep!
On average, your cat sleeps up to 16 hours a day. A cat which is more active might sleep closer to 10 hours, but it would be very rare for a cat to sleep less than 10 hours in a 24 hour period. But while we’ve been preconditioned a la Garfield to think that cats catch up on cat naps all day long simply because they are lazy, such is not actually the case. We know that cats are obligate carnivores. And because of this protein-rich diet, they must sleep to aid in their digestive process. Essentially, your cat needs to sleep as much as they do to keep all the bells and whistles running properly.
So, the next time you see your cat dozing away in the middle of the day, just remember that they need to do that to keep things running smoothly. (If only the same were true for us humans!)
We’ve all been there, we’re trying to get some rest but our cats are wide awake at 3AM. Cats are nocturnal by nature, although they are far removed from living in the wild now that they live in the comfort of your home. But to a cat, the night is when they choose to “hunt” because it’s hardwired in their DNA to do so. And if you happen to be gone at work all day long, then sometimes your cat will be particularly active at night seeing as they loafed around in your absence.
What’s even more interesting about your cat’s odd awake patterns in the night, is that the periods that your cat spends awake at night can mirror your own patterns of restlessness. According to Catster.com, researchers have discovered that those crazy hours of the night that your cat spends awake can mirror our own sleep patterns of the times we are awake or restless while we’re trying to catch some sleep.
Remember, cats are crepuscular beings. This means that they are genetically predispositioned to be most active at dawn and at dusk. So, if it seems like your cat is on dawn patrol when it comes to those early morning feedings, this is likely due to the fact that this would most likely be the time your cat would hunt for their breakfast if they were in the wild.
Cat Naps: Are They Actually Sleeping?
Cats have the ability to fall asleep quite easily—or do they? When your cat is in the resting with their eyes close and appears as if they are asleep, they are more resting than they are actually sleeping. Your cat is predatory by nature. They need to possess the ability to awaken at a moment’s notice should something startle them, so often times they are snoozing rather than full on sleeping.
When cats are fully asleep, they do dream, which you’ve likely noticed with all those twitches and little noises they make. Deep sleep is critical for their bodies to regenerate itself and help them to stay healthy, so although they don’t deep sleep as much as we humans do, it’s necessary for their survival. Cats over the age of seven reportedly sleep more, and those mature cats require more deep sleep to keep their bodies strong and healthy.
Cat sleep cycle fact: Cats do progress from slow-wave sleep to REM sleep just as other mammals and humans do, but the time that they spend in each stage is much shorter. A cat will spend about 6 minutes in a REM cycle, as opposed to a human that will spend 90-120 minutes per night in REM sleep.
Why Cats Sleep on You—Especially Your Head
Okay, I will admit, not every cat does this. But some do. And when they do sleep on your head, they REALLY sleep on your head. Oddly enough, my Maine Coon mix, Mr. Purple, will do this, and with all that hair of his, it makes it a bit difficult to breathe, let alone sleep. But just as cat owners do, I let him do it because I love him and it makes him happy. But do you know why cats sleep on your head? Well, there are two reasons, actually. The first reason being that this is the warmest part of your body where heat escapes from. And as well all know good and well, cats simply love to be warm. The second reason? Because cats do not like to be disturbed when they’re sleeping, and your head is much less likely to move versus your arms and legs. Some also speculate that your cat likes the smell of your shampoo, but I’m not to certain on that one…
Why Do Cats Like To Sleep In Boxes?
Plain and simple, your cat loves the security that a box provides them. Whether they’re a small kitty in a big box or a large kitty squeezing into a tiny one, that box grants them a comfortable space that makes them feel safe and secure.
Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says:
“Cats like boxes because they are cryptic animals; they like to hide…And a box gives them a place of safety and security.”
And for your feline friend who loves to sleep up to 15 hours a day, a box is the perfect spot for an extended cat nap as the walls provide them a nice hiding spot. Because as we know, cats do not like to be bothered when they are sleeping!
Why is My Cat Snoring When They Sleep?
Just like humans or dogs, cats can snore when they are sleeping. This cat sleeping habit is something that often makes cat owners wonder if something is “wrong” with their cat. Cats will snore because an airway is partially blocked. For brachial cat breeds, like the Persian cat, snoring is much more common do to the short and narrow passageways running to and from their nose and throat. For cats which are overweight or obese, snoring is more common do to the stress on the body from the added weight they are carrying around.
How To Get Some Sleep When Kitties Are Active At Night
If your cat’s nighttime antics are preventing you from getting proper rest at night, there are ways that you can try to correct it. Be proactive about mentally stimulating your cat during the daytime hours. Exercise, both physical and mental, is the best way to tire your cat out during the day so that you can get the proper sleep you need come bedtime. For cats that are exclusively indoors, try offering your cat a nice perch that’s just theirs so that during the daytime hours they can watch some “kitty TV” of the interesting things passing by their home, like people, wildlife, etc. This is much more interesting to your cat’s mind than just staring at the wall all day long.
Additionally, limit distractions which might be tempting to your cat during the evening hours, such as leaving toys out that they’ll want to bounce around with all over the place. And, above all, don’t give in to your cat and engage in play with them should they try waking you up at night with their crazy cat antics. Cats are opportunists by nature, if you give in to them, they’ll make a mental note of this and those nighttime interruptions will quickly become a routine.